Otherwise though, all the same general rules of good nutrition still apply. Let’s look more closely now at the macronutrient side of things.
The macronutrients refer to the proteins, carbs, and dietary fats that you’re eating as part of your diet plan. It’s going to be important that you get these right as they are what will determine how much energy you have, how well you maintain your lean muscle mass, along with how hungry you are. Plus, from an overall health standpoint, each has specific roles in the body.
First let’s look at proteins. Proteins are what will support your lean muscle mass, maintaining the tissue, building new muscle cells, as well as repairing broken down cells after a hard workout session. Additionally, protein will help to keep your hunger levels lower as it takes a long time to digest and break-down in the body, and will also have very minimal influence over your blood sugar level.
Finally, protein also has the highest ‘thermic effect of food’ meaning simply by eating it, you’ll burn more calories just digesting it and breaking it down. For every 100 calories of protein consumed, you’ll burn off almost 30 of those calories through digestion. This serves as a great way to boost your overall metabolic rate.
Those seeking fat loss should aim for 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day while those looking to build muscle should aim for 1 gram per pound of body weight.
Since there’s less risk of protein being used as a fuel source when you are eating a higher calorie intake for building muscle, you don’t need quite as much protein overall.
The Best Protein Sources To Consume Include:
- Chicken breast
- Turkey breast
- Lean red meat
- Fish and seafood
- Egg whites
- Low-fat dairy products
- Whey protein powder
If you can get one of these protein sources in with each and every meal you eat, you’ll be on track to success.
The next macronutrient to go over is carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are going to help provide an immediate source of energy for the hard working muscles so are a must to eat before and after your workouts.
Some women get caught up in the thinking pattern that consuming carbs automatically means weight gain, but this isn’t the case at all.
As long as you choose wisely and be sure not to overeat, you can have your carbs and still lose weight. Carbs are also a must for building muscle since they supply the energy that your body needs to build this new muscle tissue with.
When it comes to choosing carbs, select the ones that contain the lowest amount of processing possible. Think ‘straight from the ground’.
- Sweet potatoes
- Brown rice
- Sweet potatoes/Yams
These are the more calorie dense forms of carbs, so you’ll eat more of them if you’re aiming to build muscle than lose fat. Furthermore, they should be placed right around the workout periods as much as possible as this is when your muscles will need that immediate source of fuel.
Later on in the day, then you should turn to the fibrous sources of carbohydrates, which are your vegetables. These are so low in calories that they hardly count towards your diet plan, so you can virtually eat an unlimited amount of them. Just do be sure that you aren’t using any high calorie preparation methods with them or you’ll pay the consequences.
Vegetable intake should be particularly high for those looking to lose fat as this will help to keep your hunger under control while keeping your total calorie intake down. Furthermore, these are also loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, so are a must-have for overall health as well.
Finally, fruits can also be consumed in moderation. Some people believe that they should cut fruit entirely out of the picture, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
While they do contain some natural fruit sugar, they also contain fiber, which will help keep you feeling full and prevent the typical blood sugar spike you get from pure glucose.
Fruits are still lower calorie overall, so can be a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth. They do contain more calories than vegetables though, so just be sure that you are adding them to your daily total. Eat too many and you could still gain weight.
There’s no specific recommendation for exactly how many carbohydrates you need to eat on your diet plan and it will largely be determined by how many calories you’re taking in in the first place along with how much dietary fat you’re eating. Once your protein intake is set, then the remaining calories will get divided up between carbs and fats relatively equally.
Remember that there are four calories per gram of proteins and carbs but nine calories per gram of dietary fat.
Speaking of dietary fat, this brings us to our last nutrient to discuss. While some people may fear carbohydrates in their diet, others fear dietary fat.
As long as you’re choosing wisely though, there’s no need to feel this way. Dietary fat is more calorie dense, so you do need to be careful how much you eat, but some fat should definitely be included in your diet plan.
This is what will help to keep you feeling satisfied after each meal and less likely to go in for a snack shortly afterwards. Since dietary fat takes so long to digest in the body by adding it to the meals and snacks you eat, you increase the total length of digestion, reducing your hunger.
Dietary fat is also important for keeping your hormonal levels up where they need to be so that you feel great on your diet at all times. Those women who choose to eat fat devoid diet will often complain about a lacklustre complexion, brittle hair and nails, along with a hunger level that never seems to let up.
Dietary fat can fix all this.
When adding dietary fat to your program, you want to turn to unsaturated and polyunsaturated sources. Stay as far away from trans fats and saturated fats as possible as these will only do your health harm.
Also remember to eat fats away from the pre and post workout period. During these times dietary fat will only slow down the deliver to the muscle tissues, which is precisely what you don’t want.
Keep your pre and post workouts strictly carbs and protein and then make the other meals focused more around protein, healthy fats, and vegetables.
The Top Choices Of Healthy Fats To Consume Include:
- Olive oil
- Safflower oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Sunflower seeds
- Natural nut butter
- Fatty sources of fish
If you can choose most often, you’ll be doing your best to promote a lean body composition and optimal health.
Flaxseeds, walnuts, and fatty sources of fish are especially important because these are the main sources of omega fats, which is the type of fat most powerful for enhancing your health and promoting a leaner body composition.
Again, there’s no minimum or maximum recommendation for dietary fats as they have to fit in with your total calorie intake target. For reference sake though, aim to consume no less than 15% of your total calories from dietary fat.
This is the minimum amount you need to help keep your hunger under control and hormones at an appropriate level.
So that covers the main macronutrients that you must be eating on a daily basis. Take some time now to figure out your targets so that you know what you should be getting.
Once you’ve done so, then you should utilize a calorie and nutrient tracking program such as one of the many phone applications out there or internet sites (www.MyFitnessPal.com for example) to help keep track of everything and ensure you are eating what you need to be.
These sites make things highly organized and easy so that you can be sure that you do reach the goals that you’ve set out for yourself.
Another important thing to think about and make sure you’re well aware of is hydration. If you’re not properly hydrating, this can result in a slowed metabolic rate, higher levels of fatigue, and just a general sense of being unwell.
When it comes to hydration, make sure to choose low-calorie or calorie-free options that contain no caffeine.
The best choice is water, followed closely by herbal or Green tea. Coffee can be okay in moderation as it does have that caffeine, but be careful not to add high amounts of sugar or full fat cream or you’re going to increase your calorie intake significantly.
Active women should be drinking at least ten cups of fluid per day, if not more to ensure they are getting what they need after their workout sessions.