You have probably read in many health and fitness books that building muscle is very important (which is true).Continue reading
Macronutrients are dietary requirements that your body needs in large amounts.Continue reading
Let’s face it, we really are what we eat. We’re all aware of how important it is to properly fuel our body for sustained energy throughout the day. A nutritious breakfast or first meal is critical to this way of thinking. Choosing healthy food options can do wonders for both our mind and body. When used optimally, meaning, food quantity and meal timing, food fuels our brain and muscles like nothing else. No meal is more important, however, than that first meal of the day. This is your first food option in the morning or at noon if you’re into intermittent fasting (IF). How you initially fuel your body after waking, from a fasted state, will set the tone for the rest of the day.
You may have been like me in the past where you were focused on consuming food every 3-4 hours. It may have been important to eat healthy and often to build lean muscle and/or maintain blood sugar levels. As the body ages, eating habits may, however, change. Some people have a tendency to change eating habits, spacing their meal frequency further apart. Not eating for longer periods of time (12+ hours) has been shown through research to be a positive change. The body uses a combination of macronutrients to fuel the brain (carbs) and body (carbohydrates, fats and some protein). Not eating for longer periods of time will adjust the ratio of how the body utilizes carbohydrates and fats for fuel. A higher percentage of stored fat (instead of more carbs) typically get used when doing IF.
What Are Macronutrients and Micronutrients?
Macronutrients are large molecules that our bodies need to function optimally. The big three are carbohydrates, fats and protein. Water and fiber are also considered macronutrients. Conversely, micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, are molecules that we need but in much smaller quantities. Both are very important and all are needed to help your human body function properly.
Nutritious Breakfast Options
Eating eggs or egg whites in the morning may be your thing. Maybe its cold cereal or a piece of toast with peanut butter and banana. All, other than the cold cereal, are healthy, nutritious breakfast options. A combination of macronutrients in a breakfast or snack are important to fuel the body for long periods of time. One key macronutrient is fiber. Many breakfast options, like cold cereal, have minimal or no fiber. Eating fiber helps with gut health, it keeps us feeling satiated and will help reduce the sugar and fat cravings.
A healthy, nutritious breakfast option to give a try is oatmeal. Where not talking instant oat meal out of a package either. Try the type that you cook on the stove (for 5-minutes). It’s loaded with all the macronutrients including fiber. You can add things like nuts and fruit that will increase total calories but also the amount of fiber and protein. The following is a calorie breakdown of a typical bowl of oatmeal that I typically eat. Following that, are additional add-ons like fruit and nuts.
Old Fashion Oats Calorie Breakdown
|1 Cup Oatmeal||150 calories/27 grams CHO/4 grams Fiber/5 grams Protein|
|1 Cup Almond Milk||40 calories/1.5 grams CHO/3.5 g Fat/1.5 g Protein|
|1/2 Cup Walnuts||392 calories/8 grams CHO/39 grams Fat/4 grams Fiber/9 grams of Protein|
|1/2 Banana||45 calories/11 grams CHO/1 gram Protein/6 grams natural sugar|
|1/2 Cup Blueberries||41 calories/10.5 grams CHO/1.7 grams Fiber/0.54 grams Protein/7 grams natural sugar|
|TOTAL||668 calories/58 grams CHO/9.7 grams Fiber/17 grams Protein|
There is sugar in this breakfast option, yes, but it’s natural occurring sugar found in fruit, as opposed to added sugar. Most of the fat comes from the walnuts, this can be optional, keep in mind their a healthy source of fat. To add a little more protein, substitute the walnuts with almonds. The big takeaway though – it contains about 10 grams of healthy fiber and 17 grams of protein. Bonus, adding in a scoop of healthy peanut butter (like this morning) will bring that protein number to 24 grams. Eat healthy, fuel up for your day and workout with smart, nutritious food choices like the ones mentioned here.
A Second Quick Option
When you don’t have the time in the morning to cook your breakfast, try this quick nutritious breakfast option. All you need is a blender and a few ingredients. Add 1-2 cups of almond milk, a scoop of whey protein powder, a banana or other fruit, nuts and sprinkle in some cinnamon and turmeric. This is a perfect high protein drink that will help you start your day off right. It also works as a pre/post workout option. You can go crazy and add the oatmeal to the mix.
Use the Jefit App
Jefit app was named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC Magazine, Men’s Health, The Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your sustainable fitness lifestyle. Stay strong with Jefit!
In life everyone hopes to achieve their ideal body type and look and feel as confident as can be. Confidence can play a role in the way we look. This is because we have an image of ourselves which cannot be shaken. If you want to be more confident and happy in life, choosing a healthier lifestyle will only help your cause. Healthy nutrition, and understanding macronutrients in particular, is a major component in living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
You probably know someone who uses some form of macronutrient counting. Like the macrobiotic school states, “it is about a way of life, making sure everything is balanced in your body each day.” Macronutrient might not be a word you have heard of before. You will likely be familiar, though, with the three types of macronutrients we eat each day: carbohydrates, protein and fat. This article looks at each macro, what it does for the body, and how we can balance them to improve our diet.
If you ask anyone what their favorite food or meal is, it is pretty much guaranteed that carbs are involved. Most meals revolve around the comfort of carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and wheat. Carbohydrates are a type of substance which are found in many different foods. Once broken down, they are converted into energy for the body. Sugar is a type of simple carbohydrate. It metabolizes to form energy and gives us the ability to run around and stay awake through the day.
The macronutrient, carbohydrate in particular, has gotten a bad wrap over the years. As a result, many people won’t even eat carbs now. They fear what they will do to their body. So, let us just stop right there… carbs are good for you. Your brain utilizes carbs on a daily basis for fuel (about 120 grams a day). Without carbohydrates you wouldn’t have the energy to get out of bed, solve math problems or workout. We need carbs to live, so make sure you let yourself eat them! It basically comes down to eating more healthy, complex carbs and less highly processed carbs.
Protein has become less of a macro in recent years as a buzzword for health enthusiasts the world over. Let’s just make things clear here: protein won’t solve all of your problems. In fact, too much protein isn’t a good thing. We all need a healthy dose of protein in our diet each day. Each meal should contain some form of protein. Typically, 25-35 grams of protein in each meal is a good goal. The role of protein in the body is to create and maintain muscle cells and to keep us strong.
There are many reason why many people who train have protein powder. Usually it’s because protein heals injured muscles and keeps them strong enough to train more often each week. Another job which protein handles, that you may not have realized, is to transport hemoglobin around your body. Hemoglobin picks up oxygen atoms from the air we breathe and transports them to our cells. So basically, a low protein intake can have a huge effect on your oxygen intake. In the gym world, this is probably the most important macronutrient in many eyes.
Fat is a part of the body which most of us spend our time trying to lose, so the idea of putting more of it into our bodies each day might just seem like a crazy idea. However, fat is just as important as any other substance in the body and as long as we reach for healthy fats we can still keep a slim and toned figure.
Fat makes up our cell membranes, it’s improves our brain function and nerve system and it can also help us to absorb certain vitamins which are fat soluble. Healthy hat has a lot more to offer for the body than you may think and it is because of this that we should eat a small amount of fat each day. By adding foods such as nuts, oily fish and avocado to your meals you will be providing the body with the fat it needs to function happily.
How to Count Macronutrients
Counting your macros involves thinking about everything you are going to eat during the day and splitting this into your carbs, protein and fat. Think of it like a pie chart and make sure, as an example, that approximately 50 percent of what you eat comes from healthy carbs, 30 percent from protein and 20 percent is fat. You can adjust these amounts slightly to gain more protein and less fat, but as a rule this is a helpful guide to follow.
For example, if you are a female using a calorie count of approximately 1,600 in order to lose some weight, your calories per macronutrient should be similar to these values:
Carbohydrates – 800 calories (divide by 4 to determine the number of gram to eat for the day = 200)
Protein- 480 calories (120 grams)
Fat- 320 calories (divide by 9 to determine the number of grams = 36)
A quick example for a male, looking to drop weight, a calorie count for say 2,700 calories would look like:
Carbohydrate – 1,350 calories (338 grams/day)
Protein – 810 calories (202 grams)
Fat – 540 calories (60 grams)
Keep in mind, these are just rough examples. You are not always going to count your calories each day but having a better understanding where the calories are coming from and how much of each macronutrient you’re consuming can only help on the nutrition side.
A helpful way to keep on track of the macros which you eat is to use an app such as MyFitnessPal which counts your calories for your meals by ingredient. You can see much more clearly where you need to make changes in terms of your ratios. Counting macros this way will allow you to stay healthy and it will also ensure that you maintain your ideal bodyweight too.
Use Jefit to Record and Track All Your Exercise Needs
Jefit is a strength training app used for planning & tracking workouts and helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it offer you the ability to update and share your workout log with a supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.
The amount of bodyweight someone carries does not distinguish between muscle and fat weight. Overall bodyweight does not paint a true picture of how well someone is doing regarding their diet and exercise. For example, when I step onto the scale, it tell me I weight 227 pounds, great. I’m more interested, though, in the ratio of that bodyweight number. Meaning, how muscle and fat do I currently have? What is the ratio of my lean muscle and body fat? This, in my opinion, is the more important question that we should ask ourselves every few months. As an example, my goal is 85 percent lean muscle and 15 percent body fat. If you are female gym-goer maybe that ratio looks like 75/25.
Jefit Body Composition Metrics
The Jefit website offers the ability to record and track the five key health metrics seen below. There is also the ability to input and track bodyweight, girth measurements and percent body fat via Jefit iOS and Android platforms. What is great about the website, however, is the option to see your breakdown of lean muscle mass and fat mass. Check it out!
- Current Weight
- Percent Body Fat
- Lean Body Mass
- Body Fat Mass
- BMI (Body Mass Index)
How to Calculate Fat & Muscle Mass
First, you need your bodyweight and percent body fat numbers. Once you have these, you can then figure out the ratio of muscle and fat mass that comprises bodyweight. A few items to keep in mind. Men have about 3 percent essential fat while women have about 13 percent essential fat. This is the minimal amount of body fat that someone needs to maintain for overall health.
The average college-age male, who is a non-athlete, has about 15 percent body fat, while a female of the same age will have about 23-25 percent. A college athlete will have considerably less body fat. Here are two examples that demonstrate how fat and muscle mass are calculated.
Let’s look at the case study from above from a Jefit user. This is from a 227 pound male who is carrying about 17 percent body fat.
First, multiply bodyweight by percent body fat. The number you get is fat weight mass. In this case, it’s 227 x 16.8 percent = 38.13 pounds, which is the fat mass.
Next, subtract fat weight (38.13) from bodyweight (227), this equates to lean mass (not pure muscle mass) which in this case is about 189 pounds. About 44 percent of this number is pure muscle mass, which in this case, is about 83 pounds. The weight of your bones (skeletal system) comprises 15 percent of your bodyweight.
What the Math Looks Like
227 x 17 percent = 38 pounds of fat weight, therefore, 227 – 38 = 189 pounds of lean mass. It’s important to understand that this number, 189 is comprised of: muscle, bone, connective tissue, fluid, skin, organ weight, etc. Otherwise known as all the good stuff. The 38 pounds is fat or adipose tissue. The ratio for this male individual would be 83/17. Or, 83 percent lean mass and 17 percent fat mass.
Men carry more muscle than women. An average male (18-39 years old) has about 44 percent of their bodyweight made up of muscle mass. About 34 percent of a female’s bodyweight is made up of muscle mass.
Use Jefit to Record & Track your Body Composition Metrics
To ensure an exercise and nutrition program is truly working, record a few baseline numbers mentioned above. Over a period of time, you should experience a slight increase in lean mass, a decrease in fat mass and your ratio should also change. Recording and tracking body composition (and strength) metrics should help keep you motivated. An assessment can be beneficial because it keeps you consistent, with both training and your nutritional intake, because you know at a future date, your metrics will be looked at again for comparison.
One of the biggest trends today surrounds our health. There are resources available on every type of diet. From intermittent fasting, to Keto, low-fat, high/low-carb, high protein diets, you name it. Figuring out what is best for your diet is not about finding the next quick-fix solution for your health, though. The best thing for anyone out there is to watch their consumption (intake) versus exertion – ie: calories entering the body must be smaller than calories being expended. When it comes down to it, a healthy diet is all about balance, and if you are eliminating entire food groups based on a cycle of binging and feeling guilty, you’re never going to get your diet to a place of being healthy.
Eating a Healthy Diet
Health is not just finding a thigh gap, wearing the skinny jeans and enjoying smashed avocado on toast with a perfectly poached egg on top. Health is more than what you eat, it’s how you exercise, how you feel about your body and your mental health all rolled into one. However, what you eat is a big part of the rest of it. If you spend all your time eating foods that aren’t nutritious and are way above the calories you need to fuel your body, you’re going to overeat without even filling the hunger gap that you are feeling. In the end, educating yourself about what your body requires as well as the calories and nutrients in your food is how you can drive yourself toward a healthy diet.
Balancing food that is nutrient-rich and filling with the things that you love (usually food that is high sugar and great tasting, like chocolate) is how to ensure you have a healthy diet that is long-lasting. Restriction and purging isn’t healthy. Labelling food as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ isn’t healthy, either. There is the fact that there are nutrients that our human bodies require for survival, though, and it’s these nutrients that make up the basics of a healthy diet. We’ve written about these six nutrients below, and how you can incorporate them into your day-to-day life.
It’s something that social media influencers seem to be always talking about, from protein powders and bars to chicken and eggs. Protein has the spotlight and it’s not just by bodybuilders, either. It’s an essential part of good health, not only for keeping you fuller for longer, but for good hair, skin and your muscles. Every cell in your body contains protein, so ensuring you have a balanced amount of protein in your diet is important. Meat, fish, chicken, tofu, and eggs are all good sources of protein. You can also find good protein sources in nuts, soy and beans, so if you’re not all into meat you have options.
Contrary to the other stories circulating online, carbohydrates are not evil. They’re not going to be the only thing that will make you fat – because anything you eat in excess will do that. A low-carb craze is on the rise, and this can be dangerous for some, particularly because carbohydrates are necessary for a healthy body. They are fuel for your brain and nervous system and they protect against disease. The catch is to choose carb sources that are wholesome, so whole grains, fiber-rich vegetables and fruits instead of the refined grains. Everything in moderation but choose nutrient-rich carbohydrate alternatives 80 percent of the time.
It often gets a bad name, fat, but healthy fats are delicious to eat as well as being a good fuel for your body. Fat supports your body in its ability to build cells, clot blood and help you to absorb vitamins and minerals properly. It’s high in calories, sure, but those calories are worth ‘spending’ on fats because of their ability to fuel your body correctly. Unsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are found in flaxseeds, seeds, nuts, and fish. Coconut oil is also a popular fat source.
Warding off disease and staying healthy is important, and you need micronutrients and vitamins to make that happen. There are thirteen essential vitamins that the body needs including A, B6, C and D as part of a healthy diet. They can lower the risk of certain cancers and are powerful antioxidants that your body needs to fight off illnesses. Some people like to take vitamin supplements to support their diet, but as long as you are eating a varied and balanced diet, you won’t need to.
In the same way that vitamins work, minerals support the body and are essential for your body to function properly. They build healthy bones and teeth, regulate your metabolism and help you to stay hydrated. Calcium, zinc and iron are the most common and you can find these in a range of your foods. They support your blood cells and hormone creation, with zinc boosting your immune system and wound healing.
You could survive for a few weeks without a source of food, but you cannot survive without water for more than a couple of days. Water rules every system of your body, making up about 62 percent in terms of your body weight. Your muscles and connective tissue – like fascia – are made up of about 70 percent water. Mild dehydration can cause you to feel exhausted, sluggish and impair your physical performance when you are at work. Water improves your mood, boosts your brain function and is a shock absorber and lubricant for the body. You don’t have to chug down water to stay hydrated, not when your diet is laden with fruit and vegetables.
These nutrients are all the basics that constitute a healthy diet. The rest of your health comes from the way that you think about food and how you balance your meals and the timing of those meals.
Use the Jefit App
Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC Magazine, Men’s Health, The Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.
Wondering what to eat before and after a workout? What you munch on can make a difference in your performance and how you feel. This is because there are certain foods that can help maximize your efforts to help make each training session a great training session. Here, we tell you what to eat before and after a workout, so you can reap the benefits every single time.
What to Eat Before and After a Workout: The Best Foods
Before a workout
There are some people who train fasted. People who train fasted might be those doing intermittent fasting, who exercise early in the morning or simply prefer to workout on an empty stomach. Then there are those who need to eat something before a workout. Eating prior to a workout can give you the energy you need to make it all the way to the very end. Like we mentioned before, there are some foods that can give you better benefits than others.
While healthy fats are beneficial to your health, before a workout is not the best time to consume them. They are slow-digesting, meaning that instead of giving you the energy to pump you up before and during your session, it can instead make you feel sluggish (which is the last thing you want to feel while training).
So limit your fat intake, especially if you are doing high-intensity workouts. But if you do need to eat some healthy fats, then it is best to save it for low-moderate intensity exercises.
Focus on Protein
Because you want to focus on losing fat and not muscle, protein is really important. It will assist in preventing muscle catabolism, which is the break down of muscle tissue. In addition, it will also aid in recovery and growth. So make sure that protein is on your meal list as an integral part of each meal.
Focus on Carbs
Carbs are also an important macronutrient to consume prior to a workout. However, the type of carbs you should eat depends on how soon after eating you plan to workout. If you are training 2-3 hours after your meal, then complex carbs are great. If it is anytime less, then simple carbs are the way to go.
What to Eat 2-3 Hours Before a Workout
Consume a source of lean protein with vegetables and brown rice. It’s a classic dish for a reason—it has a great balance of vegetables, protein, and complex carbs. Complex carbs release energy slowly so by the time you train, your body will be ready. Another great meal idea is a veggie omelette with a side of protein on whole grain toast.
What to Eat 1-2 Hours Before a Workout
Protein smoothie with fruit and veggies. Now is the great time to have that protein shake. To amp it up, add some fruit such as a banana or berries, as well as some greens. A handful of spinach, kale, or celery can help you fit in a serving of vegetables.
Oats. Get some carbs in with healthy oats, and add in some protein by mixing in protein powder. This is a versatile dish that you can mix up by changing the flavor of your protein powder. Also, you can include some honey to sweeten it up. This meal will give you slow-releasing energy that will keep you satiated throughout your workout.
What to Eat 30 Minutes – 1 Hour Before a Workout
Now is the time for simple carbs. They are great for 30-minute windows because they break down fast, meaning you will feel energized faster.
Banana. This is a favorite pre-workout snack. It is easy and convenient. It is made up of simple carbs, natural sugars and potassium. However, this is only stored in the body for a limited amount of time so only eat it when you are about to workout soon. Add some peanut or almond butter for some added protein.
Rice cake with peanut/nut butter. A great balance of carbs and protein. Also, it is pretty delicious!
Make sure you drink before you even start exercising. This will keep your body fluids up, which is important as you will lose water through sweating. If you are exercising in the afternoon or night, then make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day.
After a Workout
It is critical that you eat after a workout to replenish the depleted glycogen stores you used during exercise. This will also help speed up the muscle recovery process. For optimal results, try to eat within 30-minutes to 1 hour of exercising.
Again, focus on protein and complex carbs. The protein will help with your muscles in recovery while also assisting in rebuilding new muscles. Carbs will replenish glycogen stores.
Some Meal Ideas
Protein Shake. A protein shake isn’t required after a workout but the reason why you may see people filling up those shakes post-workout is that it is a convenient way to quickly get that protein in. Choose your favorite flavor and try to mix in some fruit for some carbs like a banana or some berries.
Protein, vegetables and rice. If you are still confused on what to eat before and after a workout, you can never go wrong with this dish. This meal works just as well post-workout as it does pre-workout. It has a great balance of the important things you need to refuel your body. For a veggie option, try black beans as it is a great mix of carbs and protein as well.
Greek yogurt, berries and granola. Choose Greek yogurt over regular yogurt as it has more protein. The berries are micronutrients which can aid in muscle recovery, with a side of carbs in the form of granola. Delicious!
Chicken sandwich on whole grain toast with a side of salad/vegetables. Don’t like chicken? Swap it for beef, turkey, or even tofu and beans. This is a great mix of carbs, protein, and your greens.
Pita Bread and Hummus. Dip some yummy pita bread into hummus for a great carb/protein balanced meal. It’s a great vegetarian option for those who follow a meat-free diet.
Other Key Points
Now you know what to eat before and after a workout, don’t forget to stay hydrated. Water plays a vital role in your body—whether it is before or after training. So drink up!
A simple way to remember what to eat before and after a workout, just remember your protein, carbs, and vegetables. That should give you a good balance of the important nutrients and minerals you need.
Track Your Progress with Jefit
Jefit is a workout log app that comes with a customizable workout planner, schedule, and exercise routines. It also comes with like-minded people who can help you decide what to eat before and after a workout, share training tips, advice, and wins. Use the Jefit app to get on track with your fitness goals, and join our members-only Facebook page here!