Macronutrient Overview: Protein, Carbs and Fat
Do you find macros confusing? They really do not need to be. To lose weight, a calories deficit is the most important factor. Macro breakdown does come second. This is an important point to consider because every diet will work by manipulating the balance of carbs, protein and fats in your diet.
Take some time to explore the role that these nutrients play in your body and how to get the balance right for your goals.
There are three main macro nutrients; protein, carbohydrates and fats, but we will dive briefly into fibre too.
Protein plays a significant role in optimizing your body composition as it is the building block of muscle tissue. Adequate protein intake will help retain lean body mass as we strip body fat, which is vital to attain the muscular separation we are after.
Through digestion, protein is broken down into amino acids which are then absorbed and either used to build new proteins in the body (a term called protein synthesis) or used as energy.
The recommendations provided will cover our bases to ensure we have a suitable intake and distribution to support getting you shredded.
Since we will require a caloric deficit to get leaner, protein intake needs to be sufficient to maximize muscle protein synthesis (the building of muscle protein), minimize muscle protein breakdown (the breakdown of muscle protein for energy) and protect the immune system again illness.
- Protein contains 4 calories per gram
- Protein (specifically amino acids) are the building blocks of new muscle tissue.
- An overall protein intake of 35% of your overall caloric intake for Low-Carb Days and 30% for High-Carb Days is recommended when dieting to optimize body composition.
- Split protein up evenly across 3-6 meals. Within that, allow the nature of your lifestyle to dictate meal frequency.
- Chicken Breast
- Lean Beef
- Low Fat Pork
- Cottage Cheese
- Whey Protein
- Turkey Breast
- Low Fat or No Fat Cheese
- Soy Protein
Carbohydrates (specifically in their stored form as muscle glycogen) are our primary fuel source when we train.
Carbohydrates are also the source for dietary fiber and many essential micronutrients imperative for overall health. DO NOT neglect fiber and micronutrient consumption within your diet- aim for nutrient-rich whole foods to make up the majority of your diet.
Carbohydrate intake is VERY individual and dependent on a number of factors including but not limited to:
- Amount of lean body mass
- Training volume
- Insulin sensitivity (ability to dispose of carbohydrates in muscle cells)
Carbs should be distributed in a manner that allow you to perform your best during training and keep you alert throughout the day without wildly variable changes in blood sugar levels.
- Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram
- Carbohydrate (specifically stored muscle glycogen) is the primary fuel source in resistance training
- An overall carbohydrate intake of 40% of your overall caloric intake for Low-Carb Days and 50% for High-Carb Days is recommended when dieting to optimize body composition.
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brown Rice
- Oat Bran
Fat is used in the production of hormones as well as in the construction of cellular membranes. From a behavioral eating standpoint, fats can increase satiety and fullness from a meal due to their caloric density and ability to slow digestion.
- Fat contains 9 calories per gram
- Fat is an essential macronutrient used in the production of hormones and the construction of cellular membranes (amongst many other things)
- An overall fat intake of 25% of your overall caloric intake for Low-Carb Days and 20% for High-Carb Days is recommended when dieting to optimize body composition.
- Oils and Butters
- Oily Fish
- Animal Fats
Fibre provides bulk to waste in the intestines and promotes healthy gastrointestinal functioning.
Soluble fibers mesh with water to form a gel and slow the digestive process, which
Can help stabalise blood sugar levels.
Insoluble fibers, on the other hand, travel through the GI tract without dissolving
and speed the passage of waste through the gut (i.e. they have a laxative effect).
Guidelines: Adults should aim for a diet that contains 30 g to 35 g of fiber per day.
Would you like to learn more about flexible dieting? Consider joining our 8 week challenge starting July 8th.
Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.
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