By Chris Martinez
March. 12. 2011
“Why can’t we just eat whatever we want and just work out?” “Why do we have to be so strict on our diets?” “I can’t give certain foods up!”
Truth is…Nobody says you have to do anything! It’s your body, your health, your lack of energy, and your looks. But, if you’re one of those people that care about what they are putting into their bodies, their health, high energy, and what they look like in the mirror, then enter the world of macronutrient counting.
Macronutrients simply consist of foods that contain Protein, fat, and carbohydrates. These ultimately provide the energy necessary to maintain body functions at rest & during physical activity. These macronutrients maintain the body’s structural & functional entireness. These 3 macronutrients should be consumed at every meal to control hunger, stabilize blood sugar, weight management, improve body composition, energy for physical and mental performance.
It’s imperative that we understand the importance of macronutrient counting. Every one’s body is different and their nutritional needs are highly unique. We all process foods and utilize nutrients differently. This is why macronutrient counting needs to be tailored to each specific individual’s metabolism because what works for one person may not work for another person. Macronutrient counting consists of consuming specific daily protein, carbohydrates, and fat intakes each and every day in order to reach your full potential of getting results. It is also imperative to reach your daily fiber number because fiber has a thermogenic response. So, carbohydrate sources lower in the glycemic index are going to be your best bet to hit your fiber numbers, but you can always eat carbohydrates that have less fiber and use a fiber supplement to reach your daily number. An example of counting your macronutrients would be, a person needing 200g of protein, 300g of carbs and 50g of fat for the day, along with 40g of fiber. They would divide these numbers by however many meals they eat a day. So let’s say 4 meals a day, this would mean this person needs 50g of protein, 75g of carbs, 12g of fat, and around 10g of fiber at each of their four meals spaced throughout the day. By not counting your Macros, you could potentially be eating extra calories that your body simply will not be able to utilize & oxidize. Therefore, those extra calories will be stored into fat cells. This is why I’m such a huge proponent of macronutrient counting. It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to bulk up (put on lean muscle) in the winter or lean out for the summer to hit the pool parties. You must be accountable for your own macronutrients because our bodies and metabolic rates were all made differently.
Let me break down each macronutrient for you and its importance to the body.
Protein-Proteins are essential nutritionally because of their basic amino acids, which the body must have to synthesize its own variety of proteins & nitrogen-containing molecules that make life possible. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, there are 20 amino acids in the body (9 essential & 11 non essential) we produce the 9 essential amino acids through food and supplementation and as for the 11 non essential amino acids, we produce in our bodies by ourselves. Proteins are the building blocks for muscle tissue. When you work out a muscle group, the muscle tissue is being broken down by the weights and in order to grow and recover, the muscles must be fed amino acids and protein. Protein should be consumed at each of your meals throughout the day no matter what. Try: Chicken, fish, lean beef, whey protein powder, etc.
Carbohydrates- When carbs have been ingested, they are absorbed into the mouth, stomach, and intestines to the smaller unit which is usually glucose (blood sugar). The main purpose of carbohydrates is to provide energy and fuel for the body, speed up the body’s metabolism to prevent unwanted fat storage & spare muscle protein. Everybody metabolizes Carbs differently. Some people can consume a lot of carbs and stay lean and some just simply can’t eat a lot because after their metabolism utilizes a certain amount, the rest will be stored into fat cells. There are 2 different types of carbs, complex & simple, and it is important to find out which types tailor your body best and how much. Try: Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, etc.
Fats- Fats are the most energy-dense macronutrient & they provide many of the body’s tissues & organs with most of their energy. Fat is the most critical macronutrient to optimize hormonal functions ( i.e., testosterone, libido, etc). Fats are also essential for building muscle, reducing cortisol levels, providing energy, helps with hunger pangs, and assisting the body in functioning properly. Please don’t fall into the fitness dogma of fats are bad for you and if you consume them they will make you fat. It’s one of the most ridiculous myths out there, our bodies need fat! Try: Nuts, seeds, oils (olive, flax seed, coconut), fats from animal meats, etc.
Fiber- Fiber is not a macronutrient. Fiber is found in mainly Carbohydrates. Usually low glycemic carbs (oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice, certain fruits, etc) are all high in fiber. Here are some reasons to why fiber is so important:
– Fiber makes you feel fuller because when it’s digested it pulls water into your GI area
– It increases thermogenesis and thus helps with fat loss
– It is important for gut health and digestive health. If you don’t have a healthy digestive system then you aren’t going to get good assimilation of nutrients
So after reading this, if your still one of those people that care about what they are putting into their bodies, their health, lack of energy, and what they look like in the mirror, then I hope this gave you a sense on why it’s important to count your macronutrients. It’s so important because I believe it gives you the best chance to control your body the way you want it to be. This gives you a chance to learn what your body likes/dislikes, are you a high carb person or low carb person, or maybe you’re in the middle. This gives you a chance to see if your body stores fats well. This also gives you the opportunity to eat pretty much anything you want, as long as you fit it into your daily macronutrient numbers and fiber number. But, realize, this is not for everybody and it wouldn’t be an ideal thing for someone that’s lazy to count their numbers day in and day out! This is a chance for you to transition your life from a mediocre lifestyle, into a dynamic lifestyle! A chance to throw away all those garbage fad diets, re-fined foods that make you feel like crap all day and create your own diet that you are going to be consistent with, enjoy doing, making you feel great, and getting results. Why put crap foods in our bodies that aren’t going to benefit us? Put quality macronutrients into your body so you can reap those benefits from these nutrient densed foods! Enter the wonderful world of macronutrient counting people.
See our video on Why count your Macros…
Check out our simple, straight, and easy approach to Flexible Dieting Guide HERE