Hi, hello! Happy first day of October, friends, and happy official Day 1 of the Macro Challenge (or day 15, or whatever you want to call it). Now that we're moving past the "Room for Change" part of the program, we should all have a pretty solid idea of what our individual approaches look like, right?
Hopefully, because man measuring and thinking that much about food all of the time can get tedious (or maybe that's just me...).
So, now that we've all experimented, tweaked, experimented a little more and probably tweaked a little more... what should you expect from here on out? Is it like whole30 where you magically shift into TIGER BLOOD at a certain point? Has there been no discernible change yet? Or is it something else entirely?
The short answer: It depends. Don't you hate that answer?
The answer, according to Luke: it depends on what your nutritional habits were like prior to the beginning of the challenge, and it's likely that most of the changes you're experiencing are still locked up internally versus showing themselves externally. Some of you may have lost weight, some of you may have gained weight, and just about everyone should be a pro at breaking down a plate's P/F/C numbers by sight now (I threw that one in myself ;-)).
I think most of us can agree that prior to this challenge we were all wayyyy under-consuming protein, with the majority of us only hitting 60-75% of our protein goals. Many of us have touched on how eye-opening it was to see where our protein consumption numbers actually were at versus where they should be, and how challenging it has been to get those numbers up. I feel like I personally can hit those numbers *pretty* well now, though, and I'm hoping many of you are in the same boat.
So why all the protein, anyway? By significantly increasing the amount of protein you're consuming each day, you're effectively helping your body repair and maintain lean body mass... which then turns around and gives you a higher basal metabolic rate (also known as BMR, or the amount of calories burned at a resting state).... which ultimately helps you burn fat by increasing your lean muscular mass.
And when it comes down to it, that's why we're all experimenting with this, right?
Luke also said that, prior to this experiment, 60-80% of calories consumed for most people were in the form of carbohydrates, which is much more than any person needs on a daily basis. Personally, this wasn't the case for me, though. I trended toward a diet that was much higher in fat and lower in carbs, however that came with it's own host of problems... namely that I would suddenly hit rock bottom and go into a carb frenzy after days/weeks of under-consuming carbs and then emerge from a black hole of carbs a day or two later feeling foggy and out of control. Increasing carb consumption has been a game-changer for me, as I'm sure lowering it if you were over-consuming has been for you.
So what should you expect from here on out, now that you've digested all of that information? Ultimately, as hitting your individual numbers becomes second nature, you should continually be feeling better/noticing an increase in energy, improving at the gym, and sleeping better*.
Why the *? Good question!
BECAUSE there are caveats to those things as well! This is fun, right?!
Nutrition, while arguably the largest component in all of this, is still just one component.
On the workout front: prioritizing resistance training is a huge factor (and one that should be at least marginally easier to meet given that everyone participating was gifted with unlimited training sessions at Elevate for the duration of the challenge). Resistance training with an external object (bands, free weights, barbells, kettle bells, medicine balls, etc.) introduces a stress to the body that then signals a growth response to our muscular skeletal systems. It also builds lean body mass, strengthens connective tissue and joints, and increases bone density. We want that. We want all of that.
Cardio is important, for sure, but it provides a stress on different parts of our body, namely the cardio respiratory and cardio vascular systems. So do it, yes, but put resistance training in your #1 workout spot. Like we're doing with our proteins, fats, and carbs, you want to mix them, but you want your resistance training to take the top spot. It's basically the protein of working out. Can't make it to the gym all the time? Me neither! I highly recommend investing in some free weights, bands, and/or kettle bells to use at home to help ease that burden. Amazon will even deliver you 45# kettle bells, though the delivery guy may not like you very much after. Not that I know from experience or anything...
On the sleep front: you should be noticing that you're sleeping better, but there's an if to that, too. That if is IF you're making it a priority. You can't pour into your training and nutrition but then slack on your sleep and expect to still function at a high level all of the time. Reward your body for all it's hard work by getting an adequate amount of sleep each night. And on that note, you should also tune in to how you're feeling each day and honor your body by taking rest days as needed. This down time is crucial to allowing your body to repair itself and come back stronger than before.
By now, we all should have developed some pretty solid habits to take us through the next 30 days... and really into life after this 30 day challenge is up as well.
And make sure that you're taking advantage of having a coach!! Pick their brains when you're hitting roadblocks (they're totally normal to encounter!) and utilize the information and knowledge they have to offer. You can and should also be throwing ideas around with other challenge participants. The Elevate Health x Nutrition page is an amazing resource for tossing out wins, losses, and everything in between, and everyone benefits by some open conversation.
We all want to see each other succeed in this, and the tools are all here for the taking.
Here's to another 30 days of change and growth as we dive further into macros and how they work for our individual bodies.