The Importance of Macros for a Powerlifter
Firstly, what are macros? Macronutrients are found in the foods that we eat, composed of Carbs, Proteins and Fats. Carbs and Protein each hold 4 calories per gram of that macronutrient while fats hold 9 calories per gram. I will only briefly go over calories and their importance to training (which is quite large) simply because this post is intended to explain the importance of the breakdown of the macros within these calories.
Lets jump to the case with calories, if you are eating at a caloric surplus while training for powerlifting, you will be at an advantage compared to someone eating at a deficit. This is simply because the lifter eating at a surplus has excess amounts of energy that they can utilise into helping the body recover from training. Their overall training endurance will be greatly enhanced due to all the extra energy they have to spare when lifting (which consumes a lot of energy).
Onto Carbs. Carbohydrates are your bodies first source of energy when it comes to training, it is required for ATP production. In other words, carbs are the key components for muscular contraction. If you do not consume enough carbs, you will simply not have the energy you need to complete a workout. You will feel lethargic and slow as a consequence. The more carbs you have in your system, the better the body feels as it knows that it has a surplus amount of energy far away from any faminne. Another benefit to carbohydrates is the fact that insulin is released to shuttle or transport the carbs and other amino acids through the bloodstream to be utilised as energy. Insulin has been know to be the most anabolic hormone in the body, meaning it assists the build up of muscle tissue when recovering from the breakdown placed on it during training. You could say that carbs are actually the most important macronutrient when it comes to increasing muscle mass.
Protein is essential to the rebuild and repair of muscle tissue. Think of it as bob (protein powder) giving protein to bill (broken down muscle tissue). When you train and push yourself to adapt to a new stress in your training, muscle tear occurs. These tears are small and found within the fibres of the muscle tissue. We are not talking about major muscle tears here which require a bit more than protein synthesis (rebuild of muscle tissue). The body will adapt to the stress of lifting weights by building stronger and more dense muscle fibres that can carry more load and stress. Along with more mass the body will now require more energy to feed those denser stronger fibres. This means more carbohydrates can be added to the system and overall more energy can be stored in the body.
Fats are also an essential source of energy for a powerlifter. As well as it holding a high amount of calories per gram (9 cals), which makes it easy to get in those calories. Fats also aid a lifters performance in powerlifting. During lower intensity training fats will be the fuel source utilised by the body for sustaining energy throughout the course of a session. The higher intensity movements will require its energy from the quick fuel source of carbs instead. Fats also help transport essential vitamins and minerals around the body which increase immunity and regulate hormones which boost our bodies ability to train efficiently and push out hard bouts of exercise. At a minimum adults should consume at least 20% of their total daily calories from fats, this is to ensure hormone regulation and the transport of those essential vitamins and minerals around the body.
As you can see every macro plays its part in helping a powerlifter push out the most in their training. They each play a different role in the process of making a lifter stronger and overall no macro should be prioritised over another as they are all equally important.