Food for Thought: Why “If It Fits Your Macros” Doesn’t Matter

With the rise of the macro-based diet, I feel it's important to share a valuable perspective.  Article from OPEX Fitness.

poptart.jpg

First, please STOP eating pop tarts and pretending it’s healthy. Honestly, look at the ingredients.

Are you serious?! Does that look like a healthy way to fuel your body?

Excuse my rant, but the whole philosophy of “it fits your macros” is lazy. It stems from the current culture that enjoys instant gratification and doesn’t like planning, consistency and effort.

The question always comes up at athlete camps or during consults with new clients.

“Well ‘X’ athlete eats this and they are still performing at a high level.”

My response is always, WHAT IF they actually took care of their bodies properly? Imagine the possibilities. And to be quite frank, the reason they can get away with it is because they are simply more resilient. Eventually there is a point where resiliency ends and changes NEED to be implemented in order to function. NOT just perform but also to live our daily lives in health.

Don’t eat shit food and expect it not to have an adverse effect (if not now, it’s a comin’). There are multiple reasons why, they should be fairly clear unless you enjoy quick sprints to the toilet at unpredictable times.

Here are reasons in detail:

  1. The gut is king, is makes up about 70% (approximately) of your immune system. Creating the right eco system with clean food choices that do not challenge our body’s ability to digest fuel.
  2. The gut contains 100 trillion microorganisms with up to 3,000 bacterial species. Once harmful toxin producing bacteria from poor food choices are prevalent the immune system is severely compromised.
  3. The western diet with its abundance of processed foods, together with increasing sanitization of our homes, poor water and compromised environments have reduced the bacterial diversity creating dysbiosis.
  4. The proper balance of flora in the digestive tract allows nutrients to be absorbed appropriately.
  5. Compromising the gut with poor food choices can results in decreased performance, frequent fatigue, poor digestion, inflammation, frequent colds/sickness, allergies and possible poor sleep. The GI tract is the gateway to optimal health and performance.

At OPEX we start with a simple philosophy. First, when analyzing nutrition prescription and dissecting macronutrients, we look at the individual’s goal. That is the base of all nutrition prescriptions, including specific macronutrients for the client. Next, we start simple with asking the clients about basic food hygiene principles which are essential to ACTUALLY using the macronutrients digested.

Simple hygiene principles that I send some of my clients are as follows:

  1. AVOID eating out, simple, make your own food, NOTHING processed. EAT real foods 
  2. Chew slowly per bite and sit down to eat per meal relaxed setting – don’t work while you eat, NO stress. ENJOY the process of eating.
  3. Digestion. It requires a one word sentence as it’s so important. It’s king, when you put food in your mouth, it is a 36-44 hour investment in most people.
  4. Get up and go to bed same time every day for next month…changing this has a LARGE impact on food digestion and stress. Circadian rhythm should be followed and consistently the same. 
  5. GET SUN
  6. Lower anxiety and stress especially during times of food consumption
  7. COOK your food
  8. PREP foods and be consistent with making enough for leftovers. HOME cooked meals are always best. 

Lastly, as a coach I consistently assess nutrition and then design a plan based upon what the client presents with. THUS, if these simple pieces are not being followed, macronutrients become less important as the system is not absorbing the nutrients properly, which essentially sets them up for failure. We have a saying at OPEX; Clients have to EARN macronutrient plans by being compliant with hygiene principles and showing consistency with other SIMPLE principles like a specific amount of protein and drinking ½ your BWT in ounces of water per day.

Don’t follow the craze, stop being lazy and understand what needs to be in place for you to perform (whatever that may mean for you). Be smart about what you are putting in to your body to fuel daily, stop making shitty decisions because Instagram and Facebook say it’s the gateway to look like me!

Clean, healthy and performance can be done, it’s proven. Lebron James spends over a million dollars on his recovery throughout the entire year. One specifically is a full time chef that knows the ins and outs of his body to ensure his food profile is perfect to align with what’s most important, recovering post and fueling for the next.