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Macro Myths

mural in Soho by artist Hanksy

Macronutrients. Micronutrients. I say potato, you say po-tah-toh, right? Wrong. Let’s breakdown what works for ME and could possibly work for YOU. We’ll walk through some experiments of macro counting and micronutrient balancing and although I am not a registered dietitian, I speak from experience and with a wealth of knowledge.

The most common problem women face, specifically those hoping to lose body fat and maintain lean body mass, is  NOT EATING ENOUGH. When I lead a female strength group in Philadelphia, my clients would train for an hour. We crammed each second of class with intense, dynamic exercises and often VERY heavy weights. However, many of the women did not properly fuel their workouts for optimal results. For example, for someone  who completed 4×4-8 deadlifts at 70% of your 1RM (one rep max) on top of 3-4 accessory movements and heavy sled drags to finish, POST WORKOUT CARBOHYDRATE CONSUMPTION SHOULD BE A PRIORITY. In fact, if our muscles are not properly receiving replenishments of glycogen, they will FAIL to recover, rebuild and therefore negate any of the hard work completed earlier that day. Why am I making such  big deal about carbohydrates? Because they are the most neglected macronutrient. The most basic explanation for carbohydrate consumption resembles a sandwich. Let’s look at someone who exercises in the morning.

 

The day’s workout is the meat (or tempeh, for my vegetarians and vegans).Breakfast before a workout should include some form of carbohydrate, some protein and little fat. After your workout you should consume carbohydrates, protein and little fat, in fact EVEN MORE CARBOHYDRATES than eaten before the workout. Additionally, you should sprinkle the remainder of your day with a few more smaller servings of carbohydrates, as you progress further from the completion of your workout, you can increase (SLIGHTLY) your fat intake and decrease your carb consumption. Lastly, a before bed snack should include some protein. This will prevent further catabolism (break down) of muscle fibers and keep them fueled and recovering throughout the night. Protein powder is a great option, specifically casein. Now, these recommendations specifically apply to those compliant with a moderate to vigorous strength training program at least 3 days a week. If you are a  runner, triathlete or gear more towards aerobic exercise, your nutrition guidelines will be slightly different. Are these recommendations merely skimming the surface of nutrition guidelines? Yes. Am I going to go into more detail? Yes.
Each person has a specific caloric intake depending on the DAY. You can be as detailed and anal as you like about measuring, or you can loosely follow suggestions. Things to consider: Was my workout hard, moderate or relatively easy? What time is it? Is my job active or stationary? Am I hoping to put on muscle mass or lose fat while maintaining muscle? How old am I?

I am happy to help anyone with specific needs or questions, but I will not make generic recommendations for specific macro breakdown because although it is relatively easy to follow once you begin, macro breakdowns are specific and intricate for each person.