Macros 101 Part 4

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Macros 101:  Part four – creating some flexibility

 

This will be the conclusion of the short series on macronutrients.  Part one primarily dealt with defining terms (protein, fats, carbohydrates, etc.), part two gave some insight into what I do as a coach (and what you can do on your own) when designing a nutrition plan, and part three offered some basic principles on how to substitute foods in your meal plan.  These can be accessed through the following links:

 

Part one:  https://www.rexiusnutrition.com/blogs/rexius-nutrition-supplement-shorts/marcos-101-part-1

Part two:  https://www.rexiusnutrition.com/blogs/rexius-nutrition-supplement-shorts/macros-101-part-2

Part three:  https://www.rexiusnutrition.com/blogs/rexius-nutrition-supplement-shorts/macros-101-part-3

 

This week, I want to share a sample meal plan, offer some alternative foods, and explain the rationale behind those substitutes.  Here’s the sample plan:

 

Meal

Time

Food/Amount

Protein

Carbs

Fat

Calories

1

7:00am

.5 Tbsp. coconut oil

0

0

7

60

 

 

2 whole eggs

12

0

10

138

 

 

8 oz. liquid egg whites

26

2

0

112

 

 

1/2 cup oatmeal

5

27

2.5

150.5

 

 

1 cup spinach

1

1

0

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

10:00am

7oz. 96/4 ground beef

42

0

8

240

 

 

4oz sweet potato

3

24

0

108

 

 

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

0

0

14

126

 

 

1 cup broccoli

3.2

6

0.3

39.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

12:30pm

6oz. Chicken breast

53

0

6

266

 

(pre-wkt)

1 cup white rice

4

53

0

228

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1:30pm

2 scoops Aminocore

0

0

0

5

 

(intra-wkt)

2 scoops Carbion

0

50

0

200

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

4:00pm

7 oz tilapia

49

0

3.5

227.5

 

(post-wkt)

1.25 cup white rice

5

66

0

284

 

 

1 cup spinach

1

1

0

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

7:00pm

1 can tuna

32.5

0

1

139

 

 

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

0

0

14

126

 

 

1 medium banana

1

27

0

112

 

 

8 spears asparagus

3.2

6.4

0

38.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

9:30pm

456g nonfat Greek yogurt

45

18

0

252

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

T0TAL

285.9

281.4

59.3

2802.9

 

 

percentages

40.8

40.158

19.0409

  

 

 

This plan was written for a 24-year-old athletic male who, at the time, weighed 190lbs.  His goal was to gain muscle without gaining much bodyfat.  He happens to be very lean naturally, so as his coach I wasn’t overly concerned about him gaining a little bodyfat while I took some time to determine his metabolic needs.  In truth, this turned out to be not nearly enough food for him to gain weight (he has a very fast metabolism); therefore, as we worked together I continually increased his food intake, mostly from carbohydrates, since he seemed to respond well to that approach. 

 

Notice a few things about this plan.  I started off following two basic principles that are fairly common for someone with his goals.  In determining daily protein intake, I multiplied his bodyweight in pounds by 1.5 (190 x 1.5 = 285).  In determining other macronutrient intake, I followed the standard ratio of 40/40/20, or 40% of calories from protein, 40% from carbs, 20% from fats.  Remember that this was just an INITIAL plan, so those ratios diverged from that standard as foods were added.  I also resolved to keep his carbohydrate intake fairly even throughout the day, with a slight increase surrounding his workouts.  This was something else that changed as time passed, but that’s a topic for another day!

 

In addition, notice that I have him eating at regular intervals throughout the day, or every 2½ to 3 hours.  His schedule allowed him to work out in the early afternoon, but if he were to train at a different time, the pre-, intra-, and post-workout meals would have to be moved to a different time of the day. 

 

Now for the point of this week’s article.  Many people don’t relish the idea of eating the exact same 6 meals day after day.  Personally, I find that makes things easier, but I realize that I’m not most people. 

 

First, consider the macros in the main sources of protein (eggs, egg whites, ground beef, chicken breast, and tilapia).  I have kept the serving size within certain limits in order to yield about 40-50g of protein with each meal.  Notice that chicken breast has more protein per ounce than the other meats, while tilapia has less fat, and so on. 

 

Any of these protein sources COULD be exchanged for each other, if necessary, but there are some occasional tweaks that might also be necessary in order to fulfill the macronutrient goals for the day.  For example, if tilapia were used instead of ground beef with meal two, some extra fats might have to be added to that meal, either in the form of additional coconut oil, or some other source of fat like almonds or avocado (in this particular example, 1oz. of avocado would be great, as that would add 4g of fat, without adding much in the way protein or carbs).

 

Or consider this scenario.  Let’s say your grocery store is offering a special on fresh salmon, and that just strikes your fancy on this particular day (and salmon seems more appetizing than canned tuna just about any day, in my opinion…..).  And as many of you know, salmon is higher in healthy fats than most fish.  Meal 5, would be a perfect place to substitute about 6oz. of salmon.  No, it wouldn’t EXACTLY match the macronutrients of the tuna and olive oil (as a very poor graduate student, I at a lot of this particular meal, by the way), but it comes very close.

 

Next, take note of the macros for the carbohydrate sources.  Notice that, in terms of macros, 4oz. of sweet potato is about equivalent to ½ cup of oatmeal, which is about equivalent to ½ cup of white rice.  These are in effect SOMEWHAT interchangeable, but it’s not as simple as it may seem based on the chart.  This is where just going by macros can be misleading.  Carbohydrate sources can also be compared by the Glycemic Index.  Simply put, your body breaks down certain carbs to simple sugars faster than others.  White rice, which is broken down fairly quickly, has a high glycemic index, with oatmeal and sweet potato being slower to digest, having a lower glycemic index.  As the need for easily accessible energy is greater around the time one trains, the white rice is located before and after the workout.  So while the carb source COULD be swapped out for each other, that would not be ideal. 

 

As far as fats go, coconut oil and olive oil are basically interchangeable.  Both are good for you in different ways, so I would use both.  But in a pinch, you can sub these out for one another.

 

One brief word about intra-workout nutrition.  I’ve featured two products made my Allmax in this plan that I highly recommend to take during a workout.  Taking in some simple carbs from Carbion during your workout can help sustain your energy levels, especially when going through a long or particularly grueling workout.  The BCAAs in Aminocore help with protein synthesis in order to prime your body for recovery after your workout.  I’m a big proponent of this combination of products.

 

One final word about this particular plan.  Why Greek yogurt?  One, it’s a great source of casein protein, a slower digesting protein that is ideal for bedtime.  Two, the live cultures (or “good bacteria”) in quality Greek yogurt are beneficial for digestive health.  Cottage cheese would be a possible substitute, or whey protein with some added fats (I’ve used both natural peanut butter and olive oil) to slow the digestion, although neither of these would be as beneficial as the Greek yogurt for digestive health.

 

Obviously, there are innumerable possibilities for creating variety in one’s meal plan, and this can be both liberating and confusing.  There is always more to learn about various foods and their effects on the body, which is fun for me (but then again, I am a total nerd).  As a coach, I also have to remember that everyone responds differently, which makes my job a perpetual exercise in creative problem solving, and I love it.

 

Thanks for sticking through this series with me.

 

Jeff McCray

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