Nutrition Basics: A guide to Macronutrients
It is easy to get lost among the swamp of nutritional advice and diet plans but at the heart of nutrition for muscle gains is the right balance of the simple macronutrients.
By macronutrients we mean protein, carbohydrates and fats. As we all know, when it comes to building strength and muscle mass it’s not just about what you’re lifting at the gym, it’s primarily about what you’re putting into your body to fuel your sessions – this includes how you’re feeding your body’s needs around training.
But even those who realise the importance of nutrition end up overcomplicating something that is essentially quite simple.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. To gain and maintain muscle mass and strength, protein is the key macronutrient. To make sure you’re getting enough you can’t simply rely on your Hybrid All-in-One alone – be sure to incorporate good sources of protein like beef, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy products.
Try to consume at least 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day.
If you’re trying to get lean then typically people drop carbs from their diet. Your body, however, needs carbohydrates to make glucose, which is essentially your training fuel. This means that by cutting carbs you are potentially going into your workouts under-fuelled. Your body can use glucose immediately or store it in your liver and muscles for when it is needed, so it’s a good idea to consume a regular source of carbohydrates. Examples of good carbs include whole grains, sweet potatoes and whole wheat pasta.
Aim for 2g of quality carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight per day.
The macronutrient more misunderstood than carbs is fat. They are mistakenly called unhealthy because fats are calorie dense (9kcals/g). But because of this they are a great source of energy for the body. Omega-3 fats help to maintain a healthy heart and have the potential to aid joint recovery. Sources of healthy fats include salmon, tuna, sardines and anchovies. Monounsaturated fats, found in nuts, olive oil and avocadoes, are also great for active lifestyles and offer similar physique promoting benefits.
Try to consume 0.4g of healthy fat per pound of bodyweight per day.
Similarly, supplementation can become overly complicated. If you’re looking for a simple route into supplementing your diet to enhance your workout the basics we would recommend are:
- a High Protein shake like our Pro-90 Hardcore formula for supplementing your diet anytime with high quality protein;
- Hybrid All-in-One for immediately post-workout for glycogen replenishment;
- BCAAs for energy and endurance;
- ZMA for promoting muscle recovery during sleep.
The gym is important, but it is what you put into your body before and after workouts that will determine how much difference these workouts make.