The Five Nutritional Elements – Calories
You have five major nutritional elements that are of primary concern and have significant contribution to building muscle and minimizing fat. Calories, Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats and Water. Except for calories, which is a measurement of the total energy value of the food you eat, these are the macro-nutrients. How you structure your intake of these five major contributors to muscle growth is important to your overall success and will dictate the results you get from your training.
I want to enlighten your understanding of these basic nutrients and what impact they have on muscle growth.
Calories are fuel. Whether from protein, carbohydrates, or fat, calories provide fuel your body needs to function. Each day you expend a certain amount of energy. This energy is fueled from the calories you consume. The more active you are the more calories you will burn. Synthesizing protein into new muscle is a caloric fueled activity.
Other factors contribute to the total calories burned such as total body mass, body temperature, thermal effect of foods you eat, and thermal activity of various supplements. Also, the bigger you are the more calories you will burn.
The more lean muscle mass you have the more calories you will burn
All these things must be considered when determining caloric intake.
Calories come from 3 dietary sources – protein, carbohydrates, and fat. One gram of protein contains 4 calories, one gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories, and one gram of fat contains 9 calories.
As you can see, fat contains 2.25 times as many calories as either protein or carbohydrates. In other words, you can eat 2.25 times as much protein and carbohydrates as you can fat while still maintaining the same caloric intake. This is an important illustration as to how fat can add significantly to your daily caloric intake.
What do you think will provide more muscle-building nutrition, 225 grams of protein or 100 grams of fat? They both provide an identical amount of calories. Knowing the breakdown of your total daily caloric intake is very important and will contribute directly to the results of your training.