I don’t care who you are or what type of training you subscribe to: man, woman, Mr. Olympia, just a gym rat, SheHulk, a powerlifter, bodybuilder, strongman, cross fitter… At the gym, you clock in and you clock out—I’m proud of you, heck, so is your mom. You might get asked the age old question “how much ya bench?” every time someone sees you lifting, but when was the last time you answered “what’s your macro nutrient breakdown?”
I’ve powerlifted for over 6 years and just competed in my first bodybuilding competition in the summer of ’11. The training for both is different, and the dieting part was pretty much polar opposites—However, for both training styles, what I put into my body mattered.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not here to preach to you a diet plan that will get you shredded in 8 weeks or add 50lbs to your one rep max on bench. What I’m here to show you is that you need to be focusing on what goes into your body not calorie-wise, but macronutrient-wise.
To get a bit scientific with you, there are three primary macronutrients that your body uses, which you’ve probably have heard over a million times: Carbs, Proteins, and Fats. These are the three things you need to be keeping track of and focusing on. So many diets lead you to count every single calorie that you put in your mouth. We get so lost in counting calories that we don’t see where these calories are coming from.
To get a little more in-depth, 1 gram of protein is equal to 4 calories. That goes for carbohydrates as well. For fat, 1 gram is equal to 7 calories. Be aware that when you eat 100 calories of protein, it doesn’t yield the same results 100 calories of fat. Along the same lines, 25 grams of carbs postworkout isn’t going to yield the same results as 25 grams of protein or fat, nor will it even yield the same caloric count if you’re looking at 25 grams of fat. It seems simple and logical but when diets focus so much on counting calories, you lose sight of these concepts.
I challenge you to start a food log and scratch the calorie counting and take note of the macro nutrient balance in your diet. The next time you’re looking at a food label, don’t go straight to the calories: look at the three main macronutrients and you’ll be better off in the long run.
Danny Quach is a senior at the University of Georgia and he's studying Health Promotion and Behavior. He's a powerlifter at heart and has done it for over six years. He just competed in his first bodybuilding show in Summer of 2011. For powerlifting, he holds some Georgia records. In his first bodybuilding competition, he placed 2nd
in Novice in INBF Southern States. On his spare time he's a part of the University of Georgia’s cheerleading co-ed squads; his favorite past-time? Throwing girls around and catching them.