Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Macro nutrients and Increasing calories

Why macro nutrients?
When I started my personal training sessions it was the first time I ever heard of macro nutrients, like most of us I had an idea about carbohydrates, protein and fat but I never really focused too much on it. My main focus was always calorie count and avoiding junk food and it worked for a long time but I was very keen on learning more about food and how I could use it to maximize my workouts and day in general.
When Michelle mentioned that I should focus on macro nutrients I thought that would be a good starting point for me to learn more about the food I eat :)

Why more calories?
I started with increasing my calorie count – we went from 1200 to 1500 in a span of 5 weeks, my fear of putting on weight made it very difficult for me to increase my calorie intake, I was really worried increasing my calories would make me put on weight/inches or go back to my old habits but I also wanted to do more in the gym, I wanted to lift more weights, I wanted to run longer...so I decided to trust Michelle.
She would always tell me I would be surprised at the amount of calories she eats and what matters is what calories she eats, so if she was my fitness bench mark I had to improve my eating. Even before I started my training with Michelle I started concentrating on my protein – carbs – fat ratio because I was looking at improving my strength training and energy Michelle suggested increasing my calories and sticking to a ratio of 40% -30%-30%
Please remember increasing calories does not mean adding unhealthy options to your food

I use MyFitnessPal to log my food, it has an option that allows you to check your ratios, The day I checked mine for the first time I had more than 60% carbs and the rest was split into protein and fat (note : this was when I was not eating junk and eating considerably healthy). I played around with my food till I changed this ratio a bit, I was not sure what I had to cut out so I could reduce my carbs, I did not eat pastas or bread...that’s when Michelle created a day’s meal plan for me. It was more about increasing my protein than reducing my carbs, because of a lot of carbs % was through vegetables.
Michelle's food plan for me (I also started including protein)
Is it too much hardwork?
5 weeks in, I knew how to manage my food while sticking to my calorie count and maintaining my macro nutrients ratio. Initially I struggled but my struggle was a lot to do with increasing calories, sticking to the ratio was not so much of a problem, it was more about switching my meals to include more proteins (eggs/chicken..) and good fats (Avacado/nuts..)
The macro nutrients part was not too much hard work because it takes very little time for you to know how much of what you need to eat to stick to your macro nutrient ratio 

The first time I increased my protein and calorie intake I added lots and lots of chicken to my lunch, mentally it was difficult to eat but slowly I finished the amount Michelle had suggested...

That day I had worked out for about 90 minutes in the morning, after lunch we went walking (8-10km) I got back home and I was not dead tired, I could still keep my eyes open, I actually messaged Michelle telling her what a good surprise that was. All I did was add more protein while sticking to my increased calorie count.
One more thing I noticed was body recovery, before this usually after my body pump class I would be in pain for at least two days, I would go for my other work outs but my muscles would hurt, so I’m sure every week for two days after my body pump class my other works would be less intense. But now I recover faster, even though I increased my weights my muscles don’t hurt for that long this helps my other work outs

Back to Basics
          Food can be carbohydrates, protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins. All of these can be added to your daily meals through healthy options and unhealthy options.
Protein:  our body needs protein for growth and muscle repair
Carbohydrates: these are very good to give you energy (if you eat the right carbs you will see notice that you have energy for long, but if you eat the processed or bad carbs you will notice a spike and drop in energy)
Fat:  these protect your organs and also help in mineral/vitamin absorptions (the word fat is scary and most of us will want this to be negligible in our daily intake, ladies from personal experience I can tell you if you reduce it too much you will surely see hormonal effects...not good. )
     Our body needs everything in proportion, depending on how much work your body does and what you are working towards achieving you can change what  you eat and how much you eat  but always remember Good choices.
My Suggestion:
If you are used to eating healthy, if counting calories or points has become a part of your life something that you don’t need to struggle with, then tracking your macro nutrients is a great option to move forward. 
Please make sure you are eating the correct amount of calories, I thought I was but my body spoke a different language, I was not hungry but tired.
Start simple then move on to the next step!!
(P.S - next post will be on good/bad carbs and fats)

Expert opinion – Over to Michelle 
When people are aiming for fat loss many believe it is simply a case of eating less food; results will indeed be seen using this strategy however it’s not necessarily sustainable long term and very often the weight lost using this method is regained with even a little extra on top.  When putting some thought into which foods you are eating and considering the marco nutrient ratio you are able to fuel your body with what it needs to function and still achieve your fitness goals.  Eat a healthy, clean and balanced diet which includes all food groups (where possible if you’re not vegetarian or allergic), and consider your portion sizes and you will be able to achieve any of your goals – fat loss, muscle growth, maintenance or a combination of the three. 
Tanvee’s goal was to lose body fat, gain strength and energy. During our first consultation it was clear to me that Tanvee was one, not fuelling her body enough for the amount of activity she does and two, not consuming enough protein to aid muscle repair/growth. 
My first challenge with Tanvee was to increase her overall calorie intake.  Using Tanvees age, weight, height and activity level I calculated that she should be consuming 2140cals per day to maintain her current weight, this was close to double what was being consumed at the time.  It would have been almost impossible for Tanvee to immediately increase her intake to this amount so I requested she increase by 200 each fortnight; which she found extremely difficult but has been gradually building on.
There is no one size fits all ratio when deciding how to portion you macro nutrients; it’s a case of trial and error with each individual and is dependent on each person’s goal (weight loss/muscle growth/maintenance) and body type (each body types tolerate food groups differently).  For Tanvee I decided to start on a ratio of 40/30/30 (Protien/Carbs/Fat) with the goal of fat loss in mind.  My main goal was to increase her protein intake to increase her overall calorie count and for muscle growth – Tanvee had been training for quite some time and could not figure out why she wasn’t getting any stronger, in short she was not fuelling herself with enough protein for repair and growth. 
As Tanvee progresses through her training this ratio is due to change….but first we need to hit our calorie goal! 
Please note I’m not a qualified nutritionist and the above is learnt through extensive reading then experience with my own body and my clients.
Keep Reading I will Keep Writing 


  1. Very interesting post, Tanvee. It was wonderful that you got your trainer to contribute information too. :D

    1. thank you Marion, I have a few more posts with Michelle :)

  2. I like the way you have continued to make progress with improving your diet!!

    1. I am constantly looking for ways to improve..I doubt I can ever sit still without amking progress...

  3. Nice article!! Really Informative for Beginners like Me !! Helps us not to make mistakes...:)

  4. This is a terrific post! Lots of really good information -- so happy to read how it's been working positively for you :)

  5. I love the new blog style with your lovely picture on top. <3

    :-) Marion

    1. thank you Marion, I was hoping it looks less dull with my big smiling face on top :)

    2. Really i am impressed from this post....the person who created this post is a generous and knows how to keep the readers connected..Thanks for sharing this with us found it informative and interesting. Looking forward for more updates..yoga courses india

  6. Really i am impressed from this post....the person who created this post is a generous and knows how to keep the readers connected..Thanks for sharing this with us found it informative and interesting. Looking forward for more updates..yoga courses india

  7. Good work going on tanvee. Looking forward for more posts from you. Along with dieting chat, Food supplements works well and they are necessary too.