Updated: Nov 6, 2019
If you've been following a long for some time you know that I have a lot of support for a mart-based approach to nutrition! Not only is it foundational to the science but its a very inclusive way of eating. No matter what you label your diet as, you need to eat a certain amount of macronutrients to survive. Luckily, MacroKitchen makes finding recipes that fit your macros easy and that's why I use them in my practice. Read the Q & A below!
J- Hi Monica! Can you share with our community a bit about how your decision to be an RDN and your addition of fitness nutrition coaching into the mix?
Fitness was the launchpad into my nutrition career! I grew up very active, always outside playing and then sports in high school. It turned out that tI didn't like the team sport thing as much as I loved the weight lifting before. At 15 my brothers invited me to go lift with them and I walked into a club called the Adirondack Barbell Club. I benched, squatted, deadlifted. I was the cool little sister.
Well, cool until I almost passed out underneath a loaded barbell! I didn't fuel my body properly. I was getting poor nutrition advice from a women's magazine. That's when I decided to learn bout nutrition on my own starting with Nutrition for Dummies. I still have that book!
"I didn't fuel my body properly. I was getting poor nutrition advice from a women's magazine. "
J- What is your overall approach in consulting with clients? How do macros play a role in this approach?
My overall approach includes getting to really know a person's history with food and dieting. I need to know what kind of mindset someone has before I begin planning the intervention. I focus on three main components: Nutrition Behaviors, Nutrition Portions, and Nutrition Choices.
Nutrition Behaviors are what I spend the most amount of time working with clients on. Even though a lot of them initially jus want a list of yes foods and no foods, I don't subscribe to that.
Yes, of course, choices do matter but it's usually the lowest ticket item. We need to figure out why we need to nourish our body a certain way - whether it's over or under eating, behaviors are what make the biggest impact on our nutrition status.
Next is nutrition portions and this is really where MacroKitchen helps. When I do a full nutrition assessment, I can then calculate what I call a macronutrient prescription and then divide their daily needs into the number of meals theyre usually eating each day. We break up the macros evenly and then go from there.
J- I think two challenges that professionals and meal planning enthusiasts face are knowing how to split up their daily macros for the day, and, in relation, how to apportion their macros!
How would you approach, in a general sense, splitting up macros throughout the day, and what affects the timing of their macros?
Generally, I recommend splitting them up evenly at first. I do this because 1) its usually the easier way to start meal planning and then also because then we can change just 1 variable at a time. For example, if someone is really hungry by 4 o'clock then I know they probably need more fats or protein in the beginning of the day so we can shift foods and portion sizes around to adjust for fluctuating hunger levels.
The other general recommendation is to orient carbohydrates around the highest activity burst of the day. For my clients that's usually the workout or personal training session. It's ideal because it gives them the primary fuel source (carbohydrates) when they're doing high intensity workouts.
Fats and fiber slow down our motility so usually keeping them farther away from workouts feels better on the GI system.
J- As far as fitness is concerned, how would you approach macros for endurance type exercise vs weightlifting?
My endurance athletes need to prioritize carbohydrates to fuel and recover from their training sessions. Weight lifters are using a lot of carbohydrates for fuel as well, but only during the actual explosive movements.
At the end of the day, the caloric needs are higher in my endurance athletes than weight lifters so they tend to have higher carbohydrate requirements to make up the remaining amount of calories.
J- How would you advise someone that works out very early and has trouble getting it the carbs/protein needed before or after their workout?
It's always a good idea to try to have some type of fuel before a workout. You can't pour from an empty glass.
Yes, our bodies will go to some extremes and fasted cardio is popular, but a lot of its popularity is derived from the fact that when you wake up and go its a lot easier to get stuff done. If you wake up, eat breakfast, you might not want to go get your workout on.
I recommended Fuel for Fire to a client and she PR'ed that week. I feel like that anecdote says a lot.
J- How do you typically meal plan for your clients once you have their macro breakdowns per meal?
I search for recipes on MacroKitchen.com! Its such an easy tool to navigate. Once I find the recipes, I copy and paste the ingredients into an app (Nutritionix). From there I can send the recipe so it's easy for clients to log.