Nutrition often gets over complicated and with many ‘diets’ being promoted on the world of social media it’s super easy to feel overwhelmed. Calories are the simplest form of tracking the energy we consume through our diet. If we consume more calories than we use, then we gain weight and if we don’t take in enough calories then we lose weight.

 Macros are the next level up from calories and they look at the nutritional make-up of the food. Macros consist of three categories, which are protein, fats and carbohydrates. Tracking your nutritional intake via this method provides you with a more in-depth look into where your calories are coming from as well as the amount of each macronutrient you are consuming. Each macronutrient contains different amounts of calories.

Here is a little table to help you out as well as a break down of different aspects to our food

Fat: 9 kcal per gram

Carbohydrates: 4 kcal per gram

Protein: 4 kcal per gram

FAT
Fat is often overlooked by many of us HOWEVER fat is an essential component of your diet. Vitamins A D E K are all fat-soluble vitamins and they require fat to be ingested in order for these vitamins to be absorbed by the body. Omega 3 and omega 6 are both sourced from fats, which are essential for brain, heart and eye health as well as physical growth and development of the human body. So we recommend munching down those avocados, almonds and fish oil pills.

Carbohydrates

Carbs are essential! Please do not overlook them, especially all you athletes out there. This is the body’s main energy source as it is converted into glycogen for the body to use. Carbohydrates can be broken into two categories, which include complex and simple carbs (low GI, medium GI, High GI). Low GI, complex carbohydrates take longer for the body to break down due to the size of the carbohydrate molecule.  Low GI carbs are great for the body as they provide a slow releasing energy source for the body and are normally high in dietary fiber. Fiber is essential for gut health as it provides our gut bacteria with a source of energy. Sources of low GI foods include wholegrain breads and pastas as well as oats, brans, beans and lentils. These carbs can help you to feel fuller for longer

High GI/simple carbs have a short chain, which means that the body is able to quickly digest them and rapidly enter the blood system and is then utilized as an energy source. These carbs can be useful when you need a source of energy that can be quickly ingested. An example could be a snack just before training session. Having a high GI carb source can help prevent bloating before training and during your session.

Protein

Having enough protein is critical to maintain and grow lean muscle mass.  Most of us know this already but sometimes struggle to work out what we need and where to source protein from especially if you fall under the vegan/vegetarian dietary needs.  James has broken it down nice and simple. The theory backed up by research is that we need approximately 1gram of protein per KG to our bodies. So if you’re 70kg than its simply 70grams of protein throughout your day. Going over this isn’t really necessary and there’s no real evidence that proves that going over this will make any significant changes and you may as well fill up your daily calories with other foods.

We recommend downloading the ‘My fitness pal’ app for help with tracking your calories to reach your desired goals and to stay accountable for your nutrition.

With all of this information, James and I recommend that if you’re about to start our 10-week Huringa (to transform) challenge that you start thinking seriously about the nutrition aspect of your goals and start getting in the habit now with tracking your macros. It doesn’t have to consume you or become a tricky nuisance in your life. We just want each of you to stay accountable for yourselves to ensure you are reaching those goals. With the My Fitness Pal app you’ll be able to eat whatever you want really as long as it stays within those calorie boundaries. Think of it as a fun thing and as a part of your goal setting (refer to last weeks blog hehe) instead of developing an unhealthy relationship with food. It’s easy for all of us to develop bad obsessions with our calorie counting and nutrition and we want to tackle the mentality around that.

Happy eating and tracking team!