Is it for me?
The first reason you must pay attention to a macro split diet is that it can determine the level of lean muscle mass you have, note that any time you move into a state of being in a calorie deficit, you are going to be at risk of lean muscle mass loss. This is because you are taking in less energy than your body needs to sustain itself and there is always that chance that it will turn to lean tissues as a fuel source. In a perfect world, we would have all the necessary energy come from body fat stores but we don’t live in a perfect world and we are all busy mums!
What I do see is when clients are eating the right macro split – more importantly, the right amount of protein – their chances of experiencing lean muscle mass go up considerably.
If your protein is too low, your body may start to utilize some of the incoming protein as an energy source, which now means there’s not enough left over for supporting your lean muscle mass tissue.
By raising your protein intake and using a macro split that favours protein over carbs and fats, you ensure that even if some of that protein is utilized for energy, you’ll still have more than enough left over to help maintain lean muscle mass tissue. And in your daily eating plan you can already see you have to eat protein at every meal and snack time. Working out a proper caloric intake and ideal protein consumption takes some planning, so if you want to talk further about this, get in touch with me.
Also, on an incorrect macro split, you see that the end result is losing overall body fat weight, rather than muscle mass tissue. If you use an approach that takes protein too low, you may lose weight but you may end up looking like a smaller, but a thicker version of your current self, this is known as skinny fat!
The second reason you’ll want to be considering your macro split when on a body fat loss plan is because it will influence your energy level. If you aren’t getting the proper level of carbohydrates on your eating plan, you may find that you struggle to put in your top performance at the gym or at home and I’ve talked about this before. Your workouts will suffer, your strength will go down, and you’ll find yourself getting more and more frustrated with the program.
Carbohydrates are essential for a hard workout and the more intense workouts you do, the more carbs you’re going to need. Protein has a higher ‘thermic effect of food’ meaning your body will expend more energy breaking down protein than it would if you had eaten carbohydrates or dietary fats. So, there is no perfect macro split for weight loss for everyone. Rather, there is a perfect macro split for you. You need to take a look at your entire lifestyle, what you plan to do if you choose to go on a macro split, determine how you will split your macros and whether you need help.
Also if you cut out most of the carbohydrates out of your diet plan, you’ll have a hard time meeting your intake needs for dietary fibre as well as key antioxidants. Getting enough dietary fibre is so important for your blood glucose levels, keeping your hunger levels in control and maintaining regular bowel movements. Those folk on low-carb, high-fat fat diet plans often find this really messes with their digestive systems and they end up with constipation or having to run to the loo 5 times a day! You can avoid this if you stick with your healthy greens, coleslaw, lots of veges, Heavenly Fitness loving eating plan!
Low-fat diets have their issues too. In fact I can’t stand them! Fat is an essential nutrient that you must be taking in as you go about your approach and if you cut it too low, your hormone levels can suffer and you may find that your appetite levels get out of control. Fat is a hunger satisfying nutrient which is so important, we just need to make sure we are eating the right kind of fats. So, keep up with that slug of flaxseed oil on your salad and veges and don’t be afraid of avocados, cottage cheese and feta (thanks Vicky Gibbs for pointing out how awesome this food is.)
Lastly, chasing the protein dragon…
Protein has that ‘thermic effect of food’ meaning your body will expend more energy breaking down protein than it would if you had eaten carbohydrates or dietary fats. This means you net fewer calories overall, so it could help tilt the scales in terms of weight loss in your favour. The leaner you get, the less likely your body is willing to give up those fat stores, as now it views that fat as essential for survival.
With your Heavenly Fitness eating plan you are already on a higher protein macro ratio and you can eat a few more calories because of it and if you keep your calorie level constant, you’ll lose weight a little faster thanks to the extra metabolic boost you are getting from consuming that higher level of protein.
The leaner you get, the less likely your body is willing to give up those fat stores, as now it views that fat as essential for survival. The lower your body fat is while dieting, the higher your risk of losing lean muscle mass will be because of this so for you, a higher protein macro split may be preferable. If on the other hand, you have 10 kilos to lose, chances are, your body isn’t going to be that concerned about losing some fat and won’t be experiencing nearly the same threat to losing lean muscle mass. Hence as you get leaner the harder it is to shift those last few inches! I’ve noticed as folk get leaner they enjoy a higher protein intake (2-3g per kilo of body weight) but trying to hit that amount of protein got me coining the ‘chasing the protein dragon’ phrase! It does make it easier to hit your weight goals though, because you are fueling your body and feeling satiated.
So there you have it – is there a perfect macro split for weight loss? The answer is yes, but it’s highly individual and if you want to talk more, meet me for a coffee!