Hey Angels and Alphas,
The vast majority of dietary recommendations give advice based on calories (e.g., ingest 2,000 calories per day), serving sizes (e.g., a serving of protein is the size of your palm), or percentages (i.e., fat should be 30 percent of total intake).
While many people may find these recommendations helpful, athletes have a more specialized set of recommendations: grams per kilogram of body weight (g/kg).
By giving these kind of details, recommendations may be made that are tailored to an athlete’s particular dietary requirements. For instance, an athlete with exceptionally high calorie requirements who gets 15% of calories from protein may ingest considerably more protein than necessary. On the other hand, most athletes would have a severe energy deficit if they strictly adhered to 2,000 calories per day.
Depending on an athlete’s level and volume of training, a suggested daily carbohydrate consumption ranges from 4 to 12 g/kg.
The range of daily protein consumption is 1.6–2.2 g/kg.
Once protein and carbohydrate requirements have been satisfied, fat intake is permitted in amounts that cover the remaining demands, which may exceed the recommended 30 percent for non-athletes.
In addition to daily intake requirements, pre- and post-workout requirements are also provided in this format to guarantee the athlete is getting enough nutrition. Anyone heavily invested in their training should look at their intake in this way.
Here are a few instances of how adjusting consumption to account for body weight:
Example 1: CARBS BEFORE EXERCISE
Three hours before exercise, athletes are advised to consume 3 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight.
Athlete 1: 54-kilogram cyclist (118 pounds)
54 x 3 Equals 162 grams of carbohydrates, according to our equation.
An example of a meal is two cups of oatmeal with one banana, one cup of orange juice, and two tablespoons of maple syrup.
Athlete 2: An 83-kilogram cyclist (183 pounds)
83 times three equals 249 grams of carbohydrates.
Example of a meal: 2 slices of bread, 3 cups oatmeal, 1 banana, 1 cup orange juice, 4 tablespoons maple syrup.
The heavier cyclist would be more likely to perform poorly and even experience bonking if they consumed food based on what the lighter person needed. The lighter individual would probably feel lethargic and eventually gain weight if they consumed the heavier person’s quantities.
EXAMPLE 2: PROTEIN NEEDS
Many people believe that the body can only use a quantity of protein—roughly 20 to 25 grams—per meal.
This approach is suitable for a 110-pound runner who would eventually consume about 100 grams of protein between meals and snacks. However, if limiting meals to 25 grams of protein, a 200-pound lifter would fall approximately 50% short of the recommended 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. The breakdown of protein intake by body weight would appear as follows:
Athlete 1: 50-kilogram (110-pound) runner
The math is as follows: 50 kg x 1.8 g protein = 90 g protein/day = 30 g protein/meal.
Typical meal: 4 ounces of flank steak, 1 cup of cooked sweet potato, 2 tbsp. of peanut sauce, and 1 cup of broccolini
Athlete 2: 90-kilogram (200-pound) lifter
The calculation: 91kg x 2.2 grams protein = 200 grams protein/day = 67 grams per meal
Typical meal: 1 cup cottage cheese, 1 cup lentil soup, 2 hard boiled eggs, and a 6-inch turkey avocado sub.
EXAMPLE 3: FAT INTAKE
An average person’s daily calorie intake for fat should be around 30%.
This equates to 66 grams of fat per day on a typical 2,000 calorie diet. It is crucial for athletes’ performance that they consume enough protein and carbohydrates before turning to fat for the remainder of their energy needs.
After protein and carb needs are satisfied depending on individual caloric needs, fat is added to the diet to balance it out. This adds some complexity to the calculation. Instead of using grams per kilogram, the equation goes like this: Total daily calories desired – (carbohydrate g/kg x 4 + protein demands g/kg x 4) = calories remaining for fat.
Consuming nutrients based on body weight ensures you are fueling your muscles to perform, recover from training and maintain general good health. If this way of thinking about nutrition is confusing, get in touch with a sports dietitian who can make a nutrition plan to meet your needs.
When you eat according to your macros, you can be sure that your muscles are getting the nutrition they need to work well, recover from exercise, and stay healthy in general.