*Quick side note: I am NOT registered dietician or nutritionist. I am a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist that consults on food in relation to movement.
*Another quick side note: I'm having a lot of fun actually writing on here versus talking at you from in front of my phone.
If you follow any nutrition, fitness, or workout related social media accounts then you probably have seen the word macros. So here, I'll take some time and answer the major questions people have asked me (and I have definitely asked myself).
What exactly are macros?
Macros is actually short for macronutrients. Macros (we'll just keep it short and sweet) are the nutrients our bodies need in abundance. Like A LOT A LOT A LOT. Macros include: carbohydrates, proteins and lipids (fats) and they provide most of the potential energy our bodies need throughout our day.
Ok, I think I get it... proteins... carbohydrates... and fats... Wait so how do I know if I am hitting all my macros?
Oh how I love this question! If you're an intuitive eater like me, you'll rarely know. :) BUT if you're a body builder, or if you are losing weight for medical reasons, then knowing your macros means calorie counting. That's really it. There are TONS of websites that ask for your specific weight, height and level of activity and tell you exactly how to break the numbers into the three (3) groups: carbs, proteins and fats. Attached below is an easy to use calculator that I typically recommend for clients. https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/macronutrients_calculator.htm (I use the heck out of bodybuilding.com - not gonna lie!)
Ok got it! Do I need all of those groups every. single. day!?!
Well, speaking from my own personal experience, not exactly. Depending on what I do during my day, I eat I accordingly.
I have a client to train at 7:00am, then am to train myself at 8:30am before heading to work at 12:00pm that requires 5+ hours of standing/walking.
5:55am - 7:00am wake up drink a lot of water (a little less than half a liter)
7:00am - 8:00am train my client and continue to drink water (the rest of that liter)
8:00am - 8:30am have a banana or two (carbohydrates) with some yummy unsalted, raw peanut butter (fat)
8:30am - 10:00am have an amazingly killer workout while drinking tons of water (more than half a liter, *maybe eat an apple after my warm-up cardio if my brain is feeling foggy)
10:00am - 11:00am attempt to finish a whole liter of water and eat as much fruit as possible (I eat a good amount of natural fiber in the am so I can flush out my digestive system and make room for more fuel)
11:00am - 12:00pm once my system is flushed, I fuel for the first couple hours of my shift with my first real meal of the day consisting of large bowl of colorful raw vegetables (carbohydrates) and a fist sized portion of fish (protein)
After that first meal, I would make sure that I am refueling with small portions of fruits and nuts so I don't become a super witch. 8:00-8:30pm is around the time when I completely stop eating for the day.
PLEASE NOTE: each macronutrient provides a different type of energy. so according to what your day-to-day is like, and what your body intuitively communicates with you, adjust your macros however you see works best for what you need!
Carbohydrates - this is what keeps our bodies so willing to move! Seriously, go a whole day not eating complex carbs and you'll feel semi-bitchy by the end of it. Our bodies prefer carbohydrates as its energy source.
Fats - regulates our hormones (seriously) as well as contributes HEAVILY to our brains' functions. We NEED good fats! Get your Omega 6's to balance those Omega 3's and everything else in between.
Protein - great energy source for our muscles specifically post workout muscle recovery.
Ok, lock and keyed... but if there are macronutrients, are there micronutrients?
Yes! There definitely are micronutrients and they are just as important. Micronutrients are nutrients our bodies need in small or trace amounts, such as vitamins and minerals. While we don't need large amounts of zinc, copper and iron in our systems these minerals, as well as others, are REQUIRED for either structural or regulatory roles. A structural role includes calcium and fluoride for our teeth and a regulatory role includes fluid balance and regulation of muscle contraction. So yes, micronutrients exist and they're still required.
Why is there so much focus on macronutrients when micronutrients are just as important?
Honestly, with the over saturation of the health and fitness industry, social media and misinformation in general, it is incredibly easy to get caught up in the hype of "counting your macros", "going keto" and etc.
So, what are your personal beliefs on all this?
Personally I believe the only nutrient that we should obsess over is water. Our bodies are comprised of 60% water soooo maybe water is what we should be consuming most (not a doctor, just throwing that out there)? Whether that water is infused with minerals and vitamins, or being followed by a well balanced meal. As long as you are drinking water throughout your day, eating whole nutrient carbohydrates, proteins and fats, you will not only hit your macros AND micros, you'll have the energy to live your best life - promise. :)