Q: Can I go under on my macronutrient numbers? It seems like a lot of calories and I can’t really eat that many carbs.
Before we get into it, if you don’t trust us about the ratio of macronutrients and the surprisingly high # of carbs, check out what CROSSFIT GAMES ATHLETE LAUREN FISHER has to say about them: https://www.progenexusa.com/diet-supplements-lauren-fisher/
A: So you just got your body composition test, and it probably told you a lot of information you didn’t know about what makes up your body composition. One of the most important numbers is your basal metabolic rate. That is the number of calories that you need to wake up each day and lay in bed; it’s the minimum amount of calories to survive. Not to get up and go to work each day, walk around, go to crossfit, but just to function. Your body does a lot of work (like digest that food you eat!), so your job is to support it.
Not every 6-foot male has the same number and not every female who weighs 142 pounds has the same number. You have your number, and I have mine. You’ve probably heard that eating less calories means you will lose weight/body fat. Calories in calories out, right? If you aren’t even eating that basal metabolic number, you aren’t even giving your body a chance to lose that body fat or gain muscle. It’s just trying to operate – and it’s saving all those calories for later (i.e. storing body fat).
So, essentially you will never lose weight (at least not permanently) while eating that “low cal” diet.
Your macronutrients were calculated based off your basal metabolic rate and your activity level (how many days you usually work out per week) and your goals (fat loss or muscle gain). That is where your individual number came from.
If you’ve been following pretty Paleo-ish or if you have done a lower-carb diet before, you might be really gasping at that carbohydrate number that you should be hitting. I know my first reaction was “well, it’s fine I’ll just be under and get my results faster because I won’t eat them all!” Wrong. If you aren’t eating the percentages of each like you should be, you won’t see your results.
If you aren’t eating enough carbohydrates, you risk low blood glucose levels, which can affect your brain function and basic metabolism. Muscle protein can even be metabolized and the amino acids are used to make glucose if your body is starving for carbs. If you aren’t convinced, here is a list of reasons we need carbs:
- Your muscles require carbohydrates for energy
- More intense energy (i.e. crossfit) requires even more carbohydrates
- Carbohydrates are a fast-acting macronutrient for energy transfer
- Low carb intake = low energy
Protein and fats are equally as important, but for the sake of the bad stigma that carbs get, we are focusing on their benefits today. Also, you know we aren’t saying, “Eat all the bread!” there are good carbs, and you should be focusing on them. Here is a list for your reference:
Vegetables (carrots, parsnips)
Squashes (butternut, acorn, spaghetti)
Fruit (apples, bananas)
Greens (kale, spinach)
Happy carb eating! 🙂
-Evan & Maria