Lindsey Pine, a Los Angeles based registered dietitian and founder of Tasty Balance Nutrition is highjacking the braveBLOG to talk about how to incorporate macros into your diet. Read up!
The term “macros” is definitely trending, but what the heck are they why are they important to our fitness? Macros, or macronutrients, are simply carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The right mix can make or break your ability to push through a tough workout and recover quickly.
Let’s dive into what you need to know about each macro and how to incorporate macros into your diet.
Get to know your macros
Let’s make one thing clear: Fit girls NEED carbs! Think of carbs as energy, they’ll help fuel intense workouts and keep your metabolism fired up. Because running out of steam halfway through an intense sweat session is major buzzkill. Be sure to choose the best types of carbs such as whole grains, whole-wheat pastas, beans, fruits, and vegetables. These types of carbs have tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that keep your health in shape, keep energy levels high, and even assist in the recovery process. Fun fact: did you know that popcorn is a whole grain?!
Protein is the building block that’s needed to repair and build muscle, keep the immune system healthy, and is involved in the function of every single cell in our bodies. Is it best to eat as much protein as possible all in one sitting? Nope. Our bodies can only utilize about 25-35 grams at once. Therefore, it’s best to space protein out throughout the day rather than loading up all at one meal. Try to include protein at breakfast and in snacks for optimal performance benefit. Some examples of protein choices are turkey, chicken, lean beef, fish, tofu, beans, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese.
You need to consume fat to keep your body operating at peak performance. Fat helps us with our metabolism, mood, and satiety. The key is to focus on heart healthy fats like olive oil, culinary algae oil, avocado, nuts, peanut butter, and seeds. And don’t forget about omega-3 fatty acids from foods like salmon, walnuts, flax, and chia seeds. Fats also help us better absorb certain vitamins like A, E, K, and D. Vitamin D is super important in keeping the immune system healthy.
Now let’s talk about macros for fitness performance
Since everyone’s body is different, there isn’t a one size fits all macro ratio. Start with a baseline ratio of 45-50% carbs, 25-30% fat, and 25-30% protein. From there, you can tweak based on your energy levels and fitness goals.
1-2 hours before your workout, try to consume faster-digesting carbohydrates rather than fiber and fat. You don’t want stomach issues while you’re training! Experiment with different foods and timing to find out what makes you feel best during your workout. Aim for a ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 carbs to protein.
Examples of pre-workout snacks are:
- Plain Greek yogurt with berries and squirt of honey
- Oatmeal with sliced fruit
- 1 medium banana with nut butter
- Homemade energy balls
It’s important to consume protein after you finish training, but you also need a healthy dose of carbs to replace fuel stores and help your muscles rebuild. Aim for a carb to protein ratio of 2:1, and if your workout was extra long and intense, go for a 3:1 ratio.
Is it necessary to always have a post workout snack? If you’re plan is to go directly home and enjoy a meal, then probably not. But, if you have more than 30 minutes until your next meal, eating a quick protein-filled snack of about 20 grams after working out will jumpstart that recovery process and prevent you from ravenously chowing down at your next meal.
Examples of post workout snacks/meals:
- Cottage cheese or Greek yogurt
- Salmon with sweet potato
- Turkey wrap with veggies
- Hard boiled eggs, hummus, and whole-grain toast
This guest post was written by Lindsey Pine. Learn more about Lindsey and her nutrition services at Tasty Balance Nutrition.