If you have a goal of putting on lean muscle mass, you’ll want to focus on getting the right percentage of protein, carbs and fat.
The macronutrient ratio you’ll actually need will depend on several different factors. By understanding them, you’ll be better equipped to choose the best ratio for your body and goals. To start, your ratio will depend on whether you are building muscle, maintaining it, or trying to keep your muscle while you burn away additional fat.
The amount of protein you’ll need, for example, shifts depending on whether you’re aiming to bulk up, reduce fat or keep everything just as it is. It would be very convenient if there was a magic macronutrient ratio that would work for all people, but that has yet to be discovered. Anyone who tries to sell you a single ratio that will work for all shapes, sizes and goals does not have a complete understanding of the human body and the way it uses its nutrients.
Choosing a Macronutrients Diet
By taking a closer look at your goals and your shape, you’ll be able to fine tune your macronutrient ratio diet to work for you. This will let you build and maintain your lean muscle mass while clearing away the unwanted fat that just covers up all your great work.
Start by examining your fitness goals. Would you prefer to focus on building lean muscle mass or burning fat? Yes, it would be wonderful to do both, but it’s better to focus on one goal at a time so you can do it very well. From there, you can shift things up and work on the other goal. For now, let’s just take one step at a time.
It’s true that you can achieve some degree of lean muscle mass growth and fat loss at the same time, but when you focus on one or the other, you will be able to get far more powerful results from your main goal. The reason is that lower carb ratios tend to help you speed up your body fat burning and higher carb ratios support lean muscle mass growth.
As you become accustomed to following a macronutrient ratio diet, you will be able to make incremental shifts to support muscle building, then fat burning, then muscle building again. This can make it seem as though the two goals are being reached simultaneously. That said, you should master doing one of them first, then move on to try to achieve two incrementally.
While there is a certain amount of research indicating that intermittent fasting can help to achieve both fat burning and lean muscle growth, the study results are inconsistent and it appears that while it may be very effective in some individuals, it’s far less so among others.
Choosing The Right Macronutrients Ratio For You
When it comes to actually choosing the right macronutrient ratio specific to your fitness goals, many dietitians, nutritionists and doctors use the following:
- For lean muscle growth – 40 to 60 percent carbs, 25 to 35 percent protein and 15 to 25 percent fat.
- For fat loss – 10 to 30 percent carbs, 40 to 50 percent protein and 30 to 35 percent fat.
- For maintenance – 30 to 50 percent carbs, 25 to 35 percent protein and 25 to 35 percent fat.
It’s important that you keep your dietary fats up to at least 15 percent. The reason is that your body requires fat molecules to be able to build hormones and if your hormones are suppressed from having consumed too little fat, your body functions – including muscle growth – will suffer. You can also place yourself at a number of different health risks, including malnutrition as a whole spectrum of vitamins are fat soluble.
The next thing you will need to take into consideration as you fine tune your ratio is your body shape. In terms of body building, there are three main body types: ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph. The odds are that none of them will perfectly describe you. You’re likely going to find that you’re more of a blend between either ectomorph and mesomorph or endomorph and mesomorph.
That said, try to design your macronutrient diet around the body shape that you most closely resemble, even if it doesn’t fit you to a T.
- An ectomorph body shape is essentially slender with smaller shoulders and chest. This usually means a rapid metabolism. It’s easy for this body type to get lean but tough to build mass. To get the most out of the aforementioned ratios (based on your goal), try to aim for the higher side of the carbs, then fill in the remainder with the proteins and fats accordingly.
- An endomorph has a softer body which is usually either apple- or pear-shaped. The build is stockier, limbs are shorter and your metabolism is slower. It’s very easy for you to put on fat around your middle. That said, it’s also easy for you to build muscle pretty quickly. As a result, you will need to choose your fitness goal and then work your ratio around carbohydrate consumption on the lower end of the range.
- If you are a mesomorph, you tend to be naturally muscular. You may describe your body as being athletic. Shoulders are broad, muscles are well defined and the overall bone structure is dense. You likely don’t struggle much with either fat burning or fat loss. That said, you do gain fat more quickly than an ectomorph would. Try to aim for the middle range of the carbohydrate, protein and fat ratio for your fitness goal.
A final consideration often includes gender. That said, the difference between men and women when it comes to the correct macronutrient ratio for their fitness goals may not be as big as you think. Overall, similar ranges of carbohydrates, proteins and fats are required based on fitness goals and body shapes, regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman.
That said, women do tend to find it harder to build muscle mass and to burn body fat overall. Research also indicates that women’s bodies tend to rely more heavily on fat as a source of fuel during a workout. As a result, when choosing the right ratio based on your fitness goals, a woman should nearly always require a lower number of carbs than a man regardless of whether they are building muscle, burning fat or maintaining.
This can seem quite overwhelming at first, but with a bit of guidance from a dietitian or doctor, the learning curve can be a quick one. Resist the urge to consult with your personal trainer, but look to a nutrition specialist with experience in muscle building instead. You’re far likely to obtain accurate information that way.
Macronutrient Diets Reviews
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