Any kind of nutrition plan you follow, or any article you read on dieting, you will certainly come across the word “macronutrients.” While some people have an idea about nutrition and usually understand what it means, others just wonder what a macro is and where they “can get one” when they read or hear about it.

In bodybuilding, diet is very crucial. The macronutrients you consume play a role in your body structure. Getting your calorie intake is important because excessive calorie intake will make you put on fat, while ingesting too few will lead to muscle loss. Macronutrients are actually carbohydrates, protein and fat. Although all these are needed for bodybuilding, they should be planned carefully if you are to obtain optimum results from them. Each macronutrient’s body requirement is dictated by one’s gender, weight, fitness objectives, and fitness levels.

basic micronutrients chart

While you might be conversant with micronutrients, figuring out your macros can be challenging. This can be worse for those starting to learn about diet and how it can affect their workouts and physique. For instance, having to measure 30 grams of protein for every meal can be such a pain that many individuals will just give up and revert to stuffing their plates with any food that is on the table.  To lessen some of this confusion and clear up misrepresentation, here are some steps to guide you:

  1. Calculate the number of calories you need to eat by either following the recommended calorie daily intake (2,000-3,000 per day for males and 1800-2400 per day for females), or following a personalised plan. But as a bodybuilder, you may need a tailored plan since you will have more muscle and less fat, as well as work out more than the average person. Using an online calculator to compute your calorie requirements is recommended because it will take into consideration not only your body fat percentage, but also goals and activity levels.
  2. Target to eat not less than 1 gram of protein for each pound of body-weight per day – This is recommended by professional nutritionists when gaining mass, but should be increased to 1.5 grams per pound while you are on a low-calorie diet and cutting fat in order to help avoid muscle loss. Protein is important for muscle growth and repair. Besides, it plays a role in various chemical reactions that take place in the body.
  3. Plan your carbohydrates intake according to your exercise schedule. Carbs are needed to provide energy and increase your recovery rate after training sessions, and that is why it is good to consume additional carbs during your training days. An intake of 2-3 grams of high carbs per pound of body weight during intense training sessions is recommended, while 0.5-1.5 grams per pound on lighter training days and rest days will be enough.
  4. Make adjustments to the amount of fat you consume to match the amount of carbs you eat since the two contain 4 calories per gram. You should add the grams of the two nutrients together and multiply them by 4. You can then determine the number of calories you should eat from fat by subtracting the answer to that from your total recommended calorie consumption. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories; as such, you should divide that by nine to give you the grams of fat that you need to consume. Nutrition experts recommend splitting your fat intake equally between saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

Many bodybuilders are aware they need to have proper nutrition for then to build a great physique. However, they are often not very sure where to start since to many people, nutrition seems both complex and mysterious. The truth is – it is not. A bodybuilding plan resembles a personal financial budget in that both of them are about making difficult decisions – and then following the budget. Blowing the budget will result in a disaster.  So in this case, if you happen to blow your nutritional “budget”, then you are bound to end up fat or weak.

MacroNutrients and Bodybuilding

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