Do you know the difference between carbs, protein, healthy and unhealthy fats? Do you know what is best for you to have before and after a ‘Get Fit Today‘ workout?
Don’t worry – neither do most people! 😀
The aim of this blog is to give you a very brief insight into these things and how you can make some healthy changes to your diet which, when combined with exercise will result the ultimate outcome – weight loss!
To enable you to make healthy choices and slight changes, first you need to understand what Macros are and why they matter! Here we go….
The word ‘Macro’ is short for macro-nutrient, which is term used to describe the three key food groups we all require for our bodies to function: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. This is also the order that your body uses them as energy to do things like exercise. Let’s look at them, one in turn:
This food source gets a bad rap with some people claiming that carbs cause obesity and type 2 diabetes. However, carbs also include fruit and vegetables and are the main source of energy for your body and can’t be overlooked.
You may have heard the terms whole and refined carbs:-
Whole Carbs. These are things like vegetables, fruit, potatoes and grains
Refined Carbs. These are things like sugar sweetened drinks, fruit juices, pastries, white bread, white pasta, white rice etc... (there is a common theme here....avoid white food)
As I’m sure you can guess, whole carbs are much better for you than refined carbs, and it’s refined carbs that can lead to obesity and diabetes rather than all of them. Being the main source of energy for your body means that the best time to eat carbs is before exercising.
Having some carbs about 1-2hrs before your exercise class will give you the energy to keep going and work hard.
Bottom line is that not all carbs are created equally. Carbs are a fantastic source of energy and are an essential part of a healthy diet.
Put simply, protein builds muscle mass (hence protein shakes and protein powder used by regular gym attendees). You can however, very easily consume the recommended amount of protein naturally by eating things such as chicken breast, greek yoghurt, eggs, chocolate milk, quinoa and tuna to name but a few.
The best time to eat protein is after exercising as it’s main role is to help rebuild your muscles. During a workout, you will be using your muscles, and in doing so, microscopic muscle fibres will tear and rebuild. Protein plays an important role in this, so some after-session protein is perfect.
This is another macronutrient that has a bad name, but is something your body needs in order to function. The primary function of fat is as a back-up energy source.
During exercise, the body first uses calories from carbohydrates for energy but after about 20 minutes or so, it will begin to use stored fat instead to allow you to keep exercising for longer. The key here, is to exercise enough so that your body uses the stored fat as energy.
There are however both good and bad sources of fat. Saturated fat and trans-fats are generally considered to be unhealthy whilst UNsaturated fats are considered to be healthy.
Saturated fats come from animal fats and are solid at room temperature (eg. lard, cheese and butter) and are generally found in things like baked goods, which can be linked to high cholesterol levels and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Trans Fats are generally produced by food companies to preserve the lifetime of their products, by adding hydrogen and are normally found in baked goods, margarine, pizzas and other convenience food. There is a strong link between trans fats and heart disease and as such, it is recommended that you do not have any.
Unsaturated fats however, are found in foods from plants, such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. This type of fat is liquid at room temperature and some examples are:
Olive, peanut, and canola oils
Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans
Seeds such as pumpkin and sesame seeds
That's as much detail as we are going to go into today around Macro's but we hope it has given you a taster 😀 for more. A safe distribution of macros is generally considered to be around 45-65% of carbohydrate, 10-35% of protein and 20-35% of fat but this can differ depending on what yo are trying to achieve.
That's it for today, I imagine your mind is already blown with an overload of information. Keep an eye on our website blogs for more information around nutrition and how you can make some small healthy changes to your eating habits which will really boost your exercise regime and result in some fantastic gains.
Until next time....