Does liberally salting your food help you pump more iron in the gym? Registered Dietitian, Debbie James, investigates the claims!
Hi my name is Alex, I am a 22–year–old male, about 5’5” in height, and I weigh about 123 pounds. I recently have changed my diet from regular eating to plant–based food which seems to give me more energy and better sleep. I was curious about how many macronutrients I should be getting and how many calories I should eat. I work out about 5-6 times a week, do cardio first for about 20-30 minutes, and then do about 45-60 minutes of intense cardio and weightlifting.
Using a predictive energy calculation* it seems your total energy expenditure (TEE) falls in the range of 2600-2800 calories per day based on resting energy need + physical activity where the PA factor is 1.27 for active men. To determine macronutrient amounts, you could allocate 50-60% of energy to carbohydrates, 15-20% to protein and the remaining 20-35% to fat given your exercise level and reliance on plant foods. From 2700 calories and the midpoint of each macro range, this would calculate to about 370 gm Carb., 122 gm Prot., and 81 gm Fat daily.
Your macronutrient needs and goals shouldn’t really change much based on the source of your food. However, switching to eating all plants (strictly vegan) may mean getting fewer micronutrients if not done properly. So amping up your consumption of iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium may necessitate an adjustment in diet to increase plant sources of those minerals. Please see the Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intake tables of vitamins and minerals for your micronutrient intake targets.
*TEE for men = 864 − 9.72 × age (years) + PA × [(14.2 x weight (kg) + 503 × height (meters)]
Gerrior S, Juan W, Basiotis P. An easy approach to calculating estimated energy requirements. Prev Chronic Dis [serial online] 2006 Oct [date cited]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2006/
oct/06_0034.htm. Accessed 1.24.2020
– Debbie J., MS, RD
This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.
Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.