Diet plays a huge role in transforming your body into a finely tuned machine-actually it accounts for about 70% or more of your overall success. Macros, in general, are used to tweak your body and manipulate things the way you want it, but not everyone understands macros and why we keep up with them. We have made keeping up with your macronutrients a little simpler by using a cheat sheet and explaining body types to determine what your macro goals are.
Your diet is the ultimate factor in whether or not you:
- gain fat
- lose fat
- gain definition
- lose definition
- lose muscle mass
- gain muscle mass
- stay the same
1. Figure out your goals. Do you want to gain mass or bulk up? Do you want to acheive ultimate fatloss? Do you want to just maintain your physique?
When you figure out your primary goal, then you can move forward with the macronutrient ratio that bests suits your needs.
2. Figure out your body type. According to BodyBuilding.com, "Each body type or combination of body types will have a different reaction to various macronutrient ratios. If you're not sure which type you are—or how to even begin thinking about your macros—here are the ISSA recommendations:
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. They 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."
3. Gender matters. According to Bodybuilding.com, Women are more efficient at burning fat and less efficient at burning the glycogen stored in muscle. As such, they may be able to operate on lower carbohydrate intake than men.
Research suggests a variety of reasons that women have a greater reliance on fats for fuel during exercise, including:
- Estrogen enhances epinephrine production, the primary hormone that stimulates lipolysis (fatty acid breakdown).
- Estrogen promotes the release of human growth hormone (HGH), which inhibits the uptake of carbohydrates and increases the mobilization of fatty acids from adipose tissue.
- Women have increased blood flow to adipose tissue, which could assist in fatty acid mobilization.
- Women have higher levels of intramuscular triglycerides (IMTG), a fat-based source of fuel that spares muscle glycogen during moderate to high intensity exercise. This sparing of muscle glycogen may actually give women an endurance edge when performing at high intensities against men!
- According to one study, men appear to rely more on stored carbohydrate for fuel than women when doing the same exercise.
4. Know your macros. I have created a macronutrient cheat sheet printable to help make life a little bit easier when keeping up with your macros. It can be very confusing to sit there and figure out what's what-especially when you are new to the game.
Carbs: Should be included with your breakfast or before your workout.
Proteins: You should aim to include proteins in each and every meal.
Fats: Eat in moderation or when carbs are not being consumed.
*The shaded areas are a combo between each macronutrient.