Macronutrients & Micronutrients Explained

Nutrients in their rawest form are merely chemicals that any living organism needs to consume to continue their survival.

Nutrients help give us energy to perform daily functions, as well as fuel to build tissues and grow. These nutrients are broken up into two distinct categories.

The first being macronutrients, which are substances that provide calorie value, or calories which are metabolized for energy. Macronutrients are called “macro” because we need them in large amounts. In Greek or Latin, Macro’s definition is large in scale, or big.

The second group is called micronutrients. With these nutrients we only need smaller quantities. Hence the “micro” which means… Yes, you guessed it, means “small” in Greek and Latin. These are just as important as the first category in the sense that we need them, but the significant difference lies in the sheer amount of the nutrients we need to digest.

Why They’re Important: Macro

Macronutrients are essential for all functions that are performed with the body because they serve us with fuel. Without that energy/fuel our bodies would not be able to perform the constant upkeep required and we would eventually die.

Our everyday diet is comprised of three main macronutrients. Each has it’s own caloric value.
They are as follows:

  • Carbohydrate: 4 kcal/ per gram
  • Fat: 9 kcal/per gram
  • Protein: 4 kcal/per gram

Why Macro’s are Important?

It’s true, our bodies love carbs (Don’t we all), and it’s no secret either that our bodies prefer to burn carbs. They are smaller than fats making them easier to burn, as fat performs special purposes with the construction of cells and gives our skin its elasticity. Proteins also perform their own purpose with providing the building blocks for soft tissue repair and development.

Carbs: These are our main source of fuel and are easily converted within our bodies. Our cells require the glucose or energy for the central nervous, kidney, brain, and muscles to function and sustain. Once carbs are consumed and converted to glycogen they are then either used as energy for bodily functions or then stored within the body as Fat.

Fats: This macro helps with bodies normal growth and development as providing great secondary source of energy. Fat helps with absorption of vitamins, provides cushioning for organs and helps maintain cell membranes. It also helps provide taste, consistency, and stability to food.

Proteins: proteins help with growth, especially in children, teens, and pregnant women as well as tissue repair, immune function and the making of essential hormones and enzymes. Proteins provide energy when nothing else is available as well as preserving of lean muscle mass.

Why Micro’s are Important?

Micronutrients are nutrients we require in relatively small quantities. They are vitamins and minerals, and our good health requires them in milligram and microgram amounts. Recall that fats, carbohydrates and proteins are macronutrients, meaning that we require them in relatively large quantities. We consume the macronutrients in gram amounts. For example, we might have 200 grams of carbohydrate, 100 grams of protein and 50 grams of fat, yet only 18 mg of iron and 400 micrograms of folate.

Vitamins are carbon-containing molecules and are classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. They can be changed and inactivated by heat, oxygen, light and chemical processes. The amount of vitamins in a food depends on the growing conditions, processing, storage and cooking methods.

Minerals do not contain carbon, and are not destroyed by heat or light. Unlike other nutrients, minerals are in their simplest chemical form. Minerals are elements. Whether found in bone, seashells, cast iron pots or the soil, they are they same as the minerals in our food and our bodies. The mineral content of plant foods varies with the soil content and the maturation of the plant.

When aiming at your desired levels of macro and micro nutrients keep in mind to eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, lean fatty meats, and nuts and grains. These contain a ton of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A (carrots, spinach, milk, eggs), Folic Acid (asparagus, dark leafy greens), Iodine (seaweed, fish), Iron (lentils, red meats, leafy vegetable), and Zinc (eggs, buts, cereals, seafood), just to name a few.

We suggest starting a daily meal planner or consulting a nutritionist for extra direction in getting the most nutrition out of your diet. Above all, remember to avoid food high in fat content, salt, and sugars!

All Healthy Lifestyles Start with Healthy Mindsets

In this day in age we all want the overnight change, but the reality is that in order to lead a healthy lifestyle it involves much more than the latest diet trend, or fitness fad.

With being healthy it is easy to channel in on tangible things such as how we look in our clothes, our clothing size, the scales and how we look in those photos our friend has uploaded of us on facebook. Usually our reaction to this is some what of being dramatic with us taking up extreme and strict diets, crazy training routines, basically we go from 0 to 100.

The reality is when it comes to decreasing your body fat percentage and toning up those diet trends and crazy workout routines are not sustainable long term. With the numerous amounts of studies that have been conducted on diet trends the results are in, they’re ineffective. The university of Melbourne conducted a study in 2011 into diet and weight loss and found that it can fail due to regaining weight, or the “bounce back” and the people studied were found to place a greater obsession on food after. So, where do we go from here?

You are the change!

If we are honest with ourselves our current shape of body type we desire to change is the direct result of our poor habits, lifestyle and choices when it comes to nutrition and fitness. In saying this, lets also not pretend that starving ourselves or overtraining to the point of exhaustion is sustainable or enjoyable. With both of these points in mind we have to look beyond, look deeper on how we can remedy this. The answer in short is mindset. To fully understand this weight loss, nutrition, eating habits, training and enjoying it encompasses a total life change that promotes balance and a physiological health and positive self image. Over all reach out goal has less to do with cardio, carbs and calories and more to do with our mind set. Ideally it’s all about a mindset, reset. Once we can reset and develop a positive mind set the results will follow.

Habits are happiness!

We are creatures that are driven by emotion and our goals and desires are usually derived from them. Major goals with emotional attachment are more likely to be accomplished than merely saying “I want to fit into those jeans”. Our values drive us to push and overcome. Given this simply having a basic desire such as wanting that ideal bikini body isn’t enough to promote a significant shift in mindset, where as the desire to be fit and healthy so you can be more active parents is a much deeper emotional goal that will resonate deeper than a basic desire.

What will aid us in achieving a shift in mindset for the long term is changing our goals. Find deeper emotional meaning to them. Our perception to nutrition and food should be one of nourishment instead of loathing, viewing exercise as a reward to enhance the body rather than punishment, food prep as a creative activity rather than a chore. All of this is resetting your negative mindset associations with positive reinforcement.

In summary

  • Long term goals (health, fitness, lifestyle, nutrition) are more achievable when you reprogram to associate them with positive mindset.
  • Goals with a deeper value and emotional connection will always trump short term desires.
  • Ensure your goals are not to easy, but not to hard where as you’ll burn out before achieving them.
  • It takes 31 days to create a habit, a habit builds a routine and a routine will achieve a goal, so stay committed and be consistant.

Food for Thought

Often overlooked is the importance of nutrition and the role it plays in achieving any fitness goal, be that a complete body transformation, weight loss, maintaining a current physical condition or trying to build muscle mass.

We can agree a lot of focus in our industry is placed on the work ethic and attitude that we take into the gym, as well as the discipline to ensure we are maximizing each workout to incur muscle growth or the burning of calories to achieve fat loss. However, this same focus, ethic, and discipline needs to be applied just as diligently to what goes on in the kitchen.

Indeed, most of know that we need to improve the area of nutrition but this is often met with excuses, objections, or obstacles. If we’re serious about achieving any goal, then being able to overcome these objections and obstacles is what sets the champions apart from the rest.

For myself being a mother of three children, a business owner and a WBFF competitor life certainly does throw up its challenges and can be testing at times. Often the first thing to suffer when times get tough is our nutrition. We get lazy, demotivated or we take the easy option.

To prevent these from occurring the best strategy to ensure we stay on track is the meal prep. By doing a weekly meal preparation, or a meal preparation every three days, it eliminates several things and enforces a strict nutrition plan for us to follow on the road to success.

Temptation! A dirty word in the world of clean eating. A meal preparation aids in eliminating the beast of temptation and allows us to have a certain structure to our calorie and macro-nutrient intake. A meal prep also evokes discipline as to help us stick to our nutrition plan and not stray into temptation.

By going down the path of meal prepping once a week you will find yourself saving time. Gone will be the excuse “I just don’t have time”, or “I’ll just grab something on the run”. With all of us having such busy lifestyles in this day and age time management has become vastly important. Meal prepping will save loads of time slaving away in the kitchen, this is just one of the many benefits in doing so.

If you’re thinking about kick starting your first meal prep, or you’re a seasoned vet, it is still important to ensure that it’s quality over quantity. No doubt it’s a fine balance doing a prep on a budget, while getting the best quality food as possible. Prep on a budget doesn’t mean the produced that goes into the prep has to be of low quality. Spend time investigating your local farmer’s markets, search out for the freshest produce that will be mineral enriched and not GMO. Remember…quality in, quality out.

If for whatever reasons you’re simply unable to do your own meal prep there are a number of prep meal companies in our industry. However, be sure to investigate what each one offers. I always ask myself these questions. Can they customize the meal prep’s to my nutrition plan? Where does the produce come from? Is it locally grown and made?

That’s why I chose to create Healthy Power Meals, a prep meal company located in Perth. I found that a lot of the prep meal companies I looked at either were importing bulk frozen produce meaning the quality wasn’t up to the standard I was requiring, and or the produce from some companies was sufficient, however the cost in electing a full week of meals just wasn’t cost effective, and certainly not for those with children or on a budget. That was our main aim when creating Healthy Power Meals. It was to create cost effective prep meals that didn’t blow the budget while incorporating fresh produce from our very own farm.

One of our unique differences here at Healthy Power Meals is that we have our very own farm. This gives us the luxury where we can have full quality control over each and every meal. It also allows us to change our meal types freely and we’re not restricted to a certain menu. It also allows us to develop customised prep meals to suit a particular meal plan specified by a personal trainer or coach.

If you’d like to check us out, you can find us on Instagram as @healthy.power.meals or search for Healthy Power Meals on facebook. Be on the lookout for our new website.

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