slash icon

Macronutrients – What are they?

I'm sure you have all heard the term 'Macros' but what actually are they?
A salmon on a bed of noodles, a meal recommended by the best app for weight training

There are three macronutrients. Protein, Carbohydrate and fats. Unfortunately, macros like carbohydrate and fat, from some misinformed sources, have gained a bad name. There are diets which exclude fats, or carbohydrate, and even protein which completely boggles my mind!

Let’s set the record straight, once and for all. To be an elite athlete, or for your body to perform like one, you need ALL 3. Let’s break them down.


Protein is an essential nutrient for the body. It’s one of the main building blocks for tissue, and more specifically, muscular tissue which is of particular interest to us! It can provide fuel, but we don’t rely on this as a primary source as athletes…as long as we get our food intake right! If you don’t get enough protein in the diet, your body will resort to its own source, and this is how we lose muscle and size. This is when we become catabolic and experience atrophy.

When looking at calories, protein had the same density as carbohydrate. 4 kcal per gram. Protein is the macronutrient which provides most satiation (feel fuller for longer) and decreased hunger. Handy for weight loss!

Protein breaks down into amino acids which are the building blocks of your muscles. They also make essential hormones and support immune function.

Examples of protein sources are meat, eggs, dairy, nuts and fish. However, there’s protein found in bread, pasta, vegetables and other foods you may not expect. So, when you’re adding up your protein intake, check all the foods you’re using. For example, 100g of pasta can contain typically between 10-15g of protein. We recommend you should consume 2g protein per day, per kg of your target bodyweight. This will put you in a good place to optimise muscle growth and recovery.


Carbohydrate should be your primary source of energy as an athlete. Without any carbohydrate, athletic performance will be impaired as well as recovery. Carbohydrates are fuel for the brain as well as muscles. The body stores carbohydrate in the muscles and liver as glycogen which is then used as fuel when exercising. This is why we recommend carb intake ideally pre and post session. It is high to maintain high intensity efforts in training or a game with insufficient glycogen stores.

But be careful. This doesn’t give you a free license to consume as many carbs as you like. Overconsumption of carbs (and any other macronutrient for that matter) will put you into too greater calorie surplus and you will gain unwanted weight in the form of fat.

You can simple, and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are a fast source of carb intake. This is good pre, immediately post and during training. Complex carbs you will find typically on your dinner plate and these are generally derived from plants and contain more fibre and micronutrients. For example, oatmeal and potatoes.

If anybody suggests you shouldn’t eat carbs as an athlete, they are quite simply wrong.


Fat can also be used as an energy source. It is also vital for absorbing fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, & K, and carotenoids as well as essential fatty acids. Fats are essential for hormones. Muscle growth is dependent on a fat-based steroid hormone, and therefore if fat is not consumed adequately you will not build as muscle as possible.

Fats have an energy density of 9 kcal per gram. This is why fat consumption should be closely monitored if weight gain is not a goal. We recommend that fats should make up 20-35% of your total calories. Try to focus on healthier unsaturated fats found in nuts, avocado, olive oil and salmon as examples.

slash icon

Nutrition is essential for progress

When it comes to changing your body composition, either gaining muscle or losing body fat, nutrition will be the most important aspect.

more info
Sam Warburton's easy overnight oats recipe as part of his athlete meal plan.

Sam Warburton’s Easy Protein Overnight Oats Recipe

Looking for the perfect breakfast to prepare you for the day ahead? Our overnight oats are just that - packed full of protein and flavour! Grab the recipe here.
Bowl of vegan based foodBowl of vegan-based food recommended on a rugby weight training program pdf

Plant Based Diets And The Role It Plays On Our Nutrition, Wellness & Health.

This article provides guidance and suggestions for those who follow or want to follow a plant-based diet alongside their training. If your plant-based or just looking to try something new, this article will provide useful information and knowledge to help excel your nutritional goals. Continue reading if you’re interested in naturally fuelling your body through the power of plants especially for veganuary!
Bowls of healthy foods as part of an athlete meal plan

Sam’s Diet Plan

Since we have been running our Instagram page, one thing we have learnt is followers really enjoy finding out what we eat. I think there’s a lot more content on social media regarding ‘how to get strong’ or ‘build boulder shoulders’ but none of it will count for much unless you get your diet right.
A cup of coffee

Caffeine - A good pre workout?

There are a lot of products out there that many of us have tried to give us that extra edge just before a gym session, or maybe a tough running session that you don’t feel too enthusiastic about!
Raw pork, a perfect food for rugby recovery, on a plate


What is protein? What does it do? How much should you be eating?
slash icon

here are some of most asked questions

We hope these help with any questions that you may have. If these don't answer yours in particular then feel free to reach out on Instagram or via email, we are here to help.

slash icon
knowledge hub

articles by sw7 academy

We provide programming and a community to help athletes develop but we also want to teach you as much as we can along the way.

knowledge hub
man pressing dumbbells to increase his rugby fitness with coach watching

Fat loss

Fat loss is probably the most misled topic in the fitness industry. Here we will lay out the fundamentals for you in black and white.
mad holding medicine ball as part of a rugby conditioning program


Conditioning isn't just getting flogged up and down the pitch running shuttles there's lots more to it. We will talk about the different methods to conditioning.
Man, who will later be doing a rugby upper body workout, performing barbell squats


Here you will find a collection of articles all about strength training. How to get stronger, types of training, reps and set as well as training volumes.
man stretching his groin and adductors as part of his rugby training program for forwards

Rest & Recovery

Recovery is a huge part of the game. If you want to train and play for years to come its essential you take note of these articles.
man performing Bulgarian split squat programmed by the best app for weight training


Everything you need to know about gaining muscle mass. Incorporate this advice into your pre season rugby fitness drills.
Man doing exercise from one of the fitness coaching apps


Power is one of the most important physical aspects for any rugby player. The ability to produce force in a short space of time will win or lose collisions.

We build athletes.

If you want to be a more powerful, stronger and more explosive version of yourself then join the team.

join now