How to Play Around with Macronutrients to Achieve Your Fitness Goals
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How to Play Around with Macronutrients to Achieve Your Fitness Goals

How to Play Around with Macronutrients to Achieve Your Fitness Goals

We’ve probably all been there at some point in our lives where our bodies are simply not responding to diet and exercise the way it used to.

First off, it’s important to be realistic.

If you’re a physically active individual in your 40s or 50s, your body’s certainly not going to respond to the effects of food and exercise the way it did in your teens, 20s or, say, early to mid-thirties.

Age brings hormonal changes and behavioural changes, and that will at some point – whether you like it or not – affect your ability to look and feel a certain way.

Age is still a number though

With that said, age is merely a number ticking on a counter and there is actually a great deal you can do to stay in peak physical condition.

One of the key things to focus on when it comes to staying fit and making physical progress at any age, is the way you manipulate your daily macronutrient intake.

Let’s talk about that.

Our basic macronutrients include fiber, water, protein, fat and carbohydrate.

We not only require these for daily sustenance but also to optimally perform physical and mental tasks.

Let’s narrow it down to protein, fat and carbohydrate macronutrients values for now.

How are you starting off you day?

For example, is your breakfast high in protein and fats and low in carbohydrates?

Or, are you consuming a high-carb, low protein meal first thing in the morning?

What are the macronutrient ratios in your last meal of the day?

These are important questions to ask, because how you change up these values throughout the day can dramatically affect how your body responds to the effects of food, physical activity and how well you’re able to recover from exercise.

How to achieve the most ideal macronutrient values

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all because there are just too many parameters at play.

Some of the key ones are physical activity level throughout the day, stress response, number of hours slept each night, current body weight, insulin response, family health history, etc.

There are, fortunately, baseline values that you can use for reference.

For instance, if you’re body doesn’t respond well to high-sugar/carbohydrate meals, then you probably should not be having a breakfast that’s high in simple carbohydrates and processed sugars.

What you want instead is a high protein breakfast with lots of fibre, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates (the kind that release energy steadily in the bloodstream).

But this doesn’t apply across the board for every meal.

If you’re trying to cut weight and put on a bit of muscle, then you’d ideally want to consume meals which are high in protein and have almost no carbs at all.

Similarly, post-workout, when your insulin response is at its best, you would ideally consume a meal high in carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats.

In closing, play around with macronutrient values to see how your body responds, “zig-zag” your calories throughout the week and stay away from foods in the evening, especially around bedtime, that would spike your insulin.

Every meal should have protein, healthy fats and fibre in some form – and you’re golden.

With that said, carbohydrates are your friend, but timing is everything.

Time to experiment with those macronutrient ratios.

Stephen Coleclough
Stephen Coleclough

Stephen Coleclough is a personal trainer and online fitness/nutrition coach from the UK. He loves heavy squats, smashing PRs and bacon sandwiches. You can follow him on Twitter at ColecloughPT.

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