Our body’s need the macronutrients protein, carbohydrates and fats. The key is learning at what percentages of each to get the maximum effect from our strength training efforts. To figure this out, we must first decide on these three factors.
Is your goal to lose fat or gain muscle? When first starting out, it is best not to try and do both; that will come later as you figure out which combination works best for these three factors.
For bodybuilding, a good starting point is:
- 40% to 60% carbs
- 25% to 35% protein
- 15% to 25% fat.
However, if your goal is to burn off fat, then a ratio of the following works better:
- 10% to 30% carbs
- 40% to 50% protein
- 30% to 40% fat
If you are happy were you are at and just want to maintain, then go for a ratio of:
- 30% to 50% carb
- 25% to 35% protein
- 25% to 35% fat.
Once you have your ratio figured out based on your fitness goal, it is time to tweak it based on the type of body you have. There are generally three types: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph. Without getting into a lot of detail, they can generally be classified as slender, muscular and soft (think pear shaped).
Ectomorphs have a hard time putting on weight due to having a fast metabolism, so they will want to get 30% to 60% of their calories from carbohydrates. Mesomorphs on the other hand have an easier time putting on muscle and fat, so their carbs should be 20% to 50% of their total calories. Finally, endomorphs have a higher propensity to taking on fat so their carb intake should be in the 10% to 40% range.
These starting recommendation work well with fitness goals. For example, if a skinny girl (ectomorph) wants to build her body, the 30% to 60% carb recommendation fits in with the 40% to 60% recommended for bodybuilding under fitness goals.
Women are more efficient at burning fat stored than burning glycogen stored in muscle. Because of this physiological phenomenon, they do better with a lower carb intake, but higher in fat. A carb intake around 30% is a good place to start. Keep the protein percentage the same and adjust the fats accordingly.
All of these recommendations are starting positions and because each body is different, they will need to be tweaked up or down until the right combination is found for you. After making a change, give your body time to react before making another change.
Of course diet is only half of the equation; exercise is the other half. Without exercise getting the lean sexy body you desire will only be a figment of your imagination. But taking your nutrition and fitness seriously, and putting in time working out, will get you closer to goal than either one alone.