Ever feel like even though you’re working out, you don’t see the results that you want? Well, it’s possible that you need to improve your nutrition. What we eat can determine the future of our health and physical form.
According to The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2010), “…72 percent of men and 64 percent of women are overweight or obese, with about one-third of adults being obese.” Further, even in the absence of being overweight, having a poor diet is associated with major causes of morbidity and mortality. Many times people can distinguish what is healthy and what is not. However, that saying that “too much of a good thing is bad” can apply to this. And the opposite applies as well, too little of one thing can be detrimental to our nutrition.
Most diets count calories, and end in failure. Counting your calories can show successful weight loss; however, the quality and longevity of your weight loss will suffer if you ignore your balance of macronutrients. According to the True Sport Nutrition Guide (2013), macronutrients are what we all know as carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Examples of carbs include: sweet potatoes, brown rice and oatmeal. Fats include: peanut butter, nuts and avocados. And proteins include: chicken, eggs and protein powders.
To count macronutrients, we are going to divide our diet amongst the three to find the perfect balance. The recommended amount of macronutrient proportions vary according to age. There is a formula that takes into account your age, physical activity levels and dietary goals, and you can establish the best proportions for you.
According to Nutrition in Sport (2000), “An important nutritional balance among the various essential nutrients but be maintained. The proportions of different macronutrients… depend on the total energy intake.” This means that, in addition to our age groups, our level of physical activity can also affect the amount of carbs, protein and fats that we need. A person who is very physically active needs to consume more carbs and proteins to make sure they are able to replenish their energy reserves in their muscles adequately.
Think about our diet as a pie, where your entire intake equals 100g and that total amount is divided into the three macronutrients. For example, a common balanced diet for someone that is looking to retain muscle but slim down will consume 20g of fat, 30 g of protein and 50 grams of carbs (Nutrition in Sport). Ideally, 20% of our diet should be fats, 30% should be protein and 50% should be carbs. A macronutrient-conscious diet is filling; though the calories might be a little over or a little under, your body receives the balanced amount of nutrients it needs. It’s a numbers game.
Looking for an easy way to implement this advice into your diet? There are plenty of mobile apps that efficiently count macronutrients. One nutritionist favorited app is macros+. It allows you to customize your page and come up with the right macronutrient proportions for you based on your age, nutritional goals and physical activity levels. Than every time you eat, you log your food and it divides the food according to the macronutrients that it encompasses.
So, if you feel like you have hit a plateau, maybe you don’t need to change up your workout routine, but your nutrition instead.