Macros. Micros. You hear the words thrown around all the time, but what exactly are macros and micros, and which ones do I really need to pay attention to?
The terms are short for macronutrients and micronutrients. The prefixes macro and micro have been afforded to each type based on the quantity the body needs.
These are typically represented by fats, carbohydrates and proteins. These nutrients are primarily responsible for your energy supply, and storage. More often than not, you hear fitness or weight loss coaches discussing balancing these primary nutrients in order to achieve peak performance or optimizing weight control.
These are the extensive list of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc that are needed in far smaller quantities. They each typically have more specific functions relating to general health and well-being, such as controlling the production of enzymes or hormones.
So which is most important to be tracking?
As a general rule, macros easier to manage. Fitness coaches lean towards management of these nutrients as this is the easiest and quickest path towards results in weight loss and performance. It's also a simpler problem to solve as it's really just the three types of nutrient that need to be managed and apportioned correctly. If you're looking to get in shape, macros are certainly a great start.
However, to target more specific problems, it's very important to remember that micronutrients are just as important. At the risk of oversimplifying, you may find you get sick very easy which could be the result of a lack of vitamins like vitamin C, or an iron deficiency. Alternatively, you might feel lethargic or fatigued as a result of a magnesium deficiency or missing B vitamins. It's ultimately much more difficult to pinpoint problems with micronutrients due to the sheer amount of them, which is why it's important to eat a balanced diet and track both types of nutrients.
Stay tuned for next week's article on the best method that I personally use to manage the overwhelming difficulty of tracking both my macros and micros, all while keeping up a fast paced lifestyle.