Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Nutrient Ratios Copy

Michael Bewley September 20, 2020


Eating the correct amount of calories each day to attain energy balance is important, but determining how many of those calories should come from carbohydrates, proteins, & fats is paramount.


More Than Just Calories

By now, it should be made clear, if you are not taking in enough calories to meet the physical demands of your daily activities, health and performance will be compromised. Additionally, you should know how many total calories to consume daily, along with weekly menu planning to enhanced delivery of nutrients and facilitate more significant recovery. However, how do you determine how many calories should come from carbohydrates, protein, and fat?


  • the body’s primary source of energy.
  • the primary glucose source (the storage form of carbohydrates in the body is glycogen).
  • the primary source of fuel for the brain and nervous system.
  • vital to performance and appetite control.

Match Your Sports & Season Energy Demands

Attaining a proper performance ratio of nutrients (e.g., 60% carbohydrates, 20% protein, 20% fat) is a must if peak performance and recovery are the intentions. For instance, let’s say you are an athlete who calculated they need 3000 calories per day. You could go to a major fast-food chain, order a popular combo, and have more than a third of your daily total calorie requirements in one setting — most of which is fat! For athletes wanting to maintain the desired body composition and build lean muscle, knowing your nutrient performance ratios is critical.


  • the building block of muscle.
  • essential for muscle growth and recovery.
  • responsible for formation of collagen (connective tissue) which makes up a two-thirds of total body protein content — making it the most common.

Different Sports Utilize Varying Nutrient Ratios

Did you know that different sports require specific sources of energy? This is referred to as bioenergetics. Therefore, the sport you play has a direct relationship with the ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat consumption. For instance, it is not realistic to think a football player would follow the same nutrition plan as a cross-country runner. Both types of athletes utilize completely different energy systems and muscle fiber types when training and competing. As a result, these athletes require uniquely different nutrient ratio plans. Knowing the given amount of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats for a specific sport helps ensure you get proper nutrients, at the right ratios to optimize peak performance and recovery.


  • yields the greatest source of energy of all the nutrients (fat contains 9-calories per gram versus carbs and protein that only yield 4-calories per gram).
  • cofactors for metabolizing fat-soluble vitamins and minerals.
  • required for overall growth and recovery.

Contrasting Season Needs

In addition to sport, the nutrient performance ratios consumed, following your yearly training cycle, are essential. The intensity of training vary from offseason to preseason and again from preseason to in-season. For example, a football athlete’s training intensity changes in the offseason, altering the amount of protein for muscle protein synthesis. On the other hand, long-distance athletes (e.g. cross-country, cyclists, swimmers, etc) tend to train year-round and keep nearly the same nutrient ratios annually.

Critical Reload Sports Nutrition Calculator

The Critical Reload Nutrition Calculator will construct the optimum ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat consumption for your sport and season. Click or tap  the CALCULATOR tab and select the Calculator’s Nutrient Ratios tab. The Calculator will configure your nutrient ratio needs based on your selected sport and season.


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  2. Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (2017). Should We Eat Like Our Caveman Ancestors? Retrieved from Eatright.org.
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  4. Exercise Physiology Integrating Theory and Application, William J. Kraemer, Steven J. Fleck, Michael R. Deschenes. Retrieved from Amazon.com
  5. Gastelu, et al, (2015) Specialist In Performance Nutrition: Weight Control, Fitness, and Performance Nutrition. International Sports Science Association. Retrieve from ISSA Website.
  6. Halton, TL, et al (2004). The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review. The Journal of American College of Nutrition. Retrieved from US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  7. N. Glickman, et al (1945). The Total Specific Dynamic Action of High-Protein and High-Carbohydrate Diets on Human Subjects: Two Figures. Retrieved from Journal of Nutrition.