College Students: Science-Backed DIY Eating Guide

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Article written by Phillip James
Disclaimer: this article serves only as written information in which you, the reader, can make more educated choices in your life. I’m not responsible in any shape or form with the implications, possible health risks, or problems that may arise in changing one’s diet. Consult a medical professional for guidance and monitoring prior to embarking on a changing your diet and nutrition.

Note: before you read this article, check out our prior articles in this series:

How to save money shopping for groceries

How to meal prep

Today’s article is going to be focused on how to construct your own nutrition guide based on proven research. As athletes, we’re constantly looking at ways we can optimize our bodies for our goals. Ensuring you’re taking in the right amount of macronutrients and calories is vital if you want to continue progressing. We’ll be taking a look at how you can calculate the amount of calories, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as how to looking at a sample template constructed for a 200lb male and a 150lb female. Let’s get started!

Calories.

Caloric intake is something that can be easily calculated depending on your age, height, current body weight, and activity level. The tall, young male with an extremely active job is going to be burning more calories at a resting rate than the short, older female with a sedentary lifestyle or career.

In regards to finding the amount of calories one should be consuming, we will utilize a revised Harris Benedict equation calculator for our recommended daily caloric intake:

Protein.

It’s very well known in widespread bro-science that protein consumption triumphs all. Muscles are literally made of protein and consumption of protein in the form of food can aid in muscle synthesis. A study indicated that the lower tier of protein consumption is approximately 1.6g/kg for a sedentary individual not participating in any competitive or strenuous training. The same study also analyzed the consumption of high tier protein consumption at the range of 2.3g/kg for a competitive, well-trained athlete. The results found that by consuming the high tier amount of protein resulted in minimized loss of lean muscle mass and also provided an surplus of amino acids that can aid in muscle synthesis.

The verdict? Eat 2.3 grams of protein per kilogram of your bodyweight.

Carbohydrate.

Imagine a high performance sports car. Carbohydrates are the equivalent to gas for the sports car; exactly why eating enough of them is extremely important. Thanks to recent fad dieting, we have seen a massive change in the view towards eating carbohydrates. Low-carb diets may work if you’re somewhat sedentary or have a very low level of activity, however, minimal fuel for your training can only last for so long. I tried eating less than 100g of carbohydrates a day at a bodyweight of 220lb and guess what happened? I felt exhausted, I wasn’t recovering properly, and my training suffered massively. I am now eating 300-500g of carbohydrates a day in regards to my training and am seeing the best progress in the past eight years.

Studies have found that consuming a range of 3-5 grams of carbohydrate provides your body with readily available fuel that can be used for training. If you’re having a low intensity training session, go for the lower tier consumption of carbohydrates of 3g/kg. Medium intensity training sessions: 4g/kg carbohydrate. Higher intensity training sessions: 5g/kg carbohydrate.

Fat.

Fat isn’t the enemy… HOWEVER, if you’re downing five avocados a day with a tub of peanut butter, you’re most likely going to gain excess fat. Consuming fat around your training session as apposed to immediately before, during, or immediately after can affect how well your body digests proteins and carbohydrates to be delivered to your muscles for recovery. Make sure you’re limiting consumption of fat or fatty protein sources prior to and after training sessions.

Studies have found that fat does not yield a definitive value in terms of consumption volume. However, they have found a correlation in terms of the percentage it should make up in your total calorie consumption. Utilizing the recommendation of fat intake making up 30% of your total daily calorie intake is a great place to start.

 

Cutting or bulking.

For manipulation of bodyweight, you can add or subtract 500 calories from your daily intake in the form of fat. We choose manipulating fat intake because it contains the most amount of energy (9 calories per gram of fat as apposed to 4 calories per gram of protein and carbohydrate). We also manipulate fat consumption because we need to keep our glycogen stores topped off for training and protein consumption within normal values for muscle repair.

For a cutting phase, subtracting 500 calories a day for a total of 3,500 calories deficit a week (one pound of tissue) is recommended.

For a bulking phase, adding 500 calories a day for a total of 3,500 calories surplus a week (one pound of tissue) is recommended.

 

Quick and simple:

Protein consumption: 2.3 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.

Caloric intake: enter in your current age, height, bodyweight, and activity level at: http://www.globalrph.com/revised-harris-benedict-equation.htm

Massing phase: increase calories by 500 in the form of fat calories (approximately 55g of fat). This results in a 3500 caloric surplus per week (one pound of body tissue added per week).

Cutting phase: decrease calories by 500 in the form of fat calories (approximately 55g of fat). This results in a 3500 caloric deficit per week (one pound of body tissue lost per week).

Carbohydrate consumption: 3 to 5 grams per kilogram of bodyweight, depending on the duration and intensity of your workout.

Fat consumption: approximately contributes 30% to your total caloric intake (as long as protein and carbohydrate consumption are kept consistent).

So, now we will take a look at an example of applying these details to both a male and a female.

MALE.

200-pound, 21 year old male, 5’10 tall, with moderate activity level

= 91 kilograms, because 1 kilogram equals 2.2 pounds

PROTEIN.

(91 kilograms) x 2.3 grams of protein

= 209 grams of protein consumed per day

CARBOHYDRATE.

(91 kilograms) x 4 grams of carbohydrate, in the instance of a medium intensity workout

= 364 grams of carbohydrate consumed per day

FAT.

Utilizing the listed calculator on: http://www.globalrph.com/revised-harris-benedict-equation.htm

We find that our male needs 3165 calories per day.

30% recommended fat intake from our 3165

= 950 calories coming from fat.

950 / 9, this is because there are 9 calories per gram of fat.

= 106 grams of fat consumed per day

 Now let’s apply this to our female example!

FEMALE.

150 pound, 21-year-old female, 5’4 tall, with moderate activity level

= 68 kilograms, because 1 kilogram equals 2.2 pounds.

PROTEIN.

(68 kilograms) x 2.3 grams of protein

= 156 grams of protein consumed per day

CARBOHYDRATE.

(68 kilograms) x 4 grams of carbohydrate, in the instance of a medium intensity workout

= 272 grams of carbohydrate consumed per day

FAT.

Utilizing the listed calculator on: http://www.globalrph.com/revised-harris-benedict-equation.htm

We find that our female needs 2308 calories per day.

30% recommended fat intake from our 2308

= 692 calories coming from fat.

692 / 9, this is because there are 9 calories per gram of fat.

= 77 grams of fat consumed per day

 

So there you have it. Keep in mind, these are values coming from only certain research articles and there are great deals of other research studies that have been performed yielding different results. I would highly recommend doing your own research, both on the Internet and by purchasing text from authors, in order to formulate a strongly educated opinion about nutrition for athletic performance.

Sources:

Phillips, Stuart M., and Luc J.c. Van Loon. “Dietary Protein for Athletes: From Requirements to Optimum Adaptation.” Journal of Sports Sciences 29.Sup1 (2011): n. pag. Web.

Slater, Gary, and Stuart M. Phillips. “Nutrition Guidelines for Strength Sports: Sprinting, Weightlifting, Throwing Events, and Bodybuilding.” Journal of Sports Sciences 29.Sup1 (2011): n. pag. Web.

Helms, Eric R., Alan A. Aragon, and Peter J. Fitschen. “Evidence-based Recommendations for Natural Bodybuilding Contest Preparation: Nutrition and Supplementation.” J Int Soc Sports Nutr Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 11.1 (2014): 20. Web.

McAuley, David. “Revised Harris Benedict Equation.” GlobalRPh, n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2016. Used for reader access to equation for caloric intake value.