The three macronutrients are fats, proteins and carbohydrates. They are the three main components of your food and play a role in nearly everything you eat. Though most of us tend to eat our food based on portion sizes, the amount it takes to make us feel full and how much we like of a certain dish, there is actually more to it than that if you want to reach your fitness goals.
When you’re hoping to become fitter, stronger and improve your performance, the situation changes. Your body has certain requirements and when you want to get the most out of it, you need to offer yourself the best possible balance. That way, your organs, systems and muscles will have everything they need to function at their best so you can get the most efficient results.
That said, there isn’t a specific macronutrient ratio that works for every single person, not even if your goals are identical. The amount you require of each macronutrient differs depending on your goals, your body type, whether you’re male or female, and several other factors. If you want a specific ratio meant precisely for your goals, you may need to consult with a professional such as a doctor, nutritionist, dietician, or physical trainer.
There are also some macronutrient ratio calculators online that may be helpful. They can’t replace the assistance of an expert, but they can provide some helpful guidance if you are trying to fine tune your diet strategy on your own.
Consider the following general guide for macronutrient ratios based on your fitness goal:
• Fat – This is a vital energy source when you’re working toward a fitness goal. Dietary fats offer your body 9 calories for every pure gram. That’s over twice the number of calories your carbs or proteins have to offer. If you eat too much fat, you will risk gaining too much weight. However, fat needs to be one of your body’s energy sources because it is critical to proper health and functioning of certain cells, organs and systems. Even your hair and skin need a certain amount of fat before they will look their best. For fat loss, aim to get 30% of your calories from fat to promote satiety and optimize your metabolism. For muscle gain, aim to get anywhere from 15% to 20% of your calories from fat to leave plenty of room for protein and carbs, the building blocks and fuel for your muscles.
• Protein – Anyone who is striving toward a fitness goal needs to consume enough protein. It is a building block of your muscles and is central to muscular repair and growth. Without protein, you won’t see any progress. For fat loss, aim to get 30% to 40% of your calories from protein to prevent muscle loss and maintain a feeling of fullness long after you eat. For muscle building, eat 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
• Carbohydrates – This is your body’s first and fastest energy source. When you need instant, quick energy for your workouts, you need to eat enough carbs to get the job done. Just make sure you’re eating high quality carbs while skipping refined sugars and white flours. To lose fat, get about 40% of your calories from high quality carbs to maintain steady insulin levels throughout the day and keep cravings at bay. For building muscle, after calculating the percentage protein will take up of your calorie requirements, eat the remaining percentage in carbs. Pay special attention to include them before intense strength training sessions to maximize your energy stores.