It’s no secret how much I love tracking my macros, and it’s been a huge key to my muscle mass gaining and body sculpting success. Without a doubt, it’s a great tool to help you achieve any transformation goal—heck…it’s the foundation for our nutrition program in the Transform app! I love the flexibility that tracking macros provides and how it can truly transform your body, but there’s a little something we need to talk about…micronutrients!
As much as you need to make sure you’re getting the proper balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, you also need to make sure the food you’re fueling your body with is packed with micronutrients. You might be wondering what the difference between macro and micronutrients is and how much you should be getting of them, so here you go!
The three major macronutrients are carbohydrates, fat, and protein – these are the primary nutrients that equal your total caloric consumption, with protein and carbs equaling four calories per gram and fat equaling nine calories per gram. The short story is your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose—the preferred fuel source for your body. You need carbs to fuel your body! Protein helps you survive and thrive, and your body is always using protein to build, repair, and maintain muscle—it’s needed for nearly every metabolic process in your body! Protein also helps you feel fuller longer and provides a continuous and steady supply of energy too. Fat, on the other hand, plays an important role in making and balancing hormones. Each macronutrient plays a crucial role in your body!
Micronutrients, though, are even more crucial than macronutrients! Micronutrients are nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and they come from clean, whole, nutrient-dense foods like high quality proteins, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats. If your goal is to live a healthy lifestyle, perform athletically to the best of your ability, or just feel energized in general, you should be consuming nutrient-dense, high quality foods a majority of the time. Treat your body well! We believe in the 80%-20% rule. 80% of the time fill your diet with those nutrient dense foods, and 20% of the time with whatever you want!
Now that I’ve told you all about how important micronutrients are, where do you start? How much of each do you to eat? Where to begin?! It may seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be complicated at all! Different foods contain different levels of vitamins and minerals, so if you eat a wide variety of foods from different food groups, and a variety within each food group, you’ll be well on your way to making sure you get an adequate supply of all the micro-nutrients your body needs!
Here are some different vitamins and their roles in the body:
- Vitamin A: Healthy eyesight and gums
- Vitamin C: Healthy functioning immune system
- Vitamin E: Helps fight free radical damage in the body
- Vitamin D: Strong bones and immune functions
- Vitamin B: Energy production, nervous system health, and for proper digestion
Here are some different minerals and their functions:
- Iron: Red blood cell production.
- Calcium: Strong, healthy bones and teeth.
- Magnesium: Nervous system health.
- Zinc: Healthy skin and reproductive and immune function.
And here are some ideas for how to fill your nutrition plan with nutrient dense foods packed with macronutrients and micronutrients:
- Carbohydrates: Oatmeal, brown rice, pasta, whole wheat breads, vegetables, fruits.
- Protein: Fish, chicken, lean meats, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy products, tofu.
- Unsaturated fats: Nuts, seeds, fish, coconut oil, olive oil, avocados.
- Vitamin A: Milk, cheese, eggs, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables.
- Vitamin B: Legumes, wholegrain cereals, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables.
- Vitamin C & D: Citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberries, parsley, cabbage.
- Vitamin E: Olive oil, avocadoes, whole grain cereals.
- Iron: Lean meats, green leafy vegetables, legumes.
- Calcium: Dairy products, almonds, green leafy vegetables.
- Magnesium: Nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, green leafy vegetables.
- Zinc: Lean meats, chicken, fish, pumpkin seeds.
See? It’s not that hard to get all your micros if you simply eat a healthy and diet. Remember the keys to mastering those micros: Eat a variety of foods every day, choose fruits and veggies from all the colors of the rainbow, and eat lean protein with every meal. And enjoy all of that yummy, micro-and-macro-rich food!
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