This week I want to help you guys understand the basic macronutrients and what they do for you. I do not recommend measuring and counting macros for everyone but it is important that you understand the necessity for consuming them. Today we are going to talk about Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates. I don’t care what fad diet garbage you may have heard before. These nutrients are necessary to healthy muscle, joint, bone, and neurological function. So let’s break them down…
Protein is the first of the three nutrients needed by the body. It comprised of amino acids. Your body naturally produces most of the needed aminos but the others must be consumed through food. The main function of protein is building and maintaining muscle and tissue. Protein is proven to be beneficial to muscle building and muscle recovery, as well as fat loss. By maintaining and building muscle through protein consumption, your body is able to burn fat at a higher metabolic rate. Burning fat without building muscle ends in the dreaded “skinny-fat” look. It is best to consume a steady amount of protein throughout the day from lean animal sources and by supplementing whey protein. Lastly for the ladies, I promise you will NOT get “bulky” from consuming protein. Everyone needs protein, so don’t neglect it.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. They supply fuel for physical activity, brain and organ function, as well as cell, tissue, and intestinal health. Your body turns carbs into glucose (blood sugar), to be used as energy for these body functions. The increase in blood sugar can be good or bad depending on the level of increase. Healthy carbs cause a more moderate and usable increase, especially with the correct portions. Over processed, sugary, and unhealthy sources of carbs cause a massive immediate spike in blood sugar, which typically cannot all be used and is in turn stored as fat. The key to consuming carbohydrates is the type of carb, amount, and timing. The amount you consume is based off of your body weight, goal, and activity level. The activity level is very important. Your body needs significantly less on days that you are not training versus a solid training day and in turn more on higher intensity days. Another great effect of carbs is that they aid in protein synthesis. This means that they boost the effectiveness of your protein intake. This is why you often hear me say that you need protein and carbs.
Vegetables are also mostly carbohydrates, yet most are so low in carbs that they don’t really need to be counted in your numbers. Although, it is a good idea to get a serving of veggies in every meal. Vegetables are essential to health, immune function, energy, digestion, and aid in feeling fuller.
Fat is also an essential part of a healthy diet. Fat provides energy when carbohydrates are no longer available for energy. It is also important for heart and joint health. Of the three macro nutrients, fat is the highest in calories, which means that your body needs much less fat than other macros. I’m sure many of you have heard of good and bad fats. Simply put, good fats aid in stability of cholesterol and decrease risk of cardiovascular disease. Bad fats can harden in arteries, which causes an increase in blood pressure and the reverse effect of good fats.
|Healthy Protein||Vegetables||Healthy Carbs||Healthy Fats|
|Any Fish/ Seafood||Broccoli||Spinach||Whole Grain Bread||Nuts|
|Chicken||Lettuce||Onion||Brown Rice||Natural Nut Butter|
|Turkey||Tomatoes||Peppers||Whole Wheat Pasta||Avocado|
|Lean Meat 90%||Asparagus||Cabbage||Oatmeal||Olive/ Canola Oil|
|Egg Whites||Cauliflower||Cucumber||Sweet Potato|
Like I said before, not everyone needs to start counting every macro you put in your body just yet. Counting is the most effective long term method for success and also allows for the most variance in what you eat but it is the most intensive method. I recommend most people start with a good cleanse period and aim for some balance in consuming each macro but without all of the counting. For instance, you can meal prep and have some protein, some carbs, and a little fat in each meal. Once you feel comfortable with it and everything is going well, we can talk about specific numbers.
Still to come: Timing of Meals/ Macros and Food Prep for Success then Nutrition Challenge Details