A couple of times this week I have been engaged in conversation about macros. Even before I began working at Starbucks, a few of these baristas knew me as a regular customer and a powerlifter. When I was cutting weight prior to my competition this past May, my baristas knew that I was watching my macros. Once that competition was over and I no longer had to work to make weight for my next competition, these same baristas would jokingly tease me on the odd occasion I would break from my norm and order something a little more extravagant. Now that I work at Starbucks, most of my new co-workers are aware that I am a powerlifter, and I still get a comment now or then about my macros. They know I am a powerlifter, but they really don’t know my story.
My current response to the ‘does it fit your macros?’ question is that this is my off-season, which is most definitely true. I honestly have no idea when my next competition will be other than that it won’t be until 2017. While I am not actively trying to bulk up my weight, I am also not worried about the scale, the numbers on the scale, or my macros. This hasn’t always been the case.
Three years ago I was close to 30 pounds heavier than I am now. Even though I had been doing some running for three years already, I was still out of shape and not a very active person. My eating habits were atrocious. I had only recently broken free of an addiction to Diet Coke, but I was still quite addicted to Iced Capps. I didn’t drink nearly enough water. I was depressed and battling all sorts of inner demons.
When I started working out with my trainer, I just wanted to lose weight and get in shape. I didn’t know what powerlifting was, and I had no real athletic aspirations other than to continue running. Managing my micros became a big part of my journey and, in combination with the weight training, I lost 30 pounds, gained strength, discovered a passion I didn’t know existed, and found myself. The specifics of managing my micros has changed over the years. First, it was to help me lose weight; however, once I became a powerlifter, macros were used to gain weight to help gain strength. Sometimes macros were used to help me drop the weight in order to make my weight class for competition. I tracked everything I ate and micromanaged my macros for a long time, but I haven’t done so for about five months now. I’m okay with that.
I am the sort of person who loves routine, and tracking my food and macros was something that became a part of my daily routine quite easily, even though the process of balancing the macros wasn’t always so easy. And yet, I really don’t miss the focus on macros. I will gladly enjoy eating whatever I feel like eating. I try to make good choices more often than not, but I don’t feel any guilt over allowing myself a not-so healthy choice. As my coach often tells me, I now have a very good general idea of what I need to eat. Portion sizes and macro numbers are all floating inside of my head, and I could pull them out when necessary. But I think I am perfectly happy to leave the macros where they are until such time as I really need them. Right now, I don’t need them! No weight cuts. No push to gain weight. No personal stress over what I do weigh. All I need to do is make sure that I do eat and enough to sustain my training.