How to manipulate macronutrients for muscle growth

meal prepping

The term ‘Macronutrients’ is a holistic term used for three major nutrients, namely proteins, carbohydrates (carbs), and proteins. 

As you read, each macronutrient is responsible for providing a different set of vitamins and minerals, hence why it supports your health and muscle growth in different ways. 


Protein is the body’s bricks and mortar for rebuilding muscle, replicating DNA, and catalysing metabolic reactions. It’s important to understand that proteins are extremely important to muscles because they help to recover and rebuild them. You see, during strenuous exercise, your muscle fibers will get torn and they need to be rebuilt and recovered before the next training session.  If you don’t obtain enough proteins, your muscles will not only struggle to recover but their ability to grow will also be hindered. 

Some great protein options include: 

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lean Beef
  • Lamb
  • Venison
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Edamame
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Hummus
  • Peanuts, almonds
  • Pea or hemp
  • protein powders

Carbohydrates (carbs)

Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy. This means that if we don’t get enough carbohydrates then we may struggle to think, focus or exercise for lengthy periods of time. So, you need carbohydrates to be able to stay on track.

In addition, carbohydrates are just as important in protecting and recovering muscles as proteins. You see,  aside from eating enough carbohydrates, it’s also important to eat the right carbohydrates at the right times. Each form of carbohydrate has a different impact on the body, which is why having a variety is essential.

A high carbohydrate diet helps to maximise pre-exercise glycogen stores and improves endurance performance in activities lasting longer than 60 minutes. The glycogen stores in muscle and liver are limited, and these stores can cause fatigue and reduce performance when depleted. Performance can be affected much faster if the stores are low before exercise begins. 

The amount of glycogen and sugars available to the body has a direct impact on the performance, training adaptations, and recovery of an athlete. 

Inadequate intake of carbohydrates can result in early physical and mental fatigue, reduced training intensity, and reduced suboptimal performance and recovery. Carbs play a vital role in the central nervous system, so low carbohydrate intake can also impact coordination and concentration. 

Some great sources of carbohydrates include 

  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Prunes
  • Pulses
  • Pumpkin
  • Buckwheat
  • Taro
  • Beetroot
  • Cassava
  • Brown, red, or wild rice
  • Amaranth
  • Sorghum
  • Couscous
  • Spelt
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Currants
  • Grapefruit
  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Oranges
  • Watermelon

Healthy fats

In general, fats have a bad rep amongst the health community. However, they are actually essential for our focus, cognitive thinking, motivation, hormone regulation, and appetite. They are essential because they are the only macronutrient that can support the transportation and delivery of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. 

Some great food sources include 

  • Flaxseed oil
  • Extra virgin oil
  • Avocado seed oil
  • Fish oil
  • Hempseed oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Pecans
  • Eggs
  • Avocado
  • Dark chocolate
  • Cheese
  • Chia seeds


So, how to manipulate your your macronutrients?

The amount of different nutrients you need to consume depends on your body type – ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph.


25% Proteins

55% Carbohydrates

20% Fats


30% Proteins

40% Carbohydrates

30% Fats


35% Proteins

25% Carbohydrates

40% Fats

Each body type requires a different intake of each macronutrient. This can greatly help with your final results. So, all you need to do is split your total daily calories between each macronutrient. For instance, if you are an ectomorph with total daily calories are 2,000, you need to split your calories like this:

  • Proteins – 2,000 /100 = 20 x 25 = 500 calories To obtain the number of grams, you need to divide the calories by 4 as there are 4 calories in each gram. 500/4 = 125g
  • Carbs – 2,000 /100 = 20 x 55 = 1,100 calories. To obtain the number of grams, divide the calories by 4 since there are 4 calories in each gram. 1,100/ 4 = 275g.
  • Fats – 2,000 /100 = 20 x 20 =400 calories. Then divide by 9 to obtain the number of grams. 400/9 = 44g

Always make sure to double-check your maths by adding all the calories for macronutrients together and make sure that they add up to your total daily calories. Make sure to download a ‘macronutrient cheat sheet’ from the materials tab above the lesson.