We are what we eat and it is important to get the right types of food to fuel our bodies properly. The nutrition that our body needs to function properly is basically divided into two categories and these are macronutrients and micronutrients.
So, we need to know what are the main macronutrients and whether we are getting the rights amounts of each of them daily, along with each of the micronutrients. This is not only essential for any fitness goals we may have, but getting too little or too much of them can also lead to some serious health problems.
We know that is important to control the amount of calories we eat everyday and that a well balanced nutritional diet is the key for a healthy lifestyle. But also you cannot reach your fitness goals without making the right nutrition choices and firstly it is important to know the amount of calories you are consuming.
Have You Ever Wondered Exactly What A Calorie Is?
As you can see the amount of calories you get each day is vital and if you don’t know how many you should be eating here is a Calorie Counter that you can use. So the amount of calories is important. but it is the percentage of each of the macronutrients within them that really counts.
What Are Macronutrients?
The three main macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates and fats and they are all essential for providing your body with energy in the form of calories so that it can function efficiently.
The main functions of protein are to help make the essential enzymes and hormones that the body needs along with helping to strengthen the immune system and the repairing of tissue structures. Protein also works alongside the carbohydrates you consume to provide the body with energy.
The recommended daily amount of protein for a sedentary female is 0.8 grams per kilogram weighed per day, that’s 0.36 grams per pound. To calculate the amount you need you would just multiply your weight by either 0.8 or 0.36 depending on whether you weigh yourself in pounds or kilograms.
However, this is only the recommended allowance if you don’t actually do any exercise, if you are doing any form of fitness and especially strength training you will need more, probably at least double.
Carbohydrates are not your enemy as long as you eat the right sort and that means staying away from the white bread, pasta and cakes and chose healthy complex carbohydrates instead. That means eating lots of veggies and choosing whole wheat breads and pasta.
They provide the body with much needed energy for our workouts and throughout the day. They play an important role in the building of the nervous system, as well as strengthening your bones and cartilage and helping in the processing of fat.
The dietary recommendation for the amount of carbohydrates you need is between 45 to 65% of your calorie intake, now obviously the amount you do have will depend on your activity level and individual goals.
Fats also plays an important role in your diet and overall health and the body absorbs them from the foods you eat. They are used to produce energy and help with the proper functioning of the brain as well as having a number of other uses for our optimal well being.
It is vital that you eat the foods that contain the healthy fats though and that includes those that contain omega 6 polyunsaturated fats and especially foods that contain omega-3 fats such as different oily fish, walnuts and chia seeds.
The recommended daily amount of fat in our diets is generally between 25-30% of our total calories, but exactly how much fat you need depends greatly both on the number of calories you are consuming and the specific type of diet you are following.
So Exactly How Much Of Each Macronutrient Do You Need?
As you can see the recommended daily requirements for each of the macronutrients are quite vague and can actually confuse us even more. It is important when you are working out how much protein, carbohydrates and fat you personally need each day that you take into account several different factors.
And to get more accurate amounts you need to include specifics like your gender and age as well as your height and current weight. Then you would add your normal activity level and your ultimate fitness goal.
Therefore it is a lot easier if you use one of the many free calculators that are available online, though even the results from these may need a little tweaking. One of my personal favourites is The Macro Calculator by MACROS INC. They also have an awesome Facebook group where you have your calculated macros checked by one of their trainers to make sure that they are right for your needs.
Water is also a macronutrient that is essential for our body although it does not provide energy like the other three, yet it is necessary so that the body can absorb the other macronutrients. It also contains some micronutrients such as calcium and sodium.
Getting enough water is vital for our body’s metabolism to function properly as it helps distribute nutrients throughout our body and eliminates all the toxins. It also plays an important role in regulating our body temperature and preventing dehydration.
We should be getting at least eight glasses of 8 fluid ounces each day and a considerable amount more if you live in a hot climate or exercise regularly in order to stay properly hydrated.
We have looked at the Macronutrients, now lets just see what are the Micronutrients and the role that they play too.
Micronutrients are basically all the vitamins and minerals that your body needs in order to be able to function properly and process the calories to provide the energy and these are:
The Water-Soluble Vitamins
– Vitamin B1
– Vitamin B2
– Vitamin B6
– Vitamin B12
– Vitamin C
– Folic acid
The Fat-Soluble Vitamins
– Vitamin A
– Vitamin D
– Vitamin E
– Vitamin K
These are only needed in minuscule amounts hence the name micronutrients but they are still essential for our overall health. They don’t provide the body with energy like macronutrients but do play an important role in helping to support our metabolism and helping to enable the body to release energy from food.
Certain micronutrients have also been shown to be a major influencing factor on our mental energy. “Mental energy can be defined as the perception of mental alertness, high mood levels and motivation and the metabolic processes that support the brain.” Source: Nutri-Facts.org
One of the easiest ways to get enough of your micronutrients is to just eat a healthy balance diet and eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Have a read of my post best supplements for women – which ones do we really need to see all the different foods that contain them.
Calculate and Track Your Nutrition
So as you can see our body needs certain nutrients in order to function efficiently and for us to reach our personal fitness goals. The amounts can vary greatly from one individual to another and therefore it is a lot easier to use one of the many nutritional calculators that are available. It also well worth using an app to track your food consumption as well, I know I couldn’t imagine life without one.
I hope you found this nutritional information useful and now know how many calories as well as how much protein, fat and carbohydrates you personally need. If you have any comments or questions then please don’t hesitate to leave a message below.