Nutrition Made Easy! Nutrition is fundamental to bodybuilding, whether enhanced or not, bulking, cutting, or even maintaining, it is important to know what you are giving your body, both quantity and quality. There is alot of broscience surrounding this topic and i hope, through this thread i, as well as others can dispel as much broscience as possible. Calories / Kilojoules A calorie or a kjoule is a unit of energy, 1 calories = 4.18400 kjoules, in Australia packaging usually displays kjoules. To convert kjoules to calories simply divide by 4.2 (or for simplicity divide by 4). Calories are the probably the best way to calculate energy for food, it is alot more simple than kjoules in my opinion. Macro-nutrients There are four main types of macro-nutrients that make up the majority of our diets, they are; alcohol, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. We will discuss only the latter three. Fats Fats or 'fatty acids' come in the form of either triglycerides or phospholipids, dietary fat is the only macronutrient which yields greater energy (ATP) when metabolized compared to other macronutrients. Virtually every cell in the human body can use fatty acids as fuel. Generally, the general pop consumes too much dietary fat in the form of 'junk food', that isnt to say dietary fat should be completely eliminated from the diet since fat plays an important role in satiety, neural and hormonal health. Dietary fat contains 9 calories per gram as opposed to 4 calories from protein or carbohydrates. Fats are classified as either saturated or unsaturated (polyun-monun-saturated) for sake of simplicity we will refer to fat, as fat, since all contain 9 calories per g. How much fat you need is dependent on multiple factors which we will discuss under 'calculating macronutrient needs' Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are compounds made up of only carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. They are the main source of fuel for the body, they provide quick, sustained, and prolonged energy when compared to other macronutrients. Carbohydrates are divided in four chemical grouping: Monosaccharides: 'mono' meaning singular, are the most simplest of carbohydrates, such as glucose. They provide the quickest form of energy and require little to no digestion. Disaccharides: 'di' meaning double, disaccharides are formed when two monosaccharides undergo condensation. Examples include sucrose (being made up of glucose and fructose), maltose (being made up of two glucose compounds) good source of quick energy, require some digestion. Oligosaccharide: 'olgio' meaning few, an oligosaccharides is a saccharide polymer containing a small number (usually two to ten) of simple sugars (monosaccharides). Olgiosaccharides act as prebiotics in the gut flora, they usually come in the form of fibers. Polysaccharides: 'poly' meaning many, are long carbohydrate molecules of monosaccharide units joined together by bonds, these are the most complex of all carbohydrates and take the longest to digest. Examples of polysaccharides are starch such as rice, potatoes, maize, wheat, etc. They are the best types of carbohydrates for sustained energy and blood glucose levels. How much carbohydrates you need is dependent on multiple factors which we will discuss under 'calculating macronutrient needs' Protein Proteins are made up of amino acids, proteins are one of the basic components of food and makes all life possible. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. All of the antibodies and enzymes, and many of the hormones in the body are proteins. They provide for the transport of nutrients, oxygen and waste throughout the body. They provide the structure and contracting capability of muscles. They also provide collagen to connective tissues of the body and to the tissues of the skin, hair and nails. Proteins contain 4 calories per gram. Calculating macronutrient and caloric needs This is probably the most controversial topic in the nutritional world today, there are so many variances, schools of thoughts, 'calculators' and what not that tout they know your macronutrient and caloric needs. It couldnt be any further from the truth, however the information and calculators put out there are just a starting point for your diet, however tweaking is almost always needed. Ratios do not work ratios can either overestimate or underestimate grossly all of the macronutrients your body needs (mainly when bulking). 1. Protein: Protein intake is a bit of a controversial issue in nutrition. The general recommendations given in the 'bodybuilding' area are nearly double the 'standard' recommendations given in the Sports Nutrition Arena. The GENERAL sports nutrition guideline based on clinical trials suggest that in the face of ADEQUATE calories and CARBS the following protein intakes are sufficient: 1.4 to 2.2g per KG bodyweight is usually a great starting point. BUT researchers also acknowledge that protein becomes MORE important in the context of LOWER calorie intakes, or LOWER carb intakes. Recent evidence also suggests that protein intakes of 3g/kg help with physiological and psychological stressors associated with high volume or intense training. DANGER OF EXCESS PROTEIN There is plenty of information out there that examine the dangers of excess protein, these range from ammonia, nitrogen, urea, creatinine buildup, some studies suggest that excess protein can lead to osteoporosis, renal impairment etc, there is some information that indicated excessive protein intake can even lead to death (people may remember rabbit death syndrome) Someone weighing 75kg does NOT need to intake 350g per day, this is a classic example of idiocy and misinformation, this can lead to a heap of physiological diseases in the long term. it would be better to lower your protein and up your carbs! 2. Fats: Generally speaking, although the body can get away with short periods of very low fat, in the long run your body NEEDS fat to maintain health, satiety, and sanity. Additionally - any form of high intensity training will benefit from a 'fat buffer' in your diet - which controls free radical damage & inflammation. General guides: Average or low bodyfat: 1 - 2g fat/ kg body weight High bodyfat: .5-1g fat/ Kg body weight Note: Total fat intake is NOT the same as 'essential fats' (essential fats are specific TYPES of fats that are INCLUDED in your total fat intake)... 3. Carbs: For carbs there are no specific 'requirements' for your body so - but carbs are important for athletes, ACTIVE individuals, or those trying to GAIN MASS. [carbs help with workout intensity, health, & satiety (+ sanity)]. This means if you are an athlete involved in a good volume of training I would suggest you CALCULATE a requirement for carbs as a PRIORITY - then go back and calculate protein / fat: Moderately active: 3.5 - 4.5 g/ kg High active: 5 - 7 g/ kg INTENSE activity: + 8g / kg These are just general guidelines to follow, obviously a person holding more LEAN mass will get away with eating more carbs than someone with less lean mass and depending on your goal (cutting maintaining or bulking) you will need to adjust macronutrients to accommodate for your caloric goal. (i.e removing 10-20% of above guidelines to hit your required caloric goal) Calculating Caloric Needs This is dependent on MANY factors such as; activity level, body fat, height, age, lifestyle, etc. There are two main schools of thoughts to calculate your caloric needs these are; the 'Harris-Benedict formula' and 'Mifflin-St Jeor' again these are just guidelines to go by. I have created alittle excel sheet where you can calculate all said information above easily and convieniently here (please look at the AVERAGE column for your daily intake of calories): https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/72579694/Calculator.xlsm it also has an option to input your bodyfat percent which will calculate your caloric needs more accurately. i have also put a macro split, keto (ratios*2) and standard (ratios*2) along with an alternative which takes into account; several studies that examined the affects of different amounts of carbs, fats, and protein on body composition, protein synthesis/breakdown, lipid synthesis/breakdown. (trying to find those studies to post them up as reference). Or you may prefer to use this online calculator which will calculate your estimated TDEE based on the time you actually spend performing activities such as intense exercise, walking, sitting, sleeping etc instead of relying on just an activity multiplier number - http://www.health-calc.com/diet/energy-expenditure-advanced Again these are just good estimates, you will most likely need to adjust slightly from there, but is a good starting point! Meal timing Meal timing is another controversial issue in the nutritional world, and the answer is not exact. The research shows meal timing can be beneficial, however most of the studies done to examine the affects of meal timing have one major design flaw; that is, whey was used as the sole source of protein in the diet. (Layne Norton likes referencing these studies). The major issue here is the digestion time / rate, whey being a quick digesting protein requiring little to no digestion will skew results differently to, say a steak which requires hours or even days to digest fully. At any one given moment, your gut can have food from yesterday, still being digested and providing nutrients for your body. The only time meal timing may be of importance is pre-workout, if one was to train fasted they may feel lethargy or no energy to train, a meal an hour to two hours before a workout will provide a good amount of energy, outside of this there is no real conclusive evidence to suggest meal timing has any impact on body composition as opposed to macronutrient and calorie intake. It is well established that post workout protein synthesis is increased for upto 72 hours post workout, so immediate post workout nutrition is of less importance, in fact there is evidence to suggest that post workout nutrition can be sub-optimal; Growth hormone peaks post workout for upto 45 minutes, there is one hormone that blunts the output of GH....INSULIN! Insulin is probably the only hormone that has the capability to blunt the response of GH, eating post workout increases insulin (doesnt matter if its just protein, or fat, or even carbs). Fun fact: Whey is more insulinogenic than white bread. The human body is capable of anything you throw at it, give it too much food and it will reduce digestive enzymes give it too little and it will increase (along with other hormones that illicit hunger pains). When it comes to meal timing, this is largely based on your convenience, personally I follow a IF (intermittent fasting) approach, I fast 16 hours a day and eat within an 8 hour window, I find it more convenient for me, there is some research to show that IF is beneficial if youd like to learn more about IF, Lyle Mcdonald has a great site to explain IF and other types of dieting. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/) IIFYM / Clean eating / Flexible dieting IIFYM: If It Fits in Your Macros is the most flexible of flexible dieting, maybe even somewhat extreme in todays youth. IIFYM is the thought that if it fits in your daily macro / caloric needs for the day it is safe to eat even if it is not particularly 'clean' (i.e doughnuts, sugar-filled junk, etc). In theory IIFYM works, strictly speaking, if you were to get your daily caloric and macro intake from 'junk' foods alone, it would be the same as 'clean foods'. The main issue here is fiber and micronutrient intake. Fiber and micronutrient intake is just as important as macro and caloric intake, the problem with IIFYM is that many do not get (or even know how much) enough fiber or micronutrients in them. (or follow IIFYM not as it was intended originally) On the other extreme we have 'clean eating' which is the thought that all macro and caloric intake should be in the form micronutrient dense food, generally speaking this is the lesser of the two evils. The problem with 'clean eating' is that it sets up the dieter for insanity / binge eating and is not sustainable in the long run. The best is a mix between the two (vanilla IIFYM), attempt to fill your caloric and macro needs with as much micronutrient dense 'clean food' as you can, and if you feel you need a sweet treat or some 'bad, junk food' then simply add it to your macro and caloric goals and dont feel bad about it! The main goal is to fill in your caloric and macro intake, secondly is to fill them with as much micronutrient dense food as possible. Fiber and Fluid intake Fiber: There are two main types of fiber; Soluble; dissolves in water. It is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active byproducts, and can be prebiotic and/or viscous. Soluble fibers tend to slow the movement of food through the system. (examples of soluble fiber are; lentils, oats, carrots, cucumbers, pears, psyllium, peas, beans, etc) Insoluble; does not dissolve in water. It can be metabolically inert and provide bulking or prebiotic, metabolically fermeting in the large intestine. Bulking fibers absorb water as they move through the digestive system, easing defecation. Fermentable insoluble fibers mildly promote stool regularity, although not to the extent that bulking fibers do, but they can be readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active byproducts. Insoluble fibers tend to accelerate the movement of food through the system. (examples of insoluble fiber are; nuts, cabbage, onions, whole wheat, rice, potato skin, etc) More than not you will get both soluble and insoluble fiber when ingesting fiber containing products (like apples, tomatoes, potatos with skin, cucumbers, etc) How much fiber do you need? according to NHMRC (aus RDA) a minimum requirement of; 25g of fiber for women and 30g of fiber for men is recommended. There is no 'upper limit' set for fiber intake, however some medical journals suggest no more than 60g of fiber to avoid gut problems. Water / Fluids: Water is the essence of life, every part of the human body is made up of water. In fact every living organism on this planet is made up of water, water is essential to life and life is dependent on water. According to NAS a minimum requirement of at least 3L per day is to be observed and an optimal amount of 4L for adults, (this includes all soft drinks, milk, etc) Water intake becomes more important in the presence of exercise, as you sweat you need to replenish the lost water by drinking more water. If you are participating in long duration of exercise (i.e marathons) it is also important to replenish electrolytes, excess water intake without adequate electrolyte intake can lead to hyponatremia (an electrolyte disturbance). The best way to counteract the affects of electrolyte imbalance caused by exercise is to put abit of salt in your sports drink if it doesnt contain electrolytes already. (1/4 teaspoon is a good starting point). Supplementation Supplementation is a multi-billion dollar industry, people get sucked into buying things they do not really need. The reality is, supplementation is not needed, your diet has a more profound impact on body composition and energy levels than any legal supplement can ever have. However, the only supplements worth taking (with science to back them up) are; Fish oil (lubricate and help joint and inflammation, with countless other benefits) Protein to hit your macros if you can not eat enough (even then i would still suggest to eat more protein rather than a protein shake) Zinc & Magnesium (helps sleep and endocrine function) Vitamin D (a hormone, not a vitamin, with a plethora of studies to prove its efficiency) Creatine (if it works for you, most likely it wont if you have your diet 100% spot on) BCAA (again, if your not getting enough protein in the diet BCAA will help, but i question its helpful-ness in an environment with plenty of amino acids) Everything else (i.e pre-workout, colostrum, testosterone support, natural test boosters, etc) are just luxuries, and are most likely to have no impact on your training or body composition in the long term. Your better of putting your hard earned moola buying quality food and supporting our aussie farmers. Tracking Macros There are plenty of ways to track your macros. Some app developers have made it easier than ever! now you can track your macros conveniently on your phone or PC. Here are some ways to track your macros: www.myfitnesspal.com www.livestrong.com www.calorieking.com www.fatsecret.com.au www.fitday.com (You can also search the above names in the Android Market or Apple App Store and get an application for them) Alternatively, if your old school a pen and pad goes a long way :d_sunny: When Creating a Thread To best ensure help is given appropriately, please include the following when creating a thread in regards to diet; Gender Age Height Weight Bf% (if known) Daily activity level (i.e desk job, laborer, etc) How many times a week do you workout & what does your training program consist of Your goals This helps people to give advice tailored to your needs, it also helps because if you dont include them you can be sure that we'll be asking so best get it out of the way! *some of the information above is re-written information from other sites, I've read the sources, agreed with them and added some things to them, dont flame. Information provided is not to prevent, cure, or treat any diseases. If anyone has any questions, corrections, etc post below! #teamflex approved.