You want to set your own diet but you don’t know where to start. You feel overwhelmed by the amount of information thrown around in the internet and social media. Well, you are not alone.
In this article, I am going to give you a quick simple guide that will introduce you to the basics of sports nutrition and help you get a hang of your diet.
First of all, each food has a macronutrient profile and a micronutrient profile. Macronutrients are what contributes to the caloric content of a certain food while micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals existing in certain foods. While there is a lot of micronutrients we only have 3 macronutrients: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. In this post, we will introduce you to each macronutrient, its role and how much to consume from it.
Protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to muscle building and fat loss. Muscles are made of protein and without a sufficient protein intake, we will not be able to build the body of our dreams. Here is a little geek science about protein:
Amino acids make up the “building blocks” of proteins. When we consume dietary protein, it is broken down into amino acids that are small enough to cross the intestinal walls and enter our bloodstream. Amino acids are taken from the bloodstream to be used in the formation of new cells. This process is always ongoing in the body. For this process to occur most effectively, all 21 amino acids must be present in the bloodstream. That is why I always recommend varying your sources of protein intake so you get a sufficient amount of each amino acid.
As far as protein recommendation, I would say somewhere between 0.8 to 1 gram per lbs of bodyweight is a good place to start.
Now, here is a quick list of my favorite protein sources for muscle building and fat loss:
Bodybuilders favorite source. It is high in protein low in fat and calories, and it tastes good. All of that makes it perfect especially during dieting periods where calories count matter that much.
The best natural protein source, period, eggs have a high net utilization (94) which means your body is able to use most of its protein, and in addition to their protein content they are also a source of healthy fats
When pasteurized, they are a quick way to add protein to your meals and shakes without the addition of carbohydrate and fat. They are especially valuable during dieting periods.
Arnold’s favorite protein source and it is loaded with muscle building creatine and slowly digesting proteins. However, always opt for lean options.
Great source of tryptophan aka the sleep amino acid so it is a good way to get your protein in and relax your body. Think of sleepy feeling after Thanksgiving dinner
If you want to buy it it is the best muscle building protein, it is quickly digestible with a net utilization of 100 and it contains all the necessary amino acids.
A great tasty way to add in protein to your diet. Want to make things interesting, mix it with a flavored protein powder and make your own protein-rich dessert.
Carbs probably are the most misunderstood macronutrients because of the high amount of conflicts about them. Some experts say that carbs are essential macronutrients to build muscle and lose fat and they should be the bulk of your diet, while others say that you don’t need them at all.
Carbohydrates are broken down in polysaccharides, disaccharides, and monosaccharides. These names tell you about the length of the “carbohydrate chain”, and exactly how long it will take it to break down before it enters the bloodstream. Poly- means many. Therefore many parts of this chain. It will take more time to break down and enter the blood. Di- means two. Mono-means one. Once these sugars enter the bloodstream, all carbohydrates are equal, they can only be in the form of glycogen, or glucose(sugars most simple form).
Carbs And Body Composition
Carbs are the number one and preferred source of energy for the body. However, that doesn’t mean it is the best one for physique related goals, especially fat loss. That is simply because most of the people have a poor insulin sensitivity and their bodies aren’t that good at utilizing carbohydrate for energy. So when eaten in excess, most of those carbohydrates will be stored as bodyfat.
That will bring the question of “ how much carbohydrate do we need?”. Well, that is not a simple question to answer because it depends on many factors like your age, your bodyfat percentage, your insulin sensitivity, and your activity level.
A good rule of thumb, however, is to consume around 1 gram per lbs of bodyweight during cutting periods and never exceed 2.5 gram of carbs per lbs when bulking to avoid unnecessary fat gain. and it is a mistake I made myself back in the day when I was consuming +500 grams of carbs daily in order to add maximal muscle mass. Trust me guys it didn’t end up well, all I gained from that experience was becoming fat and sabotaging my insulin sensitivity forever.
In terms of what carbohydrates sources are best, I would generally recommend complex carbs most of the time. The post workout meal is the only exception because at that time your body needs a quick energy source to replenish its glycogen stores. Here is a quick list of my top choices:
my favorite source. It is packed with fibers and calcium and rich in protein.
It has a high glycemic index and it is absorbed quickly by the body which makes it perfect for post workout meals.
All top bodybuilders and fitness competitors eat them and so should you because they loaded with vitamins and fibers.
Very rich in fiber and they offer great anti-inflammatory properties
5-Fruits and veggies:
Those should be in your diet plan if you care about your health especially vegetables. They are high in fiber, low in calories, and loaded with vitamins and minerals.
The most demonized macronutrient ever. During the ’80s and the ’90s fats were considered evil by the mainstream media and they were blamed for the majority of health problems like obesity and heart disease.
But recently, they gained their way back especially with the keto diet who happens to be the most trendy diet of nowadays. It is used by a lot of well know celebrities in and outside the Hollywood circle.
Fats are the building blocks of many hormones in the body including the infamous muscle building hormone “testosterone”. They help to lubricate cells and keep the brain and nervous system functioning optimally. They are also essential for muscle function, hair/skin/nails production, and maintenance.
Fats are nutrient dense and are higher in calories per gram (9 cals/gram) than protein and carbs (4 cals/gram).
We have 3 types of fats: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Each of which has an essential role in the body.
My favorite fat sources that I think will help you to reach your fitness and health goals are :
rich in fibers and b vitamins and one of the best plant sources of protein. They also have a significant omega 3 content.
Loaded with vitamin E.
Best oil for cooking and it is known for its MCT content. So if you want some energy to fuel your workout but don’t want to go the carb way take some coconut oil.
Great source of mono-unsaturated fats.
Very rich in omega 3s which are not only beneficial to your body but they are essential for optimal health and body composition.
Here you have it guys. That is all for today. Nutrition and macronutrients may seem like a complicated topic but getting a grip on the basics of them isn’t that hard to do. And it is also a good step toward being able to set your own diet without the need to pay someone to do it for you.
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