Calculating Macros for an Athlete | QA

Calculating Macros for an Athlete | QA

Question:

Hi, I was wondering on how to select the correct macro grams for my diet.
I am a member of team Canada world baton team and train for the sport 4 days a week for about 5 hours. I also attend weekly yoga classes and do cardio workouts 3x a week along with some basic weight training 3x a week. I am 24 years old, 5 foot 6 inches, 160 lbs. and eat between 1,500-1,800 calories.
Thank you

– Lindsay B.

Answer:

You are undereating calories compared to your estimated energy needs* given your age, anthropometrics and stated workout routine making your first priority to meet minimum recommended protein amounts.

Based on your stated level of exercise, protein requirements will fall in the range of 1.2-1.5gm/kg, which calculates to 87-110 grams of protein per day (<26% energy intake). However, because you’re possibly not meeting energy needs with adequate carbohydrate and fat, it’s safe to increase protein to 2.0gm/kg daily.

Carbohydrate should comprise about 50-60% of your energy intake. For your stated caloric consumption, that would calculate to 225 grams carbohydrate daily (1800 x 0.5 ÷ 4cals/gm). Remember, that is a baseline amount given my suspicion that your energy intake is low.

A healthy fat intake may range from 20-35% of energy consumed. If we take the average of your recommended protein plus the carbohydrate total above, that’s 1292 calories (323gms x 4cals/gm) leaving you with 508 calories for fat. Those 56 fat grams should be from healthy unsaturated sources, preferably plant foods like avocado, oils and coconut.

* Energy needs calculated from Harris-Benedict or IOM equations are 2600-2800 calories per day.

Resources:

  • Kerksick, CM and Kulovitz, M. (2013) Requirements of Energy, Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats for Athletes. In Nutrition and Enhanced Sport Performance Chapter 36, (pp. 355-366).

  • Webb D. Athletes and Protein Intake. Today’s Dietitian June 2014; 16 (6): 22.

– 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.

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How to Structure a Meal Plan for Bulking | QA

How to Structure a Meal Plan for Bulking | QA

Question:

Hello. I have a couple of questions on diet and nutrition if I may ask. I’m an 18-year-old male. I currently weigh ~143-146 lbs. I want to take on bulking but I’m not sure on what meal plan to use. Would you be able to help me out or point me in the right direction?Currently I have a full-time job with overtime, but I still manage to go to the gym almost every day even though I’m tired. I eat breakfast around 4am before work, pack myself 2 lunches, and also eat dinner around 6-8pm. I greatly appreciate any advice I can get from you guys. Couldn’t be happier with the gyms and the sauna by the way. Thanks

– Joshua A.

Answer:

Thanks for the compliment! A specific meal plan would depend on your lifestyle and food preferences in addition to your anthropometrics and weight gain goals. Working up a meal plan from scratch isn’t daunting – see our article How to Create a Meal Plan. You’d want to focus on increased calories and protein. That said, I realize following an already set list is desirable. If you’re set on that, I’d suggest a mass-building meal plan developed by a sports nutritionist such as a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD).

My top diet tips for bulking include:

  • Increase nutrient density.Get the most out of every bite with high calorie and nutrient-packed choices such as granola, tortillas, dried fruit, nuts and avocados. Choose ground meat over fish fillets (except higher fat salmon, herring, mackerel or sardines). Fill up on starchy vegetables like peas, corn, carrots and winter squash instead of watery veggies such as zucchini. Drink calorie rich shakes and nectars rather than tea and water.
  • Eat a lot, eat often. Consuming more sheer volume boosts calories and usually offsets healthier (lower calorie) choices. When volume is limited, eating quickly before you feel full or splitting a meal in half to eat an hour or two later can mean getting in more bulk. When you think you’re done eating, push yourself to finish a couple more bites. Wait until after you eat to drink your beverage (and make sure it has calories, too.)

Time it right. Fuel your muscles properly pre- and post-workout to capitalize on the surge of hormones driving anabolism. The nutrition window to boost protein synthesis is considered about 30 minutes before and after weight training. Easy to digest lean proteins and low-fiber carbohydrates are the prime choices. Examples are whey shakes, egg whites, poultry breast, bagels, and pretzels.

Resources:

– 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.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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How to Lose Back Fat | QA

How to Lose Back Fat | QA

Question:

What should I eat to help me lose back fat?

– Nicole V.

Answer:

I hear you, sister! Fat that bulges around the bra line or waistband on the backside is uncomfortable to say the least. The fat beneath the skin along the lumbar region isn’t always in proportion to the rest of the body’s subcutaneous fat and may create rolls if thick enough. Bodies with greater overall body fat tend to show more back fat, though it’s possible for someone with an acceptable body mass index (BMI) to be “skinny fat.” Remember that fat distribution among men and women is largely dictated by genetics and hormones.

Most research has been on reducing belly fat since it’s tied to a greater risk of chronic disease. A diet to specifically lose back fact does not exist. Targeting one area of fat, termed “spot reducing,” has long been deemed a fallacy. Dietary interventions will only have effect on back fat if accompanied by exercise. Together they produce metabolic changes in tissues all over the body. Along with a weight reduction diet, greater physical activity and specific exercises for the lumbar region may improve toning and definition.

These top diet tips work to improve body composition and overall health:

  • Get plenty of fiber (25-30gms) – whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, and seeds
  • Avoid added sugars
  • Eat lean proteins – opt for fish and seafood vs. red meat, pork or dairy products
  • Choose unsaturated fats (and avoid trans fat) by adding nuts, plant oils or fish oils
  • Increase your fluid intake, but limit alcohol
  • Drink two to three servings of green tea per day

Resources:

– 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.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Build Your Stack One Supplement at a Time

Build Your Stack One Supplement at a Time

Imagine this scenario —

 “I survived the week-long school trip without getting sick like last time.”

“Wow – with all those kids? Good hygiene, I bet.”

“Maybe, but I safeguarded with echinacea, zinc and high-dose Vitamin C.”

“Didn’t you tell me you started probiotics beforehand, too?”

“Yep – my trifecta plus one! I just needed something to make a difference.”

“Uh, okay. But how do you know which ‘thing’ did the trick?”

silence

Immune-enhancing products are akin to a muscle-building arsenal because many weightlifters try everything all at once like the first person in our story. Starting a thermogenic, pre-workout formula, creatine, NO booster, and recovery drink at the same time is like a “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” approach.

To enhance the effects of rigorous training and a nutritious diet, many people use ergogenic aids to reach top shape or peak performance. And the most popular ergogenic aids are dietary supplements. The term “stack” 15 years ago referred to a product with combined ingredients that had similar effects, such as herbal stimulants or androgens.

Now, it’s about stacking multiple supplements (often with proprietary blends) within the day. Most often targeted for gaining muscle and losing fat, stacking various supplements is promoted for gains in the weight room. The idea is that by grouping supplements together there may be a synergy of certain ingredients that combine to create greater advantages.

For single-ingredient preparations, it makes sense to take more than one dietary supplement, as they have different methods of action and are useful at different times. But by starting several compound supplements at once, it’s more difficult to determine which are effective – particularly if there are 6-8 products on the list! I recommend taking no more than four while ProResults® Master Trainer Geoff Fox advises avoiding performance-enhancing supplements (your wallet will thank us).


For those of you that are stacking your supplements, here are some tips for evaluating product effectiveness and safety:

  • Continue your normal diet and exercise routine.
  • Maintain consistency with your multivitamin/mineral, fish oil, protein, and other basic dietary supplements.
  • Wait at least two weeks before adding another supplement to your stack. Take the time to observe for any side effects.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Continue step-wise until your stack is complete.
  • Follow all safety guidelines on each product’s instructions for use.
  • If stacking supplements with the same ingredients, check for guidelines on absolute maximums. (e.g., 400 mg caffeine/day per U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Health Canada, and European Food Safety Authority)

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Eating the Right amount of Protein | QA

Eating the Right amount of Protein | QA

Question:

Hello! I was wondering if you could help me determine how much protein I should be eating everyday. I’ve heard so many things. I am 24yo female, I strength train 4 days a week and do yoga 1x a week to break that up. I may be switching that up a bit, but wanted to get a good idea on how to calculate it (if that’s how it works). Thank you.

– Erol B.

Answer:

The headlines (and advice) are confusing! Between “most healthy adults already get enough protein” and “US adults do not consume enough protein” there is a grey area of observation, based on how the research is interpreted. On the one hand, people that meet energy needs probably meet protein needs, while those that are dieting, recovering from illness or are aging may need more.

For a fit, healthy young adult who is consuming adequate calories to maintain weight, use the protein RDA of 0.8 gm/kg body weight as the guide. Using a range for percentage of calories from protein is less precise. From pounds, divide weight by 2.2 to get kilograms then multiply by 0.8 to get your target amount of daily protein. If you are looking to add lean mass then increasing protein to 1.2 gm/kg is suitable.

To determine if you’re meeting your goal, use a reliable source to count up your protein intake. Check that a diet app or website you’re using relies on the USDA Food Composition Database.

Resources:

– 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.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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