What Is A Macronutrient, and Why Is It Essential For Your Body And To Build Muscle?
Well, first of all, there isn’t only one macronutrient; but there are nine: Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium.
Macronutrients are great nutritional components that the body needs to maintain its metabolism. The so-called macronutrients include lipids (fats), sugars (carbohydrates) and proteins (proteins).
A balanced diet with these nutrients is essential for healthy muscle growth.
These three nutrients are, so to speak, the foundation upon which your diet should be built. This will allow your body to function well (training, recovery, regeneration).
Therefore, you will be able to achieve and maintain an anabolic (muscle building) state when your timing is correct with the nutrients.
1. Macronutrient: the lipids / fats
Fats can be differentiated into:
✓ saturated fatty acids
✓ monounsaturated fatty acids
✓ unsaturated fatty acids
✓ polyunsaturated fatty acids or polyenoic fatty acids
Fat is a good energy source with a high energy density, so if you consume big amounts of it, you can gain a lot of weight. And, unfortunately, not necessarily in the positive sense, but in the form of body fat.
If you combine this fat intake with sugar (carbohydrates) it usually makes for an even greater contribution to body-fat gain.
Nevertheless, you should definitely keep an eye on your fat intake. Of course, fats also have their benefits. For example, fats (such as salmon oil = polyunsaturated) can act anti-inflammatory.
Furthermore, your brain also needs healthy fatty acids to perform well and let your thoughts flow. These include, for example, linseed oil, olive oil, rapeseed oil (unsaturated fatty acids), avocado oil and salmon oil.
You may prefer to consume the latter in the form of capsules, because it generally does not taste appealing to people.
The two unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are particularly important here because they provide valuable and vital substances that your body needs for regeneration and rebuilding processes.
These two fatty acids cannot be produced by the body itself and, therefore, have to be fed through the diet. Thus, they are referred to as essential acids.
Saturated fatty acids are contained in butter, cheese, cream and margarine, for example. Especially the trans fats (chemically hardened fats) are unhealthy, so you should eat them as little as possible.
Recently, margarine without trans fats came on the market, which is worth a look at the label.
If you are frying a piece of meat, then you can, for example, take the healthy rapeseed oil for it. This tastes neutral and contains many healthy substances for your body.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using butter occasionally, but preferably in moderation so that the fat does not stick to your hips! We don’t want love handles, right?
Which Fats Are Good for Muscle Building and Why?
Fats are essential for muscle building and the proper functioning of the organism. But beware – fat doesn’t equal fat!
As a strength athlete, you should prefer monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. This refers primarily to omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which are found in both animal and vegetable foods.
What is Special about Omega 3 Fatty Acids?
Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated, partly essential fatty acids. Among the most well-known Omega 3 representatives are:
✓ Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
✓ Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
✓ and Docosahaexic acid (DHA)
They are indispensable for the body, which is why they should be consumed daily.
Omega 3 fatty acids are particularly important for an optimally functioning metabolism, for a healthy cardiovascular system and for the immune system.
Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that omega 3 fatty acids inhibit the formation of anti-inflammatory substances.
They also promote the balance of the nervous and hormonal systems, improve the health of cartilage and joints and the activity of certain messenger substances ( prostaglandins).
Strength athletes who eat enough omega 3 fatty acids daily also benefit from a mental and physical performance increase.
2. Macronutrient: the protein
Protein consists of many small pieces (amino acids) that your body needs to maintain muscle and build new muscle. Proteins are the basic building blocks of your body – nothing works without them.
There are 20 amino acids:
✓ threonine ✓ tryptophan
✓ aspartic acid
✓ glutamic acid
Eight of which are essential (vital to life) and cannot be produced by your body. These eight amino acids you need to take with your food. This can work well if you take high-quality egg whites with a protein shake.
You can, furthermore, get your daily requirement in the form of meat, eggs, fish, dairy products, such as cottage cheese and other protein-rich foods.
However, those who take “excessively” many proteins, may obtain an increased content of uric acid in the blood.
This is caused by the breakdown of the proteins in your body. So that the uric acid content does not harm your body, you should drink a lot of fluids.
Best suited are water, unsweetened teas and fruit juice spritzers. If you want to dive deeper into the topic of proteins, and what is a macronutrient, then let us take a closer look at amino acids.
What Are Amino Acids?
Amino acids are the entire protein, which consists of building blocks, in our body. When several of these amino acids are linked together, the protein is created. Amino acids are vital for the body.
To eat amino acids, your diet should consist of dairy products, fish and meat, for example. As an athlete, you should also take creatine and vitamins for muscle building.
What Effects Do Amino Acids Have on Muscle Building?
The amino acids are an important part of building muscle. Because your muscles need proteins to grow and, as already mentioned above, the proteins are made up of amino acids.
This means that amino acids can positively influence muscle growth.
Keep in mind that you take the amino acids after the workout. This is related to the fact that your body has a higher need for amino acids after training.
In that manner, your body can absorb the amino acids directly and does not have to split them up in the digestive tract, which would be the case with “entire” proteins.
For best results take your amino acids immediately after your workout routine.
If you inflict too few amino acids on your body, then your body takes his requirement out of the muscles, and the muscles are broken down.
An important aspect is also that you consume your amino acids divided throughout the day. You can achieve through special dietary supplements. The advantage of dietary supplements is that they are low in fat, yet they are of high potency.
3. Macronutrient: the sugar/carbohydrates
Your body needs sugar in different versions to gain energy that you can use, for example. during your workout.
- Simple sugars (monosaccharides)
Double sugar (disaccharides)
Multiple sugars (oligosaccharides)
and Poly sugars (polysaccharides)
The first two sugars enter the bloodstream quickly, and your body can absorb them rapidly. Grape sugar, for example, is known to deliver energy fairly quickly, so that your brain or other muscles can quickly recover.
You know the effect that you get from an energy boost after taking glucose.
However, you should only consume simple sugars in moderation as they can quickly make you fat if you eat too many of them.
These sugars are usually recommended only after exercise, as your body will not have the energy reserves (glycogen) in its muscles during this period.
To achieve an anabolic state, you should quickly re-energize your body so that your body can begin to grow. At all other times, multiple and poly sugars are better.
Multiple sugars and poly sugars occur, for example, in wholegrain bread.
These sweet carbs fill you for a long time because the energy is made available gradually to the body. You should prefer to eat these sugars, rather whole wheat bread than butter toast for breakfast.
What is the Most Important Thing You Should Know About Carbohydrate Intake?
Answer: Two words – glycogen and insulin. Glycogens are energy deposits embedded in the muscles for carbohydrates.
If you eat enough carbohydrates, these energy stores fill up and allow the body to use protein fed in food and supplement form to build new muscle mass.
If you’re “kinky” about your carbohydrate intake, the stores empty quite quickly, with the result that protein has to be used as a fuel and, therefore, can’t be available for muscle building processes.
In addition, carbohydrates increase the natural release of a hormone called insulin, which is considered the most powerful anabolic (muscle-building) hormone of the body.
Insulin is very versatile, infiltrating both, amino acids and glucose, (most basic carbohydrate unit) into the muscles to support repair and recovery.
To build your body, you need to make carbohydrates one of the main ingredients in your diet plan.
So When Should You Eat Which and How Many Carbohydrates to Build Muscle?
Here you have to choose between three types of people: “Tough-builder,” “Normalgainer” and “Easygrower.”
Toughgainers struggle with building muscle, but also have the advantage that they get into shape quickly because they have a fast metabolism. They tend to use and consume the carbohydrates so very fast.
Carbohydrate Recommendation: If you want to build muscle as a tough-builder, as a guideline you should take 13 g of carbs per pound of body weight per day for 3-5 meals.
The “Normal-Gainer” is someone who neither gains weight fast nor can he quickly degrade body fat. This group will probably be huge.
Carbohydrate Recommendation: If you see yourself as a “normal-gainer“ and want to build up muscles, you should take about 6.6 g of carbs per pound of body weight per day for 3-5 meals.
Easy- growers are increasing fast. This applies to both muscles and body fat. A disadvantage for this group is that it is not easy for them to break down body fat.
Carbohydrate Recommendation: Should you see yourself as an “easy grower”, or tend to gain weight quickly, you should work with about 2 – 3.3 g of carbohydrates per pound of body weight a day.
This should ensure that you build muscle and do not necessarily put on extra fat.
After recommendations, use only slowly digestible, ie complex carbohydrates, such as wholemeal bread, brown rice, oatmeal, muesli, etc.
Slow-digesting, long-chain carbohydrates keep insulin levels more stable, and, thus, allowing you to burn fat well. They provide long-lasting and constant energy and help prevent unpleasant hunger attacks.
Therefore, my advice for you is that you should get most of your carbs from slowly digestible sources. This is especially the case before your dinner, workouts, and the time between meals.
However, there are two meals that you should consume faster digestible carbs if you want to build muscle: this is breakfast and the meal right after your workout.
Breakfast: (Attention: Does not apply to the Easy-Growers)
At breakfast, it’s all about ending the nocturnal fasting period of your muscles.
Because the body had to live without fresh nutrients for about seven to eight hours, it began to break down amino acids in the muscles and use them to gain energy.
Therefore, your goal should be to stop this process immediately after getting up.
The best way to do this is to take about 20-60 grams of fast digestible protein and a good combination of fast and slowly digestible carbohydrates.
Here, fresh fruit is very good. As mentioned before, fruit contains fructose as well as glucose.
The fructose goes directly to and into the liver, which ends the catabolism, the muscle breakdown.
The glucose migrates directly into the muscles and fills the empty depots. Conclusion: The muscle can start working again.
After training: (This applies to ALL)
The second and most important time is the time after the workout. After your workout, your body and muscles also need fast-digesting protein (whey is great here) and 40-100 grams of fast carbohydrates.
This is the only time of the day when you should eat sweet and very quickly digestible sugar.
The fast-digesting carbohydrates cause your pancreas after your workout to eject the fresh insulin, which then pushes protein and possibly also creatine into your burnt-out and hungry muscles. In this manner, it can start immediately with the regeneration and muscle building.
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