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Macronutrients: A Simple Guide

When it comes to food and cooking, I like to keep things simple. I don't believe in counting calories or tracking macros. Understanding the role different food groups have on your body can be really helpful when making food choices.

Understanding macronutrients

Nutrients are needed for our bodies to grow and function correctly. We need a whole range of nutrients for a variety of reasons and in different quantities. The ones we need in large amounts are macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats and protein.

Carbohydrates 🥪

Don't fear the carbs! There are a lot of myths around carbs being bad when trying to diet. But they play a key role in helping our bodies stay healthy and happy.

Why do we need them?

  • they provide a great source of energy, especially during intense exercise (think HIIT training fuel!)
  • they contain fibre, which is great news for your gut
  • they help keep your brain healthy
  • they contain antioxidants, minerals and vitamins; all the good stuff!

What are the different types of carbs?

There are simple carbohydrates, or 'white' carbs, which are often demonised unfairly. They are more easily broken down into glucose, causing an increase in your blood glucose levels. This makes simple carbs a great option post workout to shuttle nutrience to your muscles, helping them to repair and rebuild.

We also have the complex carbohydrate. These take longer to break down and provide a more stable source of energy, reducing the blood sugar spike (sugar monster) effect.

What carbs should I eat?

A combination of both simple and complex is great. We love a bit of variety. Great examples are potatoes, pasta, oats, lentils, quinoa and rice. Trying to mix it up with wholegrain options is a great way to add further variety.

Fats 🧈

Fats have a bad rep and often get labelled as the bad guys in your diet. But they are really important in our diet.

Why do we need them?

  • They provide a stable source of energy, making them great to support low-intensity activity
  • They help regulate your hormones
  • They help our bodies to properly absorb a number of vitamins

What types of fats are there?

  • saturated
  • monounsaturated
  • polyunsaturated

All of them are made up of fatty acids, but they all have a different strucutre.

What fats should I eat?

You should be trying to get in 'good fats' daily. Examples include: nuts, seeds, avocados and extra virgin olive oil.

You also want to get in oily fish, flax and chia seeds regularly as these are high in polyunsaturated fats. We can't naturally produce this type of fat in our body, so make sure you get them in your grub.

Protein 🍗

I bang on about protein, but it really is so important.

Why do we need it?

  • it helps us build those gains
  • it facilitates efficient and effective repair and recovery
  • plays a key role in metabolism regulation
  • gives us a greater level of satiety, helping us feel fuller for longer
  • ensures healthy cells, hair and skin

What protein should I eat?

Protein comes in many forms and can be found in meat, fish and plant-based sources, such as chickpeas, beans and pulses.

If you're a client on our amazing 'The Body Coach App' you will find that both general and refuel meals are packed full of protein 🤩

Eating on The Body Coach App

Often people will feel they have to do 'x' number of workouts or burn 'x' number of calories to be able to reward themselves with a refuel meal, but that just isn't the case.

Some people will respond better to meals with a greater proportion of fats, and others will with higher carbs. Each cycle on the app will advise you how to structure and plan your meals, in terms of balancing refuel vs general. But at the end of the day you know your body best.

The importance of balance 🥗🍔🥑

I hope you enjoyed this whistle stop tour of macronutrients, and it gave you a better understanding of how important each macronutrient is. We can often get obsessed around 'good' or 'bad' food but the fact is: balance is the key. Fuel your body, nourish it and listen to it.

When planning a meal just stop and think and ask yourself have you got a balanced meal ? Have you got a source of protein, fats and carbs on your plate? Will this fuel you for your day ahead or help to replenish post workout? Ask yourself these questions to help yourself make good food choices 😊

Happy eating!

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