My heart still skips a beat when I find a new FAD or DIET! Another ‘food excuse’ I can cling onto and make all of this feel like it has a purpose, I think the addiction with food, DIETS and leading a HEALTHY lifestyle to the extreme will be something I battle for the rest of my life. When I say DIETS I do not mean weight watchers or slimming world, I mean Paleo, Fruitarian, Dukan, cleanses; FAD diets that promise extreme weight loss! Thats my deal.
I have managed to stay away from any kind of DIETS to some degree over the last year, after all when you have a list of ‘safe’ foods you will only eat even DIETS encourage me to eat more food than I actually want too!
I am always aware of whats going on with what is next for superfoods and health foods; I genuinely have an interest in food for fuelling bodies and I think I am just as qualified as a Nutritionist – (Sorry for the qualified peeps out there – I have studied just as hard I just don’t have a certificate!) Do you see the award winning book writer Deliciously Ella with a nutritionist qualification – Urm NO?!
A few people talk to me like I know nothing about food ‘have you just tried eating strawberries, they are so good for you and you won’t put on weight’!! The saddest part is people avoiding any dinner experience with me at all, I stopped getting invited to ‘events’ along time ago – How do you manage and cater for the Anorexic, at least I think thats the reason!?
I guess people figure if you do not eat than you must hate food…oh no thats the point – we love food we just deprive ourselves from the joy of it! Note to self; maybe try saying this out loud more often!
Upon my recent interview with Hattie (Bodybuilding for Girls) I was really interested in the food side of her regime (of course) so I researched into exactly what the diet of someone wanting to bulk up looked like!
After all I really want to ADD (not gain) weight (easier to write than say out loud) but no where near in the form of FAT – muscle feels more acceptable to me and I imagine myself toned and healthy – This is a frequent meditation image I use!
So without further ado I present to you Macro nutrients! Sounds a bit sterile and scary I know!
What are Macro nutrients?
Put simply they are part of what make up our calories and the nutrient breakdown of them. So in simple terms each calorie is accountable to protein, carbohydrate and fat. These are known as macro nutrients. Macronutrients are what humans need to consume in the largest quantities. While water does make up a large proportion of the total part of our normal diet, it does not provide any nutritional value. We can all work out our own ideal intake, once we know what energy we expand during the day.
Why is it so important to understand our macro nutrients?
Once you understand the basics of what your body needs, you can build your own personal food plan, now this ain’t easy. As with most things in life there is a degree of maths required for working out your macro nutrients, but once you get it, you get it!
SCALES for food play a big part in managing your macro nutrients, so be prepared to weigh EVERYTHING.
For example; Understanding that you burn 1500 calories a day without exercise means you can work out exactly what you need in terms of protein, carbs and fat per each meal. You can maximise every eating opportunity with the ideal amount of each macro nutrient for you. The calorie aspect is worked out on your weight and your level of activity throughout the day. Still with me?!
How is the diet used?
Strange question! The macro nutrient diet is well known in the professional sports industry, teams of nutritionists will work with athletes to optimise their diets and understand exactly what they need to fuel their body to perform to the best of its abilities. Its all about fuel and replenishment and rarely about weight loss for professional athletes.
Another example: If you are looking to start bodybuilding you need to add bulk, but the right kind of bulk. You want to gain weight but not by gaining fat. If you start to consume more calories than you are expanding in the day you will more than likely end up gaining fat; if however you understand how many calories you are burning in a weight training session, you can build your macro nutrient requirement around this and know that everything you are putting in is being used and in the right way!
You will need to work out what your resting calories are; so these are the calories that you need just to function everyday (without exercise).
There are ways to work out your macro nutrients depending on your body size, you also have to take into consideration your metabolism and what you are looking to achieve. Fat loss, building muscle or both!
Ahhh the lovely category of body types! Most of us will fit into one of these characteristic body types.
Ectomorph: If you’re an ectomorph, you’re naturally thin with skinny limbs and a high tolerance for carbohydrates. Usually, your metabolic rate is fast. A good starting macronutrient ratio for you would be something like 25% protein, 55% carbs and 20% fat.
Mesomorph: Mesomorphs are naturally muscular and athletic. You will have a moderate carbohydrate tolerance and a moderate metabolic rate. Mesomorphs can usually start at a 30% protein, 40% carb, 30% fat macronutrient ratio.
Endomorph: If you’re naturally broad and thick, you’re probably an endomorph. Endomorphs have a low carbohydrate tolerance and a slow metabolic rate. If you’re an endomorph, try a ratio of 35% protein, 25% carbs and 40% fat.
So now you have your body type and the ratio of Macro nutrient you need to work with, you can make a start….almost!
You will need to work out what your BMR (Basal metabolic rate) or simply your resting calories are before you can look at your macro nutrients; a really simple way of getting a rough idea is by using the below maths; see I told you…..
For men: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5
For women: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) – 161
Male weighing 78kg and 178cm height
78kg x 10 = 780
6.25 x 178cm = 1112.50
5 x 40 = 200 + 5 = 205
780 + 1112.50 – 205 = 1687 resting calories per day
This is a very basic calculation to give you a rough idea, but it forms a good start and its used widely throughout the fitness industry.
Now onto working out your macro nutrients!! How much chicken, rice and olive oil are you supposed to eat for each meal…..if you care read on, if not thanks for getting this far!!
RESTING DAY – Lets say your an Ectomorph! 25% protein, 55% carbs and 20% fat and you have worked our your resting calories are 1687 per day.
Lets start with Protein.
There are 4 calories in 1 gramme of protein.
Using your resting calorie figure; 1687 – 25% = 421 calories divide by 4 = 105 grammes of protein. This is your daily protein intake required just to function.
Now onto Carbohydrate. (This does include sugar)
There are 4 calories in 1 gramme of carbohydrate.
Using your resting calorie figure; 1687 – 55% = 927 calories divide by 4 = 230 grammes of carbohydrate. This is your daily carbohydrate intake required just to function.
Now to Fat.
There are 9 calories in 1 gramme of fat.
Using your resting calorie figure; 1687 – 20% = 337 calories divide by 9 = 38 grammes of fat. This is your daily fat intake required just to function.
So your macro nutrient daily intake would be;
Protein 105 grammes, carbohydrate 230 grammes and fat 38 grammes. This is based on the resting calories formula we did and the fact you fall into the body shape and metabolism of an ectomorph.
When you look at the daily figures, you realise how can easily over eat compared to what you expand throughout the day.
A 100g portion of protein would mean just having a chicken breast for dinner, 230 grammes of carbohydrate would mean maybe having 50g oats for breakfast, 100g brown rice for lunch and then 100g sweet potatoe in the evening with your protein.
Same with fat! 38 grammes in a day is not a lot, so if you have a couple of squares of chocolate or a dessert thats all your intake gone! Same with butter on your toast!
Most veggies do not count and you can enjoy as much of them as you like; although when it comes to starchier veg, go careful as you will be in carbohydrate territory. Fruit is the same, it falls straight into your daily carbohydrate intake……
As soon as you start exercising, just 30 minutes a day and these figures increase as you are using more energy and therefore need to eat more.
My verdict on the Maco nutrient way of living!
Its a superb tool for maximising everything you put in your body and if you want to build muscle and not fat, you can monitor everything you eat and ensure you are using all what you put in.
For someone recovering from an eating disorder, its a disaster! Weighing, counting, realising I might have gone over my intake or not exercising enough just started to take me back down the road of restricting! On the other hand I can see in my future I will use this to maintain my weight and hopefully muscle and bulk in a positive way – just not now!
I have already memorised each calculation and have had to severely resist temptation to weigh my food again!
For someone like Hattie who is looking to compete professionally, its a must for her to succeed. Everything she puts in her body has to be for the benefit of building her muscle and helping her stay lean.
In the grand scheme of diets, this one will put people off because of the maths alone; and who really wants to be sat there worrying about if the milk they are putting in their coffee means they need a spoonful less of olive oil with dinner.
A great idea and I love the basis of us all realising how much we do actually over eat compared to what our bodies actually need, but its also extreme and could be very addictive but lets face it most of us just don’t have the time!