While we can train hard at the gym, run and skip rope for that extra 5 or 10 minutes, it’s important that we eat healthy as well. Another key item in everyone’s New Years resolution. But how does one start? If you read our first blog post on Accountability, we gave out an important tool to start using to log your meals and snacks. Macronutrients – this is where you start.
If you haven’t started logging your food, definitely start doing so because it’s a primary component to what we’ll dive into in the next section of the blog post.
Part of understanding the basics of nutrition is knowing what a calorie is. Simply put, it’s measurement of energy. The more calories you put into your body, the more energy you will have. Technically. But are all calories equal? Yes and no. But, more on this later.
The second step of understanding the basics of nutrition is knowing what macronutrients are. Calories or our daily calorie intake is made up macronutrients which are: Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats. Furthermore, we should understand the primary functions of each:
- Carbohydrates: The major source of energy our bodies need that are stored in our muscles and liver for use. 1 gram of Carbohydrate equals 4 calories
- Examples of High Carbohydrate Food: Fruits, Grains (Rice, Oats), Vegetables (Potatoes, Yams)
- Proteins: This is what our bodies use to grow tissue, muscle through repair. 1 gram of Protein equals 4 calories
- Examples of High Protein Food: Poultry, Fish, Beef, Beans, Dairy
- Fats: Though they can have a “bad rap”, there are good fats that help aid in absorption of essential vitamins, brain function and organ protection from trauma. 1 gram of Fat equals 9 calories
- Examples of High Fat Food: Nuts, Oils (Coconut, Extra Virgin Olive Oil), Avocado
Now, where does this lead us? How do we determine how much our calorie intake should be and what our Macronutrients goals are? In other words, what is our Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)?
The best way to do this is using a Macronutrient Calculator or use the one within MyFitnessPal when setting your macronutrients. Although the calculator can determine one macronutrient higher than, you can always adjust your percentages depending on how you feel. If you find that eating too much carbohydrates isn’t necessary depending on how hard you train or your activity level, you can always re-allocate percentages to protein and/or fats to be a bit more balanced.
Earlier, we briefly asked if all calories are equal. The answer is still yes and no. If you eat the same number of calories over and over again, depending on if you’re eating at maintenance or cutting/bulking, your body will determine which way your weight will go. This can also depend on your activity level too. But, with that being said, could you eat McDonalds and candy/sweets every day as long as you hit your Macronutrients? Theoretically yes, as long as you’re on point with your Macronutrients and Caloric Intake.
Part of the “no” in our answer is that, you don’t want to eat McDonalds and candy/sweets every day to hit your Macronutrients. Here are our reasons:
- Not nutrient dense – lack of variety, key vitamins etc.
- You will most likely crash and feel sluggish
However, does this mean you have to completely eliminate less nutritionally dense from your diet? Absolutely not.
Flexible Dieting is our way of saying, everything in moderation. Using a Macronutrient approach to our dieting, we our allowing ourselves to eat nutritionally dense and less nutritionally dense food altogether. Our rule of thumb is 80% nutritionally dense, and 20% fun foods of our overall caloric intake. By sustaining this approach, we won’t burn ourselves out mentally and physically. We encourage you to have that one fun donut! But we also encourage you to have that chicken breast and leafy green salad to help you feel full over a course the course of a few hours.
Feel free to reach out to Kru Mat or Pad Holder/Nutrition Aficionado Ken for more personal time if you need more one on one guidance on nutrition and training.