Sports Nutritionist: The Basics

So, last week I posted about this new change that was happening in my life–I had visited a sports nutritionist to make eating changes as well as get my macros calculated. Today I thought I would share just a little bit of the basics like what things we talked about, why macros and basically what I was given to do and eat. I won’t go deep into detail because some of it is personal, but I think it is good to be real and as transparent as I can to a) possibly help others in similar situations and b) allow readers to understand this situation.

The reason I wanted to go to a sports nutritionist started off over Christmas break after I had DexaFit testing done. DexaFit basically does different body tests and scans to tell you your body fat %, body composition (how much fat and muscle and where), max heart rate, etc. I really enjoyed finding out my results, but I knew that the one big thing was I needed (and wanted) to gain weight, but I wanted it to be mostly all lean muscle. I knew I would have to gain some fat back to recover from my weight loss, but I wanted to focus on building back that muscle, which mean eating enough and eating the right things–something I couldn’t manage to do with my “restrictive eating”. This is where finding a sports nutritionist came into play. I knew she would be able to help me with my macros, what kinds of foods to eat, etc. to help me in my growth. Especially because she works heavily with athletes and would understand my situation a lot better than some others would.

Before the appointment, I had to fill out papers on my eating and lifestyle habits as well as keep a food log (this wasn’t an issue as I already track everything I eat in Livestrong’s Myplate app). After understanding my background and how I got to my current situation, she was able to look over my eating and suggest things. For example, she upped my carbs really high so on a day when I had a chicken/sweet potato/veggie mexican bowl dish that I created for lunch, she wanted me to add a piece of fruit and whole-grain crackers to my meal to add more carbs that I wasn’t getting. Now, before I was getting plenty of carbs, but as an athlete carbs are the main source of energy for our activities so I definitely need more than the average.

Before I go into what the macros she calculated for me, I want to explain why I like macros and tracking them. I know there are plenty of people out there who only track calories or who say don’t track anything because its bad mentally and just go with how you feel. Either of those work, but for me, especially when I have my goal of building lots of strong, lean muscle to gain weight (without gaining a lot of fat), macros are super helpful. By setting a certain goal for macros, I know I am eating enough calories because that is how you track macros in the first place. 1 gram of carbs, proteins and fats equal different a certain amount of calories; so with a quick calculation finding my macros therefore means I am eating the right number of calories. I also see a lot of people associate IIFYM (if it fits your macros) with flexible dieting, which is true, it does give you a little flexibility with your eating. You can still enjoy that dessert of some chips or popcorn as long as you plan your other eating around those macro numbers in your treat so that at the end of the day you still stay within your limits. For example, last night I had a banana split sundae with a large banana and Ben and Jerry’s half-baked ice cream all while staying within my carb and fat macros limits.

One big thing I want to mention here though, is that  flexible does not mean give up fueling your body with clean, healthy foods and go for the junk all the time “as long as it fits.” When I met with the nutritionist, she didn’t tell me to get my extra calories and carbs from sugary treats, processed foods, greasy fries and chips, she still told me to eat lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs (think sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, whole-wheat products, etc.). But the good thing about the macros is that if you want that treat every now and then, you can still have it while knowing you are staying on track for your goals.

So, that’s some of the basics of my first visit. Next week, I’ll post about my specific macros and how my tracking and IIFYM lifestyle is going! If you have any comments or questions I would be happy to answer them!!



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