Why use a Personal Trainer for Meal Plans?

Hiring a personal trainer is a great way to learn about structured exercise, the correct techniques and what you physically need to be doing to achieve your goals. A good personal trainer can also provide support when times get hard as well as guidance to navigate the minefield which is now nutrition.

Since the beginning of social media, knowing what to eat has become ever more confusing. People with no qualifications in the field of nutrition call themselves experts, spouting false facts. A competent personal trainer can help you sort the fact from the fiction, as well as providing you with a tailored meal plan that will help achieve your goals. A basic meal plan will contain an array of meals that meet a certain calorie and macronutrient requirement.

Macronutrients are the food substances that provide us with energy and the building blocks for maintenance and growth. They make up the majority of are diet and are split into three main categories, carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Carbohydrates

Found in both plants and animals, substances are classified as carbohydrates if they contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in a ratio of 1:2:1. Carbohydrates play an important role not only in providing an efficient energy source, but also in the synthesis of various macromolecules as well as providing fibre to aid digestion.

Fats

There are many types of fat with the main ones being saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Fats play a crucial role in energy metabolism, storage and the synthesis of hormones. Every cell in the body contains a structure composed of fat molecules.

Protein

Probably the most marketed macronutrient by the food industry, protein differs in structure from the other macronutrients by containing a nitrogen atom in its chemical structure. Proteins are the building blocks of many different tissues, enzymes and hormones. Also in times of severe energy depletion can be turned into energy via a process called gluconeogenesis.

Energy Requirement

Depending on your goal a meal plan needs to be calculated to contain the correct amount of calories. If your goal is to lose weight than a calorie deficit is required. If your goal is to gain as much muscle as possible, then you’ll need a calorie surplus. To calculate energy requirement a good personal trainer will use an equation devised from scientific studies to estimate your optimal calorie intake. It should be noted that for weight loss extreme low calorie diets can be detrimental to health in the long term.

Micronutrients

Many meal plans cater for calorie intake and macronutrient content, but fail to adequately measure micronutrient content. Micronutrients are the small quantities of essential vitamins and minerals the body requires to maintain homeostasis. These essential substances are used as co-enzymes and catalysts in many chemical reactions throughout the body. Below is a list of the main micronutrients we require to stay in good health.

Vitamins

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Thiamin (B1)
  • Riboflavin (B2)
  • Niacin (B3)
  • Pantothenic Acid (B5)
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate (B9)
  • Vitamin (B12)
  • Biotin (B7)
  • Vitamin C

Minerals

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Chloride
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Selenium
  • Iodine

Conclusion

To maintain good health we need an array of different macro and micronutrients. This is the reason why we need to eat a varied, balanced diet. Failure to consume the right quantities of nutrients can lead to deficiencies and disease. A properly thought out and constructed meal plan from a personal trainer will take everything into account, not just calorie intake and macronutrient breakdown. Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand, both must be optimised to achieve the best outcome.

Matt Sills

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