Nutrition 101 – How It All Works & Order Of Importance
1 – Calories
If you want to build muscle you need to be in a calorie surplus. This means eating more calories daily than your body is accustomed to.
If you want to lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit. This means eating fewer calories daily than your body is accustomed to.
Determine your goal (weight loss or muscle gain) and then eat more or less than the amount of food that maintains your current body weight.
2 – Macronutrients
Macronutrients are protein, carbohydrate, and fat. Your body needs enough of each macronutrient to function optimally. Each macronutrient serves an important role.
Protein – Builds and maintains lean muscle tissue
Carbohydrate – Provides the body with energy (especially needed for active people)
Fat – Essential for hormone balance and nutrient transport
Macronutrients contribute to your total calorie intake as follows:
1g of protein = 4 calories
1g of carbohydrate = 4 calories
1g of fat = 9 calories
3 – Micronutrients
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals, and also fibre. Your body needs micronutrients to help recover and repair from exercise and your general lifestyle. Fibre is important to improve digestive health and can help to prevent various diseases.
4 – Meal Timing & Frequency
Spreading your protein intake over all of your meals is ideal for improved Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS). Having carbohydrate around workouts can improve physical performance. Spreading your meal frequency over 3-5 meals will help to reduce bloating, discomfort, and will help you to reach your calorie target comfortably each day. Eating too frequently can make you more food focused. Eating less frequently can increase hunger.
5 – Supplements
Supplements are the least important aspect of nutrition. Your diet should provide your body with all of the essentials, however supplements can provide a small additional benefit. Supplements such as creatine, caffeine, vitamin D3, and fish oil are beneficial in an effort to improve strength and performance. These supplements are less beneficial in the absence of sufficient calories, effective macronutrients, and sufficient micronutrients.
– Aim to have 2 grams of protein per kilo of your body weight per day (example 90KG body weight x 2 = 180g of protein per day)
– Spread your protein servings across the day, every 3-5 hours
– Include a serve of protein before and/or after you exercise
– Protein sources can be lean meats, eggs, dairy, protein powder, and vegan options
Carbs, Fruits and Vegetables
– For fat loss consider having 2-3 grams of carbs per kilo of your body weight per day (example 90KG body weight x 3 = 270g of carbs per day)
– Focus on carbohydrates at breakfast and before/after training for energy
– 200 grams or more of vegetables per day
– 1-2 fruits per day
– Keep sugar intake below 40% of total carbs
– Eat foods with a variety of colours
– Aim to keep variety in your fruit and vegetable selection
– Aim for 15 grams of fibre per 1,000 calories of food intake
– Aim to have 0.5 grams of fat per kilo of your body weight per day as a minimum (example 90KG body weight x 0.5 = 45g of fat per day)
– 3-6 grams of fish oil capsules per day.
– Aim to include a range of fats (saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated).
– Aim to keep intake of trans fats to an absolute minimum.
Water and Sodium
– Consume 3-5 L of water per day, or more if highly active.
– There are no limitations on sodium however aim to keep your intake consistent.
– Five clear urinations per day is a good sign of adequate hydration.