What are macronutrients?
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What are macronutrients?

what are macronutrients

What are macronutrients?

 

You have probably heard me harp on about macronutrients quite a bit.  Its easy for me to assume that you all know what I am talking about?  However, I know that this is not always the case, so I thought I would do a little post on what are macronutrients?

 

If you start to understand food in its basic form, you are half way there to be able to change your shape and lifestyle for good!

If you get your diet right now, you’ll discover that burning fat and getting toned is easy!

Calories

Right, we all know that calories ultimately  determine your weight control.  So, sorry I’m not going to tell you anything different.  If you eat too much and don’t exercise you’ll probably turn into a telly tubby!  However, if you don’t eat enough you will not gain lean muscle mass.  Confusing, I agree.

Proper nutrition and supplementation is key to reaching your goals.   Research has shown that 80% of people’s  fitness program/accomplishments  is made up of diet.   Its true what they say, “abs are made in the kitchen”.  Tracking your macronutrients is paramount  to success.  This means calculating your proteins, carbohydrates and fats according to your lifestyle, and body composition.   What we want to do is lose fat and build muscle.  To do this you have to make sure you having the right balance of nutrients, as some are more important than others in achieving this goal.

Macronutrient Ratios

There are quite a few macronutrient calculators on Google to help you calculate your macronutrients to maintain, lose or gain weight:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/macronutrients_calculator.htm

I could bog you down with various methods and calculations on determining your macronutrients yourself.  However, these methods are easy to find on the internet and I’ve found the following ratios ideal for women looking to maintain, lose or gain weight:

  • Protein – 1 – 1.15g per pound of bodyweight
  • Carbohydrates – 1-1.25g per pound of bodyweight
  • Healthy Fats – .25g per pound of bodyweight

 

Using these figures on my statistics when I weigh 138 pounds (63kg), the results are:

  • 138 – 158g Protein
  • 138 – 172g Carbohydrates
  • 35g – Fat

 

  • 1g Protein = 4 calories
  • 1g Carbs = 4 Calories
  • 1g Fat = 9 Calories

 

You can see that protein and carbohydrates has the same calorific value.  Nevertheless, one is far more important in building muscle and losing fat.  Any guesses?!…

Protein

If you want that toned and lean physique protein is your best friend!  Though you do need to make sure your having enough of it, so reiterates why it is important to track your macro’s.

Here are just a few benefits of supplementing with protein:

 

  • Having a high protein diet is the most effective for building muscle and losing fat, abdominal fat in particular
  • Supresses appetite and stabilises blood glucose levels
  • Helps preserve muscle
  • Aids recovery after intense workout

It is essential for tissue building.  If we do not eat enough protein a day our body will break down our own tissue to get its daily intake of protein, that is why it is paramount you have enough every day, especially when exercising.  You should be consuming protein every 3-4 hours.  This should be three meals and say 2-3 protein shakes or snacks.  A protein shake is a must at breakfast and before bed as your body is in a catabolic state.

Carbohydrates

I’m going to put this in simplistic terms…buy yourself a book on the Glycemic Index for foods.

Carbohydrates, when consumed make  your body release insulin.  Insulin sugars drive protein to our muscles, but also tells our body to store remaining sugars as fat for later reserves.  This is why people tend to avoid carbohydrates when wanting to lose body fat, however the truth of the matter is it’s all about your activity level, timing and carbohydrate type.

Like I said there are times when even simple carbohydrates are vital and this is after training to refuel your glycogen levels, so you don’t feel lethargic and they help get that much needed protein pushed to your muscles fast!  Sugar at this time is imperative and gets digested fast, so you will NOT put weight on.  Carbohydrates are our main energy source for our body and brains.

Although, if you on lying on the sofa watching tv and you eat a load of carbs, these turn into Triglycerides that ARE stored in your fat cells as energy  for a later date.  So like I said it’s all about timing and activity levels.  Nevertheless, eating too many calories of any type can lead to fat gain.

The reason I mentioned earlier about getting yourself a book on the Glycemic Index is that foods that are low GI do not raise your blood sugar (insulin levels) as much.

 

What You Can Eat

Foods on the glycemic index diet are scored on a scale of 0 to 100 based on how much they raise your blood sugar level.

  • High-GI foods (70 or higher): white rice, white bread, pretzels, white bagels, white baked potatoes, crackers, sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Medium-GI foods (56-69): bananas, grapes, spaghetti, ice cream, raisins, corn on the cob
  • Low-GI foods (55 and under): Quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, peanuts, peas, carrots, kidneybeans, hummus, skim milk, most fruits

You should try to eat more foods in the low-GI category, and fewer in the high-GI group to help eat more carbs wisely.

Fats

We all need 20-30% of healthy fats from our calorie intake a day.    I am not going to bang on about all the different types of fats, but here are my recommendations:

 My food choices for fats

  • Flaxseed
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil

FATS TO AVOID

  • Processed vegetable oils

FATS TO LIMIT

  • Butter
  • Saturated fats

 

Putting it altogether

  • Either calculate your macronutrients via calculator or go by my ratios
  • Remember energy in is always vs energy out
  • Eat plenty of forms of protein a day
  • Eat carbs after training and not when you’re lying watching TV
  • Get GI Book
  • Try and eat clean – non processed foods
  • Write food diary or track macro’s via myfitnesspal app

I hope this helps!

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