What are macronutrients?

When you exercise, hormonal processes take place in your body. It’s important to know at what times your body needs testosterone, a growth hormone or insulin. Nutrition contributes to the activation of hormonal processes and therefore it is necessary – when you exercise intensively – to know when to eat what.

The body needs macronutrients to make sure the training is effective. Macro means big; therefore macronutrients are the nutrients your body needs to a large extent. Macronutrients are classified into three major groups:

  1. Carbohydrates
  2. Fats
  3. Proteins

Research shows that protein is the most saturated, followed by carbohydrate, and then by fat. This means that when you follow a high protein diet, you are less hungry and have less of an appetite. Women who work out were tested in a study on different types of diets that focused on one of the three macronutrients. It appears that with the protein diet, satiation is higher throughout the day, while hunger and appetite are lesser (Westerterp-Plantenga, 2005). If you want to grow a muscular body, it’s very important that you know how much your body needs macronutrients. It is also necessary to know how many macronutrients you need to ingest and when you it’s best to eat which type. Micronutrients are nutrients of which less than one gram per day is absorbed through food, such as minerals, vitamins and trace elements.

In order to find a good balance between exercising and macronutrients, it is first of all important to look at the type of energy balance. With a positive energy balance you have more energy than you actually consume and so you gain weight to some degree. Combining this positive balance with a proper diet and a power plan will allow you to grow muscle instead of weight. A neutral energy balance means that you consume as much energy as you use and in this case you stay the same weight. With a negative energy balance you lose weight because you consume more energy than you have (an energy shortage). Combining this type of balance with the proper nutrition of macronutrients and following a solid training schedule will over time burn more fat and grow more muscle mass.

Training muscles
Depending on what your goals is, the amount of macronutrients is looked into. For example, if you want to increase muscle mass, it’s important that you have a positive balance so that there is additional energy for muscle building. You need to make sure that you get 200-500 calories a day more than your daily calorie requirement. Cutting is burning fat, but it’s always important to keep as much muscle as possible. Therefore, you must be in a negative balance. You make sure that you receive 200-500 fewer calories per day than the usual daily amount. It is important to measure your fat percentage and body weight during your training every few weeks. Depending on this, you can adjust your diet to what best fits your situation.

Watch the amount
Although most people pay particular attention to calories when they want to lose weight, it is necessary to pay attention to the relationship between the three types of macronutrients. During dry training, you train to make your muscles look better by mainly burning body fat. The primary goal here is to improve muscle definition and therefore you need to get enough protein. The body of an adult human contains about 10 kilograms of protein. Body proteins are continuously broken down and re-created. The rate of this protein conversion is on average 3,5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. The protein intake is at the level of 0,8 to 2,2 g per kg of body weight per day, so lower than the conversion. That’s why we need protein every day, according to French nutritionist Prof. Daniel Tomé (AgroParis Tech). In addition, the more protein you get, the better your muscle mass grows and the less of it is lost in weight loss. In the pre-game phase, it is advisable to ingest many carbohydrates (more than half of the macronutrients you need) to give your body enough energy to grow. Only 20% of the intake of macronutrients consists of fats: you need the least of this to get muscles.

Advice by body type
And yet it is always the case that the ideal balance between the three macronutrients per person is different. This depends not only on the intensity of your training schedule and your exact goals, but also in a large part on the body type you have. According to the body typing of Kretschmer, three different body types can be distinguished:

  1. Endomorphic body type: aptitude for gaining weight, solid body build.
  2. Ectomorphic body type: naturally slim, little aptitude to gain weight.
  3. Mesomorphic body type: athletic build, muscular in arms, shoulders, legs and chest.

These are the advices regarding macronutrients by body type:

For people with an endomorphic body type, it is advised to take in fewer carbohydrates than other types. People with this type of body have the ability to gain weight and have a broad body build. The person with this type of body has the ability to carry a lot of body fat. Therefore, for the person with this type of body, it’s best to ingest 25% carbohydrates, 35% protein and 40% fat in an ideal situation.

People with an ectomorphic body are naturally slim and have the aptitude to become lean. The bones and joints are narrow and the limbs are often longer. Generally, this person has little body fat and the metabolism is high. To breed muscles it is necessary to eat varied and it is advisable to follow a protein-rich diet. Consider an ideal ratio of 55% carbohydrates, 25% protein and 20% fat.

People with a mesomorphic body type have an athletic build and are often muscular in the arms, shoulders, legs and chest. This person has little body fat, which makes the muscles visible extra quickly. You can increase the intensity of your training sessions faster, as your body will generally respond in a good way. Ideal is to get 40% carbohydrates daily and 30% protein and 30% fat. These individuals have the ideal construction to do effective strength training.

Still, it’s always a consideration: what works for one is perhaps less important for your personal situation. It is therefore always advisable to seek advice from a dietician or personal trainer.

Share this with your friends!