Source: Andrew Leonard, Personal Training Manager, Chicago Athletic Clubs, Lincoln Square Food formulas to achieve fitness goals With the new year at hand, many are in the positive mindset of losing weight, building muscle, reaching peak endurance and maintaining good health. When it comes to food intake of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, also known as macronutrients, what are some helpful formulas to consider? Below are suggested macronutrient ranges per goal. Weight loss 30 to 45 percent calories from carbs 20 to 30 percent from protein 20 to 30 percent from fat Slight reduction in carbs, balanced fat and protein Nutritional tip: Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are not bad for us. Vegetables and fruit are some of the highest quality carbohydrates out there. Then, why does lowering your carbs help you lose weight? Because more often than not, low-quality nutrition options are often high in carbohydrates. Attempting to lower carb intake leads to less junk food. To effectively lose weight, work on eating higher-quality foods. Endurance 40 to 60 percent calories from carbs 20 to 30 percent from protein 20 to 30 percent from fat Higher emphasis on calories from carbs, balanced protein and fat Nutritional tip: Endurance athletes require easily available energy to perform well. The body stores “long burning” carbohydrates, called glycogen, in the muscles and liver. When stress is placed on the body that requires energy for a prolonged period of time, the body will then use its glycogen stores to produce energy. The quality of carbs is key to maintaining high performance and a healthy body weight. Muscle building 30 to 40 percent calories from carbs 25 to 35 percent from protein 20 to 30 percent from fat Higher emphasis on protein and balanced carbs and fat Nutritional tip: To build muscle, not only is increased protein important, but total caloric intake. You’ll need to add a bit of extra food to your plate each meal. Be sure to add quality nutrition choices, not junk food. The junk will just turn into extra fat, which is not the goal here. General health 35 to 50 percent calories from carbs 20 to 30 percent from protein 20 to 30 percent from fat Seek to balance carb, fat, and protein Nutritional tip: These are just ranges. Each individual will find a unique combination of macronutrients that works better for him or her. Some body types prefer a higher carbohydrate diet, while others enjoy more fat. Pay attention to your energy levels, hunger levels and sleep quality. Adjust your food choices based on optimizing these levels.