Going back to Part 1 of this blog, I introduced you to the nutritional hierarchy which illustrates the importance of making sure you are getting the basics right before adding more detail into your diet. This keeps it simple and allows you to understand exactly what you are doing and why you are doing it.
So we have already clarified that getting your Calories right is the most important aspect of the pyramid. Your calorie needs will be totally dependant on YOU and your GOALS. It might take a little wiggle time to get this where it should be, but you will know when it is right because you will be moving in the right direction towards what you want to achieve.
Some people may be quite happy to leave it at that, and that is totally fine. But others then might want to continue to look at their MACRONUTRIENTS.
Macronutrients or Macros are what everything we consume is made up of. There are 3 Macronutrients which are Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates. Everything we eat contains a different level of each of these.
Why would you start to look at your Macros?
Like I said, it’s not for everyone and don’t feel as though you need to go down this route too. However, understanding macros means having a greater understanding of the food we are eating and that is a good thing.
But examples of reasons why people may want to track their macros:
To reach a specific aesthetic/physique goal.
In order to compliment performance training.
To follow a specific diet plan such as Keto which requires you to have an understanding of macros and stick to a macro ratio
Let’s look at each one and break it down so you can fully understand what each one is. Remember this blog is about making things simple and that is exactly what I am about to do..
Why do we need it: Allows body to grow, build and repair tissues and protect muscle
High Protein Foods: Meat, fish, dairy, eggs
Calories per gram: 4
Why do we need it: Its our main energy source for body and brain
High Carb Foods: Rice, Pasta, Bread, some fruit, refined sugars, grains
Calories per gram: 4
Why do we need it: Allows you to store energy, cushion organs, make some hormones and absorb some vitamins.
High Fat Foods: Avocado, oils, almonds
Calories per gram: 9
So let’s now let’s turn this to YOU. Think about your goals and what you want to achieve. Which do you think you need more of? It’s tough to know because they all have such important roles. We need energy, we need to rebuild and repair and we need all the roles of fat.
This is why, nutrition is such a personal and individual thing because it just depends on you…
I have a high protein diet because I’ve found that’s what works for me. I’ve tried a high carb and high fat diet, I didnt like either of them for various reasons. High protein works well for my training goals and keeps me lean so I stick with it. But that it over a long period of time that I have been able to realise that.
What to do now?
Have a play around.
The general base for macros is usually set at around 40% carbs 40% protein 20% fat as a guidelines. That’s what is said to be a healthy balanced diet.
Mine varies all the time, but generally is 40% protein 30% carbs 30% fat.
And in complete contrast Keto is 60% fat, 30% protein, 10% carbs.
Someone training for a marathon might have 50% carbs, 30% protein, 20% fat.
So you can see that it can change quite alot, depending on your goals and preferences. And it’s also good to note, you can change this at any time as well. My macros change all the time, sometimes just depending on if I am going through a busy time.
If you are looking at specific aesthetic goals such as getting as lean as you can, you’ll need to drop your carbs quite considerably. But as explained in the info, carbs are energy. So if you are committing to that, just know that energy levels will be depleted.
So that is Macros in a very small nutshell. It goes without saying there is ALOT more in depth we could go with that, but for the purpose of understanding the very basics, that is the basics. My Fitness Pal is another useful resource and will tell you exactly what each meal macro split it.