Macros & Calories
Macros or macronutrient are the three major units that provide energy for your body, they are comprised of carbohydrates, fats and protein.
Macronutrients have a huge impact on the biological processes within your body, including hormonal production, the health of your immune system, metabolic functioning, body composition and many more.
• Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram
• Protein provides 4 calories per gram
• Fats provide 9 calories per gram
A carb is a sugar molecule that provides energy for the central nervous system and muscles.
They are classified as either a simplex or a complex carbohydrate, the difference being the chemical structure and how quickly the body will absorb the sugar. Simple carbohydrates are absorbed faster and more easily than complex.
Healthy sources of carbohydrates: Root vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes, vegetables and whole grains.
Protein is essential to building muscle mass, as well as helping the immune system stay strong and is great for satiety. Protein also helps with creating hormones and forming antibodies to help prevent infections within the body.
Healthy sources of protein: Animal meat, tofu, beans and legumes, protein powder and fish.
Dietary fats are essential to hormone health within the body, as well as insulation for our organs and the formation of our brain, cell membranes and the nervous system.
Healthy sources of fats: Almonds, brazil nuts, avocado, chia seeds, coconut oil and sunflower seeds.
Correct Macronutrients & Calories for Your Body
Working out the correct macronutrients for your body and goals is essential to how good you are going to feel and the composition of your body. Protein should generally stay fixed at the grams you need to consume per your body weight, while the number of carbs and fats can be adjusted according to whether a caloric deficit or surplus is required. Some individuals may feel better on a high carb diet, whereas others may thrive when the levels of fat are higher and carbs are lower.
A calorie is a way of measuring energy and all food contains energy. In order to lose weight, the body must be in a caloric deficit, which means that it is expending more energy than is being consumed. Exercise can also obviously be used to place the body into a deficit, however, a lot of people can overestimate how many calories they burn during a workout session. A caloric surplus is often used during a muscle building phase, where the primary goals are slightly less focused on body fat levels and more focused on gaining muscle mass.
Some people, particularly athletes on a ‘prep’ where calories can be on the lower end, often benefit from having what is known as a refeed, or a period of increased calories where they are brought back up to baseline or surplus. The thinking behind this is to give the body a small break from being in deficit. Carbohydrates should be the primary macro that are brought up to load back up the glycogen levels. A diet break for two or three days may also be used, however, this comes down to how aggressive the deficit is and the current body fat levels of the individual. Benefits of both a refeed or a complete diet break can be increased energy levels, better sleep, hunger, mood, libido and rate of fat loss. However, it’s also important to realise this does not mean eating whatever you want, but rather still calculating the macros and calories of each meal, to stay on track with your goals.
For more health, nutrition & fitness tips, advice, inspiration, products, and services; head along to the NZ Fitness & Health Expo on October 27-28 at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane. Tickets available now at www.nzfitnessexpo.co.nz