The Beginner's Guide to Nutrition for Women

A healthy nutrition plan is crucial to reaching your fitness goals. Our Nutrition Guide will help you understand the importance of macronutrients, how to calculate your calories, and other tips for a healthier lifestyle.

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Nutrition Approaches

There are two basic approaches to implementing a healthier nutrition plan: counting macros and intuitive eating. When making decisions about your nutrition, always do what is best for you.


Counting Macros

Counting Macros

Counting macros means you are tracking your daily intake of the three main macronutrients: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. This requires food to be weighed on a scale or measured to determine how much you're eating of each macronutrient.

Why Count Macros

Why Count Macros?

Counting macros can be beneficial if you are trying to get lean or be more aware of what you eat every day. The disadvantage of this approach is possibly losing sight of the big picture when it comes to a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is a nutrition philosophy that promotes food intake based on internal cues of hunger and fullness, body acceptance, and making better nutritional choices for your health, well being, and enjoyment.

Why Eat Intuitively

Why Eat Intuitively?

Intuitive eating is great if you want to develop a healthy relationship with food and create a balanced lifestyle. The disadvantage of this approach is slower weight loss and slipping into old eating habits without accountability.

What Are Macros?

Macronutrients or "macros" are nutrients that our bodies require in large amounts. The energy or calories in the food we eat comes from three macronutrients: proteins, fats, carbohydrates.


Macronutrient - Protein

PROTEINS

4 calories per gram

Why you need high quality, lean protein:

  • Helps build and repair muscle
  • Satisfies appetite for longer
  • Improved brain function
  • Boosts energy and heart health 

Good sources of protein:

  • Skinless chicken breast
  • Lean ground turkey
  • Fish (wild): tilapia, cod, salmon
  • Canned tuna in water
  • Beans & lentils
  • Nuts, seeds, natural nut butters
  • Eggs, egg whites
Macronutrient - Fat

FATS

9 calories per gram

Why you need healthy, "good" fats:

  • Essential for endurance exercise
  • Omega-3s boost immune system 
  • Aids absorption of healthy vitamins
  • Vital for skin, hair, and heart health

Good sources of fat:

  • Avocado
  • Coconut oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Nuts: walnuts, pecans, cashews
  • Natural nut butters
  • Fatty fish like salmon
Macronutrient - Carbohydrate

CARBOHYDRATES

4 calories per gram

Why you need complex carbohydrates:

  • Provides energy for workouts
  • Optimal muscle recovery
  • Fiber (from carbs) aids digestion
  • Main energy supply for brain

Good sources of carbohydrates:

  • Vegetables 
  • Fruit (in moderation)
  • Sweet potatoes and yams
  • Steal cut oats or rolled oats
  • Cream of wheat and rice
  • Brown rice
  • Sprouted grain bread like Ezekiel

Calculate Calories

If you plan on tracking your nutrition, the first thing you need to do is figure out your daily calorie intake. Follow these steps to calculate your calories or try our Macro Calculator.


Step 1: BMR

STEP 1: BMR

BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is the amount of energy (in the form of calories) that your body needs to function daily at rest.

BMR Formula for Women: 
655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age)

Example: 
30 year old woman, 150 lbs, 63 in
655 + (4.35 x 150) + (4.7 x 63) - (4.7 x 30)
BMR = 1462

Step 2: TDEE

STEP 2: TDEE

TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) is the number of calories you burn in a day. This adds calories to your BMR for your activity level.

TDEE Formula: BMR x Activity Multiplier
Sedentary = BMR x 1.2
Lightly active = BMR x 1.375
Moderately active = BMR x 1.55
Very active = BMR x 1.725

Example: Same woman, lightly active
TDEE = (BMR 1462) x 1.375 = 2010

Step 3: Calorie Deficit

STEP 3: CALORIE DEFICIT

A DEFICIT is eating fewer calories than you are burning each day to aid in fat loss. We don't recommend more than a 20% deficit from your TDEE to start. Calorie deficits should only be used if your goal is to lose weight.

20% DEFICIT Formula: TDEE x .8

Example: Same woman, 20% deficit
DEFICIT = (TDEE 2010) x .8 = 1608

Macro Ratios

Now that you know your daily calorie intake, you need to figure out which macronutrients to allocate them to. These graphs show you how to set up your macro ratios based on your goal.


HIGHER CARB
FOR MUSCLE BUILDING

Higher carb for muscle building

MODERATE CARB
FOR MAINTENANCE

Moderate carb for maintenance

LOWER CARB
FOR FAT LOSS

Lower carb for fat loss

Body Types

Once you have determined your primary fitness goal, it's important to factor in your body type. This will influence how well you tolerate carbs and establish where in the above ranges you should start.


Ectomorph body type

ECTOMORPH

Best described as slender; delicate bone structure; fast metabolism.

Macro Recommendation:
Stick to the higher range percentage of carbs in the pie chart you chose for your fitness goal above.

Mesomorph body type

MESOMORPH

Best described as muscular; athletic build; broad shoulders; dense bone structure. 

Macro Recommendation:
Stick to the middle range percentage of carbs in the pie chart you chose for your fitness goal above.

Endomorph body type

ENDOMORPH

Best described as round or pear-shaped; “softer” or stocky build; slow metabolism. 

Macro Recommendation:
Stick to the lower range percentage of carbs in the pie chart you chose for your fitness goal above.

Nutrition Tips

Eating the right foods can improve your mood, boost your energy, help you maintain a healthy weight, and create a balanced life. Here are some nutrition tips to get your started.


Stay hydrated

STAY HYDRATED

Drinking enough water provides a feeling of fullness, and sometimes people mistake thirst for hunger, so drinking enough water can prevent overeating. Aim to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.

Eat whole foods

EAT WHOLE FOODS

Choose organic, non-GMO foods over pre-packaged, processed foods. Packaged foods are loaded with preservatives, especially sodium and saturated fats, and often have high amounts of sugars. 

Eat less sugar

eat less sugar

The higher in sugar and lower in fiber, the worse the carb is for you. Complex carbs take the body longer to break down, which provides your body with more energy throughout the day and aids in fat loss. 

Proper meal timing

proper meal timing

Your body needs carbs to fuel your working muscles and protein to optimize muscle growth and recovery. Try eating more carbs and protein before and after your workout for best results.