Everyone has heard of a calorie, but not many people have heard of a macronutrient. Well if you take a look on the back of any package of food, you will find 3 main categories: Fat, Carbohydrates and Protein. Each of these play an important role in your body’s function. As an athlete it is at the utmost importance that the body is provided with enough of each macronutrient to excel at the highest level.
The first macronutrient is Protein and is made up of amino acids. Protein is essential in your diet for muscle repair, growth and recovery. During exercise we break down muscle tissue to, in turn, build it stronger through your post workout nutrition. This is why consuming a protein shake or post workout meal after a workout is important to replenish the body and start the recovery process.
Carbohydrates are the next macronutrient and are the body’s preferred source of energy. There are two different types of carbohydrates: simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs, such as candy and cookies, enter the bloodstream quickly for our body to use for instant energy. We run into issues when too many of these simple carbs are the bulk of our diet and are not consumed at the right time or for the right purpose. After a workout simple carbohydrates aren’t as bad as they may initially seem, as they quickly replenish the body and shuttle the protein you ingested from your shake into the muscles to start the recovery process. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates are slowly absorbed into the bloodstream to provide and maintain energy over a long period of time. Foods like fruits, oats, quinoa, whole grains, brown rice and sweet potatoes are all complex carbs and are perfect for a pre workout meal eaten approximately 2 hours before workout time.
The last Macronutrient is Fats. Fats act as our body’s backup source of energy when carbs are not readily available. Good fats are further categorized into monounsaturated and saturated fats. These are the “good fat” found in foods like olive oil, avocados, some nuts, coconut oil, avocado oil, red meats, eggs, ghee. Trans fats are the “bad fats” and are found in processed, fried foods, and fast food. It may be obvious, but these are not good for you and should not be eaten by athletes or the general population alike! Polyunsaturated fats should also be minimized as a few studies have come out on how bad they potentially could be for your body.
How much of each should I have?
This will be determined by how active you are, but a general guideline is to have between .6 and .8 times your bodyweight in grams per day for protein, 1-2 times your bodyweight in grams per day for carbohydrates and between .4 and .8 times your bodyweight in grams for fat. Again all of these are just guidelines. If you are looking for a more in depth personal plan reach out to me and we will build you one for your personal goals!