Guest post by: Monica Nichols
Macronutrients are the pillars of human nutrition, and without them our bodies wouldn’t be able to function even at the most basic level. There are three types of macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
These three kinds of molecules have very different roles in our organisms, and it’s essential to give our bodies as much as they need to function properly – especially if you’re trying to uphold a consistent workout routine.
The Function of Macronutrients
Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy our bodies get. Whether it’s simple carbs (sugars) more complex ones such as grains, ultimately carbohydrates are transformed into glucose within our bodies and used as fuel.
This is their only function in our organism, unlike proteins and fats they are not used for a structural purpose. Most of the time you’re going to want the largest percentage of the macronutrients you take in to be carbs.
They’re also the macronutrient that’s quickest to metabolize of the three, while proteins and fats take a bit more time.
Proteins are the building blocks of your muscles, your fingernails, your hair and much more. On a molecular level, they’re just chains of amino acids tied together with peptide bonds, and besides making up muscle they have a few other functions inside your body.
They regulate certain processes and chemical reactions such as digestion and hormone activity, and are also used to transport oxygen through your blood vessels.
Fats are essentially your body’s energy reserves. When you consume too many carbohydrates for your body to properly digest, your body transforms it into lipids (fat) instead of into glucose, so it can be used at a later time.
This made a lot of sense when humans were hunter-gatherers and had no idea when their next meal was going to be, but today fat is a hindrance both to our body image and our health, as you probably already know. Because fat is a concentrated form of energy, a single gram of fat has 9x as many calories than a gram of carbohydrates.
Fats aren’t all bad, though; except serving as an energy reserve, they’re crucial for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, K and E. Fat also serves as an insulating layer between you and the outside temperature.
So now that you know what macro-nutrients are responsible for within your body, it’s very important that you know how much of each you need to take in, so you can improve your overall health and make your body more prepared for what you have in store for it in the gym.
Some doctors recommend ratios like 60/20/20 (60% carbs, 20% proteins and fats) or 40/30/30, but this is just an approximation. In reality, the ratio depends on a number of factors, such as:
Your Workout Routine
Since exercising significantly impacts how macronutrients are digested inside our bodies, your recommended intake will vary drastically from the way you exercise and what you want to accomplish. Developing lean muscle mass is going to require a high carbohydrate intake, but it’ll be very hard to shed weight if you don’t cut down on the carbs.
If you just want to lose a few pounds, you’re going to want to go for a low-carb diet until your BMI drops. In any case, you can see that it’s pretty difficult to do both of these at the same time.
A lot of athletes choose to divide their workouts into “phases” that last a few weeks, starting with a muscle-building phase during which they significantly up their carbohydrate intake. Then they severely cut down on the carbs during the weight-loss phase, revealing a lean, powerful physique underneath once they shed the excess weight.
Your macronutrient requirements and how they affect your results in the gym will also largely depend on your genes and your body type. There are three major body types into which most people can be categorized: ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs.
Ectomorphs are lean, skinny people who have extremely fast metabolisms and very low levels of fat in their bodies. They often find it difficult to build muscle mass, although they lose weight rather easily. Most ectomorphs should adopt a high-carb diet in order to prevent the breakdown of muscle, as well as a higher calorie intake in general to match their extra fast metabolisms.
Mesomorphs are generally naturally muscular and develop muscle mass/lose fat with ease. Significant weight gain can occur if the mesomorph isn’t careful with their calorie intake, though, so it’s best to stick to a moderate level of carbohydrates (between 20 and 50 percent, depending on whether they want to work on developing muscle mass or burning fat).
And finally, endomorphs are a body type that easily packs on a lot of muscle, but really struggles with losing weight. For this reason, it’s best for endomorphs to lower their overall carb intake and compensate with proteins and fat.
Now you hopefully know everything you need to about how to regulate your macronutrient intake for the absolute best results in the gym. A healthy diet plan (check out this sun basket review to find out how to easily create meal plans with healthy ingredients), a rigorous training routine and just the right balance of proteins, fats and carbs are essential to getting that body you’ve always dreamed of and improving your overall health, and if you stick to all of that I guarantee that you’ll see results in no time. Good luck!
Monica Nichols is one of the most promising writers at www.diet.st, and apart from writing her main passion in life is designing clothes. In her free time, she likes listening to jazz and spending time with her boyfriend in their hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
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