Understanding the basics of macros while going through nutrition coaching is important. Even if you aren’t going through nutrition coaching or just interested in the process. Understanding how your body reacts to macros will help give an understanding to why coaches make certain decisions.
Order of Importance in Body Composition
- Total caloric balance: create a deficit to lose weight or a surplus to gain weight.
- Macronutrient balance: protein carbs and fat make up your total calorie intake for the day, but where you get your calories matter ( that’s what this article is introducing )
- Timing: because each macronutrient has a specific affect on the body timing when you eat each one can significantly enhance progress
- Quality: while important for health its affect on body composition is negligible
- Supplements: Unless paired with the other components, supplements will have little affect.
Basics of Macros
Each macro plays a specific role in the body, with specific hormonal responses and specific effects on digestion. Learning how to manipulate these can go a long way to improving your diet adherence and success.
Protein = lean mass support and hunger suppression
Fat = Calories & hunger suppression
Carbs = Energy and performance
What Gets Reduced
As you progress through the phases of the template you will notice that the first and primary cuts come from fat. This is because calories are the most important variable when it comes fat loss.
First we can reduce calories by a significant amount by slightly reducing fat intake through the day. Fat is an essential macro for survival so there is a limit for how little fat we will consume, but in general if you are getting most of your protein from the animal sources listed on your template and some healthy fats during the day you will not be in danger of passing below this point
Second, while carbs are reduced each phase the bigger cuts come later on. This is so that we can continue to support energy levels for workouts. We wants to continue to provide adequate stimulus for change. Carbs are eventually reduced to very low numbers, and we can perform OK on very low carb intake. This is not ideal for performance so we typically delay it as long as possible
Lastly we will begin to cut calories in protein. This is due mostly to its ability to suppress hunger. We actually need very little protein to support lean mass (only around 0.8g per pound of lean body weight ). However, hunger is a biological signal ingrained deeply in our genetics that is hard to fight. So minimizing hunger throughout a diet is generally a good idea.
Why does this matter?
I think it is important to know what to expect from the changes in your template. When fat is reduced past a certain threshold, you can expect hunger to increase and a slight decrease in energy throughout the day. When carbs are decreased past a certain threshold you can expect performance in hard workouts to get worse. When protein is reduced you can expect even more increase in hunger. When any of these are reduced it reduces total calories and if the caloric deficit is enough it will cause weight loss.
The goal of the challenge is to preserve performance improvements while losing fat. We balance all these things to achieve a specific result. That is fat loss and performance improvement. Every person is different and will respond slightly different, but the general pattern holds true.
If you want to see your results you have to stay consistent to the templates and knowing what to expect from the changes should help prepare you when it is time to switch phases.
By Mike White