Let’s say you’re on board with tracking your intake, and that you’ve established the habit of tracking your calories. Some of you are there, some of you are a few days into a new habit, some of you couldn’t give two shits. The next step is to dive deeper into the numbers and track your macros. I know a few of you already do this, but I want to extol the virtues of macro tracking. For the longest time in college, I tracked my calories on a daily basis. I’d hit my calorie goal most every day, but I wasn’t feeling the way I thought I should feel. I was constantly hungry, and I wasn’t seeing a ton of improvement in the gym. I had plateaued, and I couldn’t break through. It turns out that I was way heavy on carbs and too light on protein and fat, resulting in me losing traction for my fitness goals.
Carbs – These include everything from fiber to sugar to starches. Carbs are fuel for your body, and despite the media and the fad diets out there, carbs can be your friend. Different types of carbs have different effects and purposes. For lack of a better description, some carbs are more potent than others. Simple carbs are a quick hit of energy for your body. They’re easy to break down, and they’re quick to take effect. This is the traditional “sugar high”. Simple carbs include refined sugar (pastries, candy, etc.), simple sugars (fruits, vegetables, etc.). Complex carbs are more difficult for your body to process, but provide a steadier source of energy over a longer period of time. This is why distance runners carb load prior to their runs. Complex carbs include starches like found in grains, potatoes, etc. As you are fully aware, spiking from sugar high to crash all day long is miserable and ends in morbid obesity after a while. Most of your carb load should be in complex carbs.
However, it isn’t as simple as choosing complex carbs over simple carbs, you want to balance the amount of carbs you get with the other nutrition you receive, including fiber, minerals, and vitamins. One of the easiest ways to balance your carb load in comparison to other nutrition is to focus on using whole ingredients in your meals rather than processed ingredients. Next week, we’ll go into more detail.
Protein – Ahh, meat! Protein can also be found in legumes, some grains, some vegetables, eggs, tofu, and hemp (for those of you in CO). Protein is your foundation for successful fitness. Working out, whether cardio or strength training, involves tearing down your muscles and rebuilding them stronger. How does your body rebuild your muscles? By pulling protein from your food and incorporating it into your muscles! If you wear down over long periods of working out, a protein deficiency may be the culprit. If you struggle with inordinate soreness and fatigue after strength training, protein may help with recovery. Timing can play a role in recovery, and we’ll cover that in a few weeks when we talk about post-workout eating.
Fat – Ignoring the screams from all those who have been taken by the ’80s and ’90s fad diets, fat is a very good thing, and it’s very important to long term success of your fitness goals. If you want to be miserable, go on a low-fat diet. Fat helps you feel satiated at the end of a meal, and it helps stave off hunger throughout the day. However, one temptation with fad diets (including Keto) is to jack up the fat consumption to insane levels. Mrs. trshmnstr is skeptical about the health of going to insane in the opposite direction and eating tons of fat. As always, a balanced diet is the recommendation.
Overall, a good baseline ratio is 35% carbs (mostly in high-fiber whole foods), 35% protein, and 30% fat. We’ll talk next week about adjusting those ratios to account for body type, fitness goals, etc.
HIIT workout of the week
As always, Mrs. trshmnstr recommends trying this out 3 or 4 days this week. As always, don’t kill yourself and modify the exercise where you need to based on your fitness and abilities.
3 rounds of:
- 50 jumping jacks
- 10 pushups
- 20 squats
- 20 bicycle crunches
- 1 min rest
- 50 high knees
- 15 side plank crunches on your right side
- 20 squat jumps
- 15 side plank crunches on your left side
- 1 min rest
- 50 mountain climbers
- 15 lunges each side
- 20 plank spidermans total
- 15 situps
- 1 min rest
This is a 30 minute workout, so the goal is to do 2x for a full workout.
Recipe of the week
Trashy’s daily breakfast. Mrs. trshmnstr says this isn’t a healthy breakfast, and that I’m an idiot for posting this, but I’m gonna do it anyway!
- 1 piece of multigrain toast
- 2 fried eggs
- 1 sausage patty
- hot sauce
I used to struggle with mid-morning hunger and fatigue issues when I ate a granola bar or nothing for breakfast. This breakfast is a good mix of fat, protein, and whole food carbs with enough flavor to get going in the morning. I think the eggs are the most important part. I could probably sub out the toast or the sausage for a fruit if I wanted to be super healthy, but I’ve found that I can lose 2+ lbs per week with this breakfast if I’m good about my other meals. I’ve also found that it doesn’t take me an hour or two to get ramped up for work in the morning. I’m firing on all cylinders the minute I open my laptop.