How can I increase energy? Well, are you getting enough macronutrients? This can often be a core problem for those feeling lethargic or not getting the fitness results they want.
Understanding what Macronutrients were and how I could use them to bring back control in my life was at the centre of my 100lb weight loss journey. I could see the long road ahead and I knew if I didn’t get started I was going to face serious consequences down the road.
My biggest problem was that as I closed in on 300lbs I couldn’t collect enough energy to hit it hard in the gym. This is where Macronutrients came in. As I learned about them I soon began to realize i was consuming the wrong ratios and as I will show in a later article, the cost of processed food was killing all my Micronutrients.
WHAT ARE MACRONUTRIENTS?
The human body requires three major macronutrients to function; Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat. Not all in even ratios by any means. Energy being translated to calories is found to be more dense in fat, which is one reason why you don’t need as much. There is a forth substance that can provide calories but does not translate in any way to something our body needs and that is alcohol. This is what is known as an empty calorie.
These Macronutrients are needed for growth and metabolism as well.
Often manipulating Macronutrient ratios can be essential to overall body composition. As we learned in the article Low carb or low fat? Which should you follow? we read that by altering the amount of Macronutrients we consume can have varying results on our health and weight.
For instance did you know that even the timing of your consumption of Macronutrients can weigh heavily on the outcome of your progress towards fat loss?
In an article published in International Journal of Obesity late eaters lost less weight than early eaters and showed significantly less signs of energy.
As you can see the early eaters were able to manage weight much more effectively than the late eaters.
See I didn’t know this. I was habitually a late night snacker.
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WHY IS PROTEIN IMPORTANT?
Protein is put simply, a composite of amino acids. When we consume proteins our body breaks them down to into two parts; essential and non-essential. There are 9 essential amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine).
Animal products contain all nine essential amino acids, where as plant products are incomplete. Bare this in mind if you prefer a vegan lifestyle and need to supplement some of these essentials.
Protein can be found in meats, poultry, cheese, milk, nuts, fish, and in less abundance, starchy foods and vegetables.
Protein is important for:
- Building and repairing tissue
- Supports a strong immune system
- Can be metabolized for energy when carbohydrates are not available
Too often in the fitness community Carbohydrates are vilified. Certainly there is enough evidence to show that low carb diets are essential to our health, but let’s not forget that carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy.
There are three types of carbohydrates; Sugar, starch, and fiber. These can most commonly be found in vegetables, fruits, milk, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes.
Carbohydrates are important for:
- Outstanding source of energy
- Some are rich in fiber which in turn help remove waste and toxins.
- Rich in vitamins and minerals (those micronutrients we mentioned)
- Promote good health with Phytonutrients
NOTE: Diets higher in fiber often follow individuals with lower heart disease risk, obesity, and HDL cholesterol.
If you are like me then someone, somewhere told you that if you had excess fat it was because you ate fat and you need to adapt this “no-fat” fad going around. DO NOT DO THIS. Whatever you do. You need fat in your diet.
The reason for needing fat? Fat-soluble vitamins. Yeah, I was scratching my head when I heard that the first time too. We just read about all those wonderful vitamins we get from carbohydrates. We also need to chase them down with some fat to help absorb them into our body. Most will like the sound of this. The most superior nutrient absorbing fat…. Coconut oil.
Don’t get crazy with the fat, though. A little goes a long way. Later we will discuss the differences in dietary fat. Like did you know brown fat burns white fat? Cool huh?
Fat is important for:
- Promoting fat burn (yes you read that correct)
- Building muscle
- Absorbing vitamins and antioxidants
- Prevent loss of nutrients when cooking
In later articles I plan to discuss Micronutrients, dietary fat, body fat, and more ways to burn the fat and feed the muscle, the ways I applied to my 100lb weight loss and you can too. Feel free to comment with any questions you might have.
About the Author
Tom Topham holds a 1st class honours degree in Sports Science (Human Performance) from Brunel University, England. He also comes from a triathlon background, competing as an age-grouper and holds a level 2 triathlon coaching qualification.
About the Author
Bochakorn began her education in conventional medicine as a nurse, then shifted to embrace natural healing and integrative medicines. Her training and certifications abroad include: Nutrition and Western Herbal Medicines, Acupuncture and Moxibustion.
During her therapeutic sessions, she may also incorporate other aspects of integrative medicines when required, including: acupuncture, cupping therapy, moxibustion, nutritional, supplements and herbal recommendation.