Hi, my name is Tessa Smith (tessasmithxo on Instagram) and I am a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast from Ontario.
Before I talk about macronutrients and how they relate to fitness, I should mention that I am not a physician or registered dietitian, and the contents of this document should not be taken as medical advice.
Remember – always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health!
What Are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients are our essential nutrients needed for proper bodily function. Each of these macronutrients or “macros” possess their own function and purpose.
Protein is an essential macronutrient that is needed for the building and repair of muscle tissues.
Without proper protein intake, muscle can atrophy (decrease). Especially after exercise, it is important to re-fuel the body with protein to ensure the muscles can repair.
Protein can be implemented into the diet through various sources – such as within food or through supplementation.
Protein examples: chicken, tuna, eggs, low fat milk, turkey, ham, lean pork, lean beef, fish, protein shakes, protein bars, high protein yogurt, fat free or low fat greek yogurt.
Carbohydrates are our bodies’ most preferred form of energy. There are two classes of carbohydrates: simple, and complex.
Simple carbohydrates are foods that are higher in sugars and can be digested quickly. The technical term for simple carbohydrates or simple sugars are monosaccharides (meaning 1 or single: “mono”).
Complex carbohydrates are foods that are lower in sugar and are digested much more slowly.
Since simple carbohydrates are digested fast, this is typically a choice you will see among athletes before or after a workout, race, event, etc.
Typically, if you are consuming a simple carbohydrate, it is better to consume before or after physical activity so that it is quickly used for energy or for replenishing.
Otherwise, the body will store it as fat.
Simple carbohydrate examples: fruit, sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, milk, chocolate milk, fruit juice, etc.
Complex Carbohydrate exmaples: brown rice, baked chips, low fat popcorn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread, bran cereal, oatmeal, oat bran, anything from oats, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, etc.
There are 3 different types of fats: unsaturated or “the good”, saturated AKA “the bad”, and trans AKA “the ugly”.
Unsaturated fats are good for your heart, improve blood cholesterol, decrease risk of diabetes and help control blood sugar.
Saturated and trans fats elevate cholesterol and create elevated risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Unsaturated “good fat” examples: cheese, nut butters, olive oil, canola oil, MCT oil, avocado, coconut oil, flax seed oil, omega 3 liquid / capsultes, chia seeds, hemp hearts, red palm oil, pinenuts, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pistachio nuts, etc.
Try Keeping A “Food Log”
A simple daily food log can really help you keep things organized.
Try it for a week or two and see if it helps to keep things in check, and of course – be honest with yourself and don’t forget to include everything!
You don’t have to go into more detail about the amount of things you eat, but if you keep a food log for a couple of weeks, and feel you’d like to include more info, such as specific amounts, go for it!
I use a little notebook myself and fill it out before bed.
Daily Food Log Example:
(aim for 2-4L a day)