Making Sense of Macros | Erin Stern

August 15, 2017

This month, we’ll be switching gears and focusing on nutrition. While training is important for making progress, nutrition can help us get stronger, recover faster, gain muscle, and lean down.  Variety makes meals exciting, but I believe that true progress is made when you’re able to rely on staple foods that are filling, tasty, and give you the energy that you need to get through the day and through training. There has been a lot of talk about “macros” recently, and a few diets that rely on tracking macros. Macros are simply referring to macronutrients, or protein, carbs, and fats. Meticulously tracking macros can be time-consuming and a bit frustrating. The human body and the way it functions is science, but there’s also an art to it. No metabolism is the same. We burn more calories one day than the next. If we overeat slightly, our bodies can adjust and often burn off this excess. This is why I don’t track my macros, but instead, follow loose guidelines for how to eat. 

As far as the science of eating goes, we either get our energy from carbs or fats. The preferred or easier energy source is carbs. We can burn fat through heavy lifting, HIIT (high intensity interval training), fasted cardio, and through manipulating the diet. Removing carbs and increasing fats will force the body into ketosis, where it burns fat for fuel. Intermittent fasting can also help the body use fat stores for fuel. I’ll go over a simple way to try intermittent fasting with some macros guidelines. I like to follow roughly a 40/30/30 ratio, which is 40% protein, 30% carbs, and 30% fats. These guidelines speak to a balanced ratio of macros. We’ll have to spend another series on keto! Ok, let’s dive in! 

  • Protein: eat protein at every meal. Aim to get at least 1g of protein per pound of body weight per day. This amount shouldn’t vary too much. Protein is the one macronutrient that our bodies can’t store, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough. A deficiency in protein can hinder muscle-building efforts, and can have an effect on satiety. Protein keeps you feeling fuller longer. Lean meats and egg whites are the preferred source here. Other options can include low/no fat cheeses and dairy, and supplements.
  •  eat carbs when you’re most active. Focus the majority of your carbohydrate intake before and after training. Taper intake when you’re sedentary and as you’re winding down for the night. As you decrease carbs, increase your intake of healthy fats.
  •  eat fats when you’re more sedentary and/or later in the day. I try not to combine carbs and fats in one meal, opting for either protein/carbs or protein/fats. I think that this can prevent fat storage. Try it, and see what you think. Opt for healthy fats, like avocado, coconut, olive oil, nuts, and egg yolks. 

BetaTOR can help with training, no matter what phase of training you’re in. I have enjoyed better recovery, increased strength, and have been able to get more quality reps out of each set. Thank you for reading. Until next time, train hard, y’all!

- Erin Stern, 2x Ms. Figure Olympia


 Check out more articles from Erin Stern here.

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