To continue you on with the back to the basics series, the next step to creating a diet that works for you is to figure out how to breakdown the macro’s for your diet and to learn exactly what they do for you. In the first article http://tmnutrition.net/2015/11/back-to-the-basics-calories we laid down the ground work to a successful diet with the importance of calories and how to find the right amount for your goals. Now we plug in the macro’s per meal to get you to your desired goals, but before we do that you need to know exactly the benefits of each macro and how to incorporate them into your day.
You have your three macronutrients which are fat, carbohydrates, and proteins. First lets discuss the building blocks of muscle, protein. Proteins are the building block of muscle growth and repair so after a hard workout protein breaks down into amino acids and begin the repair process so you can make it back the next day and kill your next workout. Protein also has the highest thermogenic effect on the body meaning it burns the most calories of all the macros when you consume it. Protein is also great at keeping you satiated/full longer. So as you can see protein is crucial for successful dieting it not only helps you keep on your muscle, but it also plays a huge role in burning calories and keeping you full all things that will help any dieter stay sane. For every gram of protein you consume it equates to 4 calories.
The next 2 macros have a bad rap to them from one extreme to the next, you have one idea that carbs will make you fat and should be avoided at all cost and on the other side you have fats are bad for you and should be avoided at all costs. Both play a huge role in the human body and neither one should be neglected in a diet.
The first one we shall talk about is fats and fats are great at regulating hormones such as testosterone, thyroid, and others, they also help suppress hunger as you diet which is crucial to staying on track. Fats are also good at keeping you fuller longer, reduces cortisol levels, provides energy, and assist in the body functioning properly. It also helps with insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular health. Fats are extremely important while dieting, naturally as you go into a calorie deficit your testosterone and other hormones down regulate so the fats will keep your endocrine system healthier. It also helps with joint pain which will come as you get leaner. For every gram of fat you consume it equates to 9 calories.
Now onto the carbs that will of course make you fat. Carbs give you energy and replenishes your used glycogen stores which help transport a lot of your protein and other micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals to keep your body functioning at a high level. Carbs will help with the restoration of glycogen stores that have been depleted due to intense workouts. Carbs are also the most metabolic nutrient we eat. The are a key macro nutrient for a diet as it is protein sparing so it will help preserve size and give you energy around your workouts. For every gram of carbohydrates you consume it equates to 4 calories.
Now obviously when you’re trying to lose weight you will have to manipulate the macros to get the calories down, but you don’t want to completely cut out an entire macronutrient for and extended period of time. An easy way to look at it is on days you train you can increase carbs and lower fats and on the days off from training you don’t need as many carbs so you cut out some carbs and raise fats a bit, but keeping in mind you still need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight.
I hope this shows you why all the macronutrients are important to body composition and performance. Try to manipulate your macros to fit your activity level and to time most of your carbs around your workout and fats further away from them. Drop carbs on days off but never drop a macro out completely for an extended period of time.