Let’s get this new year started right! If you really want to change your health, body, and performance in life, you must be aware of what you are eating. This doesn’t mean you must be a neurotic mess, just that it’s imperative to be aware of your needs to get to your goals. It doesn’t have to involve a highly restrictive, starvation diet. I am going to start laying out a plan for you all to follow and adjust for yourselves.
This is going to require some math. Take a deep breath, we can do this!
Step 1: Figuring out how many calories you need per day. Yes, calories do matter when it comes to managing your weight. This is not an exact science, therefore I am just going to give you a link to a website that has the most common formulas all set up for you to punch in your info. Calculatorfor determining calorie needs. Err on the side of less active. I find our perception of our level of activity is a little off from these calculators. If you want to lose weight, drop the number you get from the calculators by 200-300 calories per day. Do the opposite if you want to gain weight. (No more than this to begin with.)
Step 2: Figuring out your major nutrient needs. These are called macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Let’s start with protein. The range is .8 to 1g per lb of bodyweight. Ex: I weigh 163lbs, therefore my range is between 130.4g to 163g of protein per day. Please remember a gram of PROTEIN is different than a gram of meat. Meat (or other protein source) you weigh in ounces typically and each ounce has a certain number of protein grams. Next is carbohydrates: the range is 1.0g to 2.0g per lb of bodyweight. This is a very large range. The higher ranges are for longer, harder workouts or for people who are naturally very lean. I know CrossFit workouts feel very hard, but typically they are short, so unless you are doing several workouts in a day, stay on the lower side. Lastly, we must figure out our fat. This is where the math comes in. Are you ready? Fat grams=[number of calories-(grams of protein x 4)-(grams of carbohydrates x 4)]/9 AHHHHHHHHH. Did I just lose you? Ex: Ok, I determine I need 2000cal per day. I am going to have 163g of both protein and carbs. So, my algebra formula looks like this: [2000-(163×4)-(163×4)]/9. The answer is 77.3 grams of fat. The nine is just the number of calories in one gram of fat.
Step 3. Now you have all your numbers, what the heck do you do with them? Decide what is a realistic number of meals for yourself per day. Let’s say you choose four. Then divide each macronutrient by four and build your meals around those numbers. Ex: 163 divided into four meals is 40.75, let’s call it 40 for ease. 77/4 is 19.25, 19 for ease. Ok, I realize quickly there is no way on this earth I am going to eat 40g of protein each meal. I just don’t enjoy chewing meat that much. My options are to adjust the protein down and increase one of the other macros OR to split my protein up a little bit more and do a protein shake. 40g of carbs is easy and 19g of fat is easy for each meal, so no need to change anything there!
Next week, I will further break this down into simpler ways to build your meals if you do not enjoy counting everything. Finally, we will discuss how to adjust to meet your goals.