A Quick Guide to Understanding Macronutrients

Understanding Macronutrients: So what’s a protein, a carb, and a fat?

macrosMacronutrients make up your daily calories. Macronutrients come from PROTEINS, CARBS, and FATS, and you need to eat all three to survive. 

I recently wrote a post on Strongfigure.com about food and fat loss. You can access the full article here. My goal with this article was to show the difference between carbs, fats, and proteins so that readers could start optimizing their nutrition to best work for their goals–whether that was fat loss, muscle building, optimizing workout recovery, or all of it.

But to understand macronutrients and how truly optimize your nutrition, the simplified version is this: you just need to know, understand, and be able to recognize which foods are carbs, which ones are proteins, and which ones are fats. And then know how much of each you need to eat. It’s not hard, but with everything, people like to make it hard.

First, learn what macros are. 

With any food, you have three options. It’s either

  1. A protein source
  2. A carbohydrate source
  3. A fat source

The easiest way to figure out what you’re eating is to read the label. 

Whatever the larger number on the label between the three macronutrients, that’s the winner. If you’re reading the label on the peanut butter jar, peanut butter is a FAT because there are about 16 grams of fat per serving and only about 7 grams of protein and roughly 4 grams of carbs. (I’m going off my memory here. And now I’m hungry for peanut butter.)

If you have no label (you bought some asparagus at the farmer’s market) know that all veggies are a carb source—a great carb source at that. Most cheeses, nuts, and nut butters are a fat. Meats and most non-cheese dairy are protein sources. If you have no idea, you can always use Google or My Fitness Pal’s database to figure out if your food choice is a protein or a fat if it doesn’t come with a label. If you’re eating chili cheese fries somewhere, know that’s a carb and a fat, and it’s clogging your arteries.

At this point, you understand that proteins, carbs, and fats are macronutrients. What next? 

Let’s dive into the difference between these three macronutrients a little more.

Understanding Macronutrients Even Better: Protein

The first macronutrient I want to teach you about is the most important for body composition, and that’s PROTEIN.

protein use5 Reasons Why You Should Be Eating Protein:

1. Muscle Protein Synthesis: Muscle tissue is made up of proteins. When a person puts stress on a muscle, such as lifting weights, proteins become damaged. Protein synthesis is the repairing of damaged proteins and replacing them with replicas of the original. The new muscle tissue is stronger and able to handle stress better than before. This is how muscle building works.

So what is so great about muscle? Aside from being able to function better in life and looking great—adding muscle helps you lose fat. The thing is, muscle needs energy. A pound of muscle uses up to 150 calories a day, whereas a pound of fat only needs about 3 calories a day. Simply having a lot of muscle burns calories. Just remember—body fat does not need energy to maintain itself and muscle does, so you have to put in the time to lift those weights to spark the protein synthesis.

What does this have to do with eating protein?

A moderate serving of high-quality protein maximally stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis in young and elderly subjects–Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2009.

According to a 2008 study in the American Society for Nutrition, ingesting just 20g of dietary protein post workout is enough to maximize muscle protein synthesis after resistance exercise.

2. Thermic effect: Before I explain thermic effect, let us look at a different term—metabolism: the term commonly used to describe the process of breaking down food and turning it into energy. Most people have heard that in order to lose weight a person wants a high metabolism to burn off calories right? This is true. But what raises your metabolism?

Ironically, one of the best ways is eating. Food has what is called a thermic effect, which is the energy the body needs to eat, digest, and metabolize food. After you eat, your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) begins to rise. This rise can be fairly meager or it can be quite significant depending on how much you ate and the types of foods you ate. According to shapefit.com, fats generally raise your BMR by about 4%, carbohydrates by about 6%, and proteins by a whopping 30% –wowzers!

I have read other studies that suggest the thermic effect of protein is lower than the shapefit.com estimates, but everyone seems to agree that the thermic effect of protein is at least double that of your other macronutrients—carbs and fat.

3. Increase in Glucagon: Consuming dietary protein increases the peptide hormone glucagon. Glucagon raises concentrations of glucose in the bloodstream –it does the opposite of insulin—this leads to greater fat mobilization. Glucagon and insulin both help to regulate blood sugar.

Basically, an increase in glucagon leads to greater fat loss during calorie restriction and less fat gain during overeating.

4. Cardiovascular Health: Multiples studies have shown that when people replace around 15% of their calories from carbohydrates with calories from protein, this lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

5. Satiety and Prevention of Weight Cycling Effect: A study found the fat loss success of many low carb diets had more to do with the increase in protein consumption than the reduction of carbohydrates. That study concluded that dietary protein was an effective treatment of obesity in that it improved metabolic function, increased satiety and energy levels, and decreased the weight cycling affect—the cyclical loss and gain of weight often referred to as yo-yo dieting.

Protein Sources

Everyone’s biggest question when it comes to protein is “How much do I eat?”

Since you know it is important to increase your consumption of protein (quite possibly by replacing your carbohydrate consumption with protein consumption), from where should you get your protein? And how much protein should you be eating?

First, there are three main sources of protein:

  1. Animal
  2. Vegetable
  3. Supplements

By far the best source of protein is animal—MEAT. Eat meat! And plenty of it. Meat in its natural form (non-processed, organic, and steroid free) is one of the healthiest things a person can eat. Animal meat is an excellent source of high quality protein.

So what kinds of animals should you be eating? Pretty much all of them.

  • Birds
  • fish
  • eggs
  • cow
  • chicken
  • lamb
  • game

The list goes on. Just like you’ll see with veggies, it is always a good idea to eat a wide variety of meat. Chicken might be a great source of lean protein; however, certain fish varieties will provide a better concentration of healthy saturated fats, beef will provide a quality source of iron and new amino acids, and eggs are loaded in nutrients that are not easily acquired in other food forms.

Non-animal sources of protein such as soy products, beans, nuts, and other protein-dense veggies do provide protein; however, they are not ideal sources of optimal proteins. In order to get the five benefits of eating protein discussed above, you should be consuming probably about 30% of your daily caloric intake from protein and this would be very difficult to do on a non-meat diet.

Also animal meat, especially fish, is dense in Omega 3’s—DHA, EPA, and ALA and you need all three. ALA you can get from plants. But non-meat eaters should be taking fish oil to get adequate amounts of DHA (over 30% of your brain is made up of this stuff) and EPA (an important anti-inflammatory).

Flax seed oil cannot be your only source of Omega 3s because flax seed is only ALA and less than 5% can get converted into DHA. If you are a vegetarian, at least take microalgae oil. Vegetarians are typically very deficient in Omega 3’s.

How can I get 20 grams of protein post workout quickly and easily? I don’t have time to cook meat, I know I shouldn’t eat processed meats; what is a busy person to do?

Strong Figure'sThis is where supplements are useful and probably necessary.

If you’re in the very beginning stages of healthy eating and food planning, I don’t think supplements should be a high priority; however, quality protein supplements can be an excellent way to meet your dietary protein demand–especially for the person with a busy lifestyle. In addition, supplemental protein like whey protein can provide you with powerful anti-oxidants, lower high blood pressure, and increase lean muscle mass.

How do I choose?

We published this article What Kind of Protein Should I Buy? to help people figure out what supplemental protein they should buy.

Next: How much protein should a person eat?

As a general guideline, you should get about 30% of your calories from protein. Eating 30% of your calories from protein will help you to increase your fat loss, provide you with satiety—that full feeling, and provide you with the necessary energy to start your new fitness regimen. You can also read our article, How Much Protein Do You Really Need? 

Did you purchase our Total Health and Fitness Makeover book? If you did, you got our workbook that gives you the specific calculations for figuring out exactly how many grams of protein YOU need each and every day. Use that to figure out exactly how much protein you should be eating each day.

If you didn’t purchase our book, we’ll have more info at the bottom of this post about how to get your hands on this info!!

Let’s assume you  are eating about 1800 calories per day. Thirty percent of 1800 is 540 calories. A gram of protein is 4 calories so that means a person on an 1800 calorie plan should be eating about 135 grams of protein a day.

As you begin to add in more resistance training you can increase your calories by increasing the amount of protein you consume. Consuming protein after a heavy weight training session with some simple carbohydrates (one of the only times sugar is ok) can actually help fight muscle soreness, increase muscle synthesis, and decrease body fat. Wow—sign me up, right?!

Get Started Today: Protein

1. Figure out a rough estimate of how much protein you need to consume each day. For example, if you’re eating 1800 calories, 30% of 1800 is 540 and 540 divided by 4 is 135 grams of protein.

2. Figure out how many meals you want to eat each day. Let’s say you want five meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks). Divide 135 by 5 and you get 27 grams of protein for each meal.

3. Take a look at this list of protein sources:

Animal Sources (BEST PICKS):

  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Tilapia
  • Lamb
  • Salmon
  • Cod
  • Pork
  • Shrimp
  • Shellfish
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Greek Yogurt (plain has more protein and you can add your own berries, etc., for taste)

Non Animal Sources (Ok picks):

  • Soy Products
  • Beans and legumes
  • Grains and other plant-based proteins

Supplements (Good picks! Especially if weight training):

  • Whey protein powders
  • Casein protein powders
  • Egg protein powders
  • Plant-based protein powders

4. Circle your favorite items from the protein list.

5. When you go to the store, buy these protein sources.

6. Now you’re home with plenty of protein! Figure out how you want to eat your protein. Remember to try and divide up your grams of protein appropriately throughout the day.

7. Anything you can cook ahead of time, cook it and get it in your fridge for the week. You’ll never have an excuse to be low on protein if you have 5 chicken breasts and two pounds of ground turkey already cooked, seasoned and ready to be eaten. And if you keep items such as cottage cheese (which can also be blended with frozen berries if you don’t like its texture), hard boiled eggs, and Greek yogurt in your fridge, snacking on high protein foods will become second nature.

8. When you go back to the store again, choose some different sources this time and experiment with different foods and recipes. Refer to your Total Health and Fitness Makeover Workbook in order to see a complete grocery list.

eggs and avocadoNext Up: Fats

Fats sound like they would be bad for you—I mean that stuff we are trying to get rid of is called fat. If you learned about nutrition in the 1980s (or your current nutrition expert/teacher studied in the 80s) then you probably think fat is bad. But for those who somewhat keep up with science, you know that most fats are actually pretty good for you. And by most fats I mean the naturally occurring fats—saturated, unsaturated, polyunsaturated—they are all good (mostly).

So what is bad?

Food processing has created some bad fats called trans-fats. In an effort to make food last longer and feel softer in your mouth, food processors take regular unsaturated fats and hydrogenate them. This is bad. Real bad. In fact many health organizations refer to trans-fats as a contaminant byproduct of food processing. Trans-fats are edible but they have been linked to cardiovascular disease and obesity. Trans-fats are so bad that there are laws limiting them or banning them in other countries.

The United States has had proposals to ban trans-fats and in 2013 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially said trans-fats are “generally not recognized as safe.” That might not sound terribly scary, but for the FDA to talk bad about a product the US makes—that’s scary stuff.

But I have heard saturated fats are bad?

Whoever told you that saturated fat (fats from animals) is bad, is one of those people who studied nutrition in the 1980s. The dogma that fat, particularly saturated fat, is bad for you and carbohydrates are a better choice, is likely the reason heart disease and obesity have both skyrocketed in the last 30-40 years. If you are wondering whether a fat is good or bad, simply ask yourself this: does this fat occur naturally? If the answer is yes, then by all means eat it. If the answer is no, then treat it like poison—it is.

Here are a few examples of good vs. bad fats:

  • Coconut oil is natural, so it’s good.
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oil is not natural, so it’s bad.
  • Fat from beef is natural so it’s good.
  • Partially hydrogenated oils are not natural and very bad.

Think about it this way: early humans evolved from eating fats, particularly animal fats. The hunter-gatherer diet would have consisted of large amounts of fatty tissue. We were evolved to eat this stuff.

Most of those shelf oils you see in your baking aisle at the grocery store are bad—safflower, canola, vegetable oil—those oils that sit there in liquid form are usually hydrogenated and this makes them scary—stay away!

Most reading this have heard of essential fats or “healthy fats.” Generally, these terms are referring to polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. But the truth is, it depends on the form the fat comes in. For example, safflower oil is a monounsaturated fat, one of the so called “healthy fats,” but if the oil is hydrogenated to last on the store shelf, then the so-called healthy fat just became pretty unhealthy.

  • A good example of a monounsaturated fat is the avocado—those are very natural, so eat them. Nuts too! They grow on trees, not in laboratories.
  • A good example of a polyunsaturated fat is salmon—this fish comes from the sea so that is good.

I know I am being slightly facetious, but I am trying to simplify some relatively hard sciency stuff into an easy formula for success. Natural is good. Processed is bad.

salmon_imageSpeaking of success—Omega 3s rock!

The number one fat you absolutely do not want to limit is your Omega 3s—DHA, ELA, and ALA—these fats are the best. They are commonly found in fish. This is why one of Strong Figure’s biggest recommendations is to take fish oil.

Keep Your Omega 3s and Omega 6s in Balance

Omega 6s (found in a lot of foods—nuts, soy, seeds, and most vegetable oils) are a little more controversial. And science is sort of all over the place on these cousins of the Omega 3s. The important thing is to balance your Omega 6s and Omega 3s.

Let’s get back to the hunter-gatherer diet. The Paleo experts will tell you that the early hunter-gatherer had an Omega 6 to Omega 3 balance of 1:1; whereas, the average American today has a balance of 20:1. Wow! 20:1? What are we eating? Or better yet, what are we NOT eating?!?!

Chances are, the average American is not eating enough fish. So please please please take fish oil.

I understand this is not easy. Many of us grew up thinking the fat free foods were the healthier choice. Many of those fat free foods were loaded with sugars as replacements for the fat they removed. It really is no wonder, heart disease and obesity skyrocketed over the last few decades. We are starting to get a handle on the science stuff.

We know we’ve thrown a lot of information at you—some of it may be brand new to you and even slightly stressful. Just remember this: If a fat occurs naturally it is likely good, and everyone should be eating it.

Last: How much fat should a person eat?

As a general guideline, you should get about 30% of your calories from fat. Just like protein, 30% calories from fat will help you to increase your fat loss, provide you with satiety—that full feeling, and provide you with the necessary energy to start your new fitness regimen.

If you have our Total Health and Fitness Makeover Workbook, you got the specific calculations for figuring out exactly how many grams of fat YOU need each and every day. Use that to figure out exactly how much protein you should be eating each day.

If not, let’s assume you  are eating 1800 calories daily and 30% of 1800 is 540 calories. A gram of fat is 9 calories so that means a person on an 1800 calorie plan should be eating about 60 grams of fat a day.

Get Started Today: Fat

1. Figure out a rough estimate of how much fat you need to consume each day. For example, if you’re eating 1800 calories, 30% of 1800 is 540 and 540 divided by 9 is 60.

2. Figure out how many meals you want to eat each day. Let’s say you want five meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks). Divide 60 by 5 and you get 12 grams of fat for each meal.

3. Take a look at this list of these great, naturally occurring fat sources:

  • Avocado
  • Cold Pressed Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Cold Pressed Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Nuts and seeds (Almonds, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, cashews…)
  • Nut Butters (all natural peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter…)
  • Naturally occurring fats in animal products such as meats, eggs, cheeses…
  • Butter or ghee (all natural, minimally processed)

4. When you go to the store, pick up some extra fat. You don’t have to buy a lot since it’s very easy to consume a lot of fat in small quantities. You may want to pick up some coconut oil for cooking, baking (or in your coffee!) Pick up an avocado or two to add to some of your meals, or grab some almonds to snack on. My favorite way to get a few fat grams into my diet is with a spoonful of all-natural peanut or almond butter. A little goes a long way, so you don’t have to spend a fortune here.

5. Remember: you’ll get some fat grams from your meat sources, depending which ones you choose. If you’re a hungry person and you like to eat more food, choose leaner meat sources so that you can eat more meat and more fat. I like chicken and turkey so that I can still have my coconut oil and peanut butter. Some of you may not care about peanut butter and oils and you’d like to have a steak instead. Eat what makes you happiest and switch things up whenever needed!

6. WARNING: be cautious of hidden fats such as those in salad dressings, baked goods, or sauces and creams. A little is fine but too much can off-set your fat allowance for the whole day!

7. Add fish or krill or microalgae oil (with vitamin E) to your daily supplement routine!

BlueberriesCarbohydrates: The last, and possibly most misunderstood of all the macros.

So what’s the big deal about carbs, anyway? Your body uses carbohydrates to make glucose–the fuel that gives you energy and helps keep moving. It also uses glucose (sugar) and stores this in the liver and muscles for when energy is needed.

You can find carbs in the following food types:

  • Vegetables
  • Breads, cereals, and other grains
  • Dairy, milk and sugar-sweetened milk products
  • Foods containing added sugars (e.g., cakes, cookies, and beverages).

There are two main types of carbohydrates:

  • Complex carbohydrates
  • Simple carbohydrates

All carbs break down into simple sugars once you eat them. It’s just that simple carbs get broken down much faster and you feel hungry a lot sooner than if you ate complex carbs which contain fiber and keep you fuller, longer. And some scientists have even been studying whether or not the high consumption of simple carbohydrates in the American diet is leading to health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. This is often why you hear carbs referred to as “good carbs” and “bad carbs.”

So which one do you eat? It really all depends on your goals. Carbohydrates can become a very tricky subject—as you probably already know.

Here’s what we suggest, in order of what carbs we at Strong Figure view as the most to least important in your quest to become a healthier and fitter you:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Other vegetables
  • Berries
  • Other fruits
  • Nuts and seeds (typically not thought of as a carbohydrate but many are fiber dense)
  • Beans and Peas
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Other grains
  • Whole wheat breads and pastas (though for best results we recommend limiting quantities of these)

How many carbohydrates should a person eat?

As a general guideline, you should get about 40% of your calories from carbs. Forty percent of your calories from carbs will help you feel full–especially since we advise you to choose ones that are slow digesting and high in fiber. These choices help your digestive system, fuel your activity, and even help you process activities throughout the day. Carbs also provide you with the necessary energy to fuel your fitness regimen.

Let’s assume you’re eating 1800 calories. Forty percent of 1800 is 720 calories. A gram of carbohydrates is 4 calories, so that means a person on a 1800 calorie plan should be eating about 180 grams of carbs a day.

Before we tell you how to choose smarter carb sources, we want to make you aware that sugar, (a carb!) is hidden in many different food items. It’s important to have a good understand about where to look in order to avoid unnecessary, non-nutritional calories.

How can You Avoid Added Sugars?

Look for these ingredients as added sugars and make note to avoid these products as much as possible:

  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Sucrose
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Invert Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Malt Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Corn sweetener
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Raw sugar

It's not the fruit salad I described here but it's a fruit tart I picked up at the local farmer's market. Made from nothing but real ingredients, this tart is not processed nor does it contain artificial anything. I sliced up and made four post-workout recovery snacks with this sweet treat. Loved it!

To avoid added sugars, REMEMBER:

  1. Always choose water over sugar-sweetened sodas and juices.
  2. If you must drink juice, find one made from 100% fruit juice and then dilute it with water.
  3. Breakfast cereals (which are mostly simple sugars or have sugars added) are one of the worst sugary foods that we don’t normally think about. Look for ones that contain 4 grams or less of sugar.

Again, carbs come in all sizes and shapes. In the end–they are made up of sugar. It’s up to you–and always will be–to decide which ones you will choose for your body.

And while I fully believe that a little bite of chocolate here and there isn’t going to kill anyone, just remember that moderation is key, because sugar can be pretty darned evil.  

What WE want to convey is that sugar can do a lot of damage if not kept in moderation. So be mindful of your food choices…now and always! And yes, fruit really does make a better dessert option! When it comes to dessert or your sweet tooth, there’s nothing wrong with saving your fruit for these moments!

I’m not going to tell you to never eat sugar but I will tell you why sugar isn’t good for you. And while I hope you learn how to make the healthier food choices you need to live a longer, healthier life, I still hope you have a cupcake on your birthday or your favorite candy on Halloween. There is a true balance to living life healthy and happy—and that includes your sanity too! Balance is healthy. And if you want your candy, eat it after your workout: simple as that.

So where should you get the majority of your carbs from if most carbs do in fact, convert to sugar? 

IMG_9652From VEGETABLES! Eat Your Vegetables! 

When it comes to vegetables, variety is really important!

If you own The Total Health and Fitness Makeover, we discussed this in detail and provided an extensive list of the multitude of benefits of different veggies. If you do not own the book (yet), remember variety is critical–choose a variety of colors but make sure green is the primary color.

It’s super important to remember to try as many different veggies as possible. It’s easy to pick a couple that are easy and familiar—I can suffer from this sometimes as well. I know what I like, what I don’t, and honestly, I’m not always sure what to do with things like Bok Choy or Dandelion Greens. (That’s why I rely on Erik for dinner many nights.) BUT every vegetable is incredibly dense with a wide variety of nutrients, and it really is important to try new things, so why not start now?

Get Started Today: Carbohydrates

1. Figure out a rough estimate of how many carbs you need to consume each day. For example, if you’re eating 1800 calories, 40% of 1800 is 720 and 720 divided by 4 is 180 grams of carbohydrates.

2. Figure out how many meals you want to eat each day. Let’s say you want five meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks). Divide 180 by 5 and you get 36 grams of carbs per meal.

3. Take a look at this list of these healthy carb sources:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Other vegetables
  • Berries
  • Other fruits
  • Nuts and seeds — typically not thought of as a carbohydrate but many are fiber dense
  • Beans and Peas
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Other grains
  • Whole wheat breads and pastas (though for best results we recommend limiting quantities of these)

4. Circle your favorites–as many as you want! Carb sources are typically cheaper than proteins and fats, and a good variety of carbs—especially from vegetables–will ensure your nutrient intake is optimal. Want to be super awesome? Try two vegetables that you’ve never had before!

5. Plan the different ways you want to eat your carbs throughout the day. Remember if you’re eating five meals at 1800 calories, you want to aim for roughly 36 grams of carbs per each meal.

6. Buy your groceries—your proteins, your fats, and your carbs, and then pre-cook as much as you can for the week so that you have your food ready for you when you need to

7. What if you really want some popcorn or a piece of dark chocolate? We actually recommend that you treat yourself often to small servings of the foods that make you happy. Completely avoiding or trying to eliminate these foods may trigger binge eating behaviors and that is NOT healthy.

Now. I am about to blow your mind.

Eating optimal macronutrients paired with your optimal daily caloric intake can in fact, give you both the body you desire and the athletic performance you desperately seek. And the best part (as if that’s not already the best part), is that if you understand how many calories your body needs on any given day, paired with knowing your macronutrient breakdown, you can create a super simple lifestyle that’s easy to live with, eat for, and enjoy–all while staying healthy, fit, and happy. Isn’t this the number one goal?

One more nutrient to discuss: Micronutrients:

By now, you’re an expert on macronutrients. However, there is one more type of nutrient we need for survival and that’s the MICROnutrient. AKA, vitamins and minerals.

How do you fill your calories?

So we know that all of us have a basic daily calorie allotment to fill. Depending on how much we work out, how active our jobs are, and how much we stay on our feet all determine how much we should be eating on any given day. And if you don’t have our book which tells you how to figure out your calories, Google out the Harris-Benedict Equation, or better yet, check out the end of this post for more details on how to get your hands on this info!

Now, let’s look at how you are going to break down your calories. You know you need proteins, carbs, and fats. But which proteins, carbs, and fats do you choose? The ones with the BEST micronutrient value! Meaning, the foods that are highest in vitamin and mineral makeup.

IMG_9795Micronutrients are essential for nutrient optimization. If I told you that you could eat 2500 calories a day and you could have 250 grams of carbs (1000 calories worth of carbohydrates), you could easily fill those 1000 calories with a bowl of ice cream, a doughnut, and a couple chocolate chip cookies, right? Heck, you could probably even have a pumpkin spice latte too. Would you feel good? Would you perform optimally? Would you be an overall healthy person? No. Where are your MICROnutrients? Where’s your fiber? How are you optimizing your calories?

While making sure to hit your appropriate protein, fat, and carbohydrate goal each day, you’ve GOT to make sure you’re taking in enough fiber daily. That’s about 25-35 grams of fiber each day. If you can eat 30 grams of fiber over the course of the day, and especially through a variety of fruits and vegetables, there’s no way that you aren’t optimizing your nutrition.

A diet of pizza is different than a diet that includes pizza. Looking at a single food a person consumes isn’t the same as looking at all the foods a person consumes. You can eat ‘unhealthy’ foods and still have a ‘good’ diet. –Krissy Mae Cagney

My typical day includes getting my carbs and fiber from spinach, peas, quinoa and/or oatmeal, lima beans, squash, sweet potatoes, applesauce, cauliflower, grapefruit, berries, and other fibrous foods. It’s really hard to eat foods that aren’t nutritionally sound and stay within my calorie totals. I “might” be able to squeeze in a doughnut if I decide to cut out the applesauce and grapefruit. But

A) I can have it if I choose to, and
B) Because I know how many carbs I need to eat and how much fiber I need to take in, I don’t overeat any of my macronutrients.

I now know how to optimize my calories, eat what I need to, how to have a treat when I want one, and still get my desired results.

In order to hit an adequate amount of fiber in a day, you are going to need to eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables. –Kyle Hunt

Eating your correct macronutrients while aiming for the best micronutrient choices will lead you to the best shape of your life. Optimize your nutrition. Knowing your macronutrient profile benefits both your physical AND mental health—especially if you’ve dieted for too long and your perception of food has been damaged.

By keeping a diet of whole foods and including unprocessed proteins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and an abundance of fruits and vegetables, it’s almost impossible for me to not get the adequate intake of the micronutrients my body needs. –Katie Youngstrom

July 27th is the last day the book will be available until further notice.

Total Health and Fitness Makeover

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The book is available for sale in PDF form and in paperback. We also have a workbook that is a wonderful supplement to the book itself!

Don’t forget to sign up for updates in all that we do. Our next book, REVAMP, is due out January 2017, and this book will show you how to take your health and wellness to new levels!

Now let’s get moving!! While food may account for 80, even 90% of our body composition, it doesn’t mean you can’t speed up your goals, build muscle, and make your body STRONGER with a little exercise while you work on your food choices! Check out these three Strong Figure Conditioning Workouts and give them a go this week. (PS–feel free to PIN these to your favorite workout board so that you don’t forget to do them!!!)

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Do you have questions we can answer about macronutrients? Or our book, The Total Health and Fitness Makeover? Comment below!