Micros, Macros and Everything in Between- Top 3 Reasons Why Nutrition Counts for Your Results
One time or another, we’ve all been guilty of skipping breakfast, grabbing a “quick bite” to eat or putting dinner on the back burner. Life gets in the way, or we’re just too tired to prep a balanced meal. But put the breaks on for a minute. Each time we neglect the importance of nutrition, we’re only doing our body harm. Yes, I said it. Harm. Now in reality, skipping a meal here and there doesn’t exactly do a ton of harm, but in the long run if we fall into a routine of inconsistent healthy eating habits it takes a toll on our bodies.
Micronutrients, macronutrients and everything else in between are key components in fueling our systems, helping us perform and best of all, reaping the results of an amazing workout. So, forget skipping those meals or skimping on the good stuff. It’s time to get real about nutrition and find out why optimizing it is so important for fitness results.
1. What’s a Micronutrient and Why is it so important?
If you open up your kitchen cabinet right now, what would you find? Push aside the dry ingredients stored that help you make amazing high protein meals, and move past the plates and glasses. Most likely you’ll find a bottle of vitamins. And that’s exactly what micronutrients are.
According to the World Health Organization, micronutrients are vitamins and minerals your body needs to function. They’re also the nutrients needed in small amounts, hence the term “micro.” But just because they're given the term “micro” doesn’t mean they don’t have a great impact on our bodies ability to function. Actually it’s the opposite. Micronutrients have a vast impact on our body and without getting enough of them, we’re compromising our health. And really, who wants to do that?
Some common examples of micronutrients are iron (critical for motor and cognitive development), calcium (for strengthening bones), vitamin A (supporting eyesight) and zinc (promoting healthy immune functions). You get the picture.
Since most micronutrients, aside from vitamin D, aren’t produced naturally in our bodies, we have to rely on diet to gain their benefits. Just another reason why it’s so important to eat clean, balanced and nutrient dense meals. Three meals a day and snacks to keep our bodies and metabolism moving!
Micronutrients have a variety of functions and benefits some including-
- Hormone production
- Disease prevention
- Enabling our body to produce enzymes
- Supporting growth and development
So when we make a connection to nutrition and ultimately working out, depriving our bodies of the proper micronutrients we need results in energy loss, reduction in mental clarity and an overall capacity to perform. Characteristics also important for working out and getting results. Without proper concentration, energy and strength you’d never be able to push and pull like you want to or reach your fitness goals. Figuring out the right amount of micronutrients for you is essential so turning to experts like the nutritional coaches at CrossFit Threefold will no doubt get you on the right track.
Getting on track means you’re focusing on eating clean, healthy and nutrient dense foods. These types of foods will provide you with the most vitamins and minerals therefore leading to a stronger, healthier and happier you. Food not only provides your body with vitamins and minerals, but it gives you energy and sustainability to crush your workouts. So do yourself a favor, don’t skip those meals. Fueling up and making sure you aren’t skimping on nutrients like vitaminB12 and iron, will help your body support energy production, produce red blood cells and carry oxygen to your muscles. And even though we only need small amounts of these nutrients they’re necessary to support your best self.
Why deprive yourself of something so good for you, right? See I bet you’re glad you had those eggs and fruit this morning instead of skipping the most important meal of the day.
2. Macronutrients- Nutrients Needed in Larger Amounts to Get You Where You Want to Be
We talked about micronutrients, those vitamins and minerals we need in small amounts but now let’s focus on macros, or macronutrients. When working out, your body tires easily if not fueled properly both before and after your workout. They’re nutrients needed in larger amounts giving us energy. Think of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. And yes, you do need fats and carbs in your diet- don’t skip them!
Of course like everything else you have to be knowledgeable and eat in moderation. When you manipulate how many macros you incorporate into your diet, your workout results not to mention your energy soar! Let’s dig deeper.
One of the first macros skipped when people are trying to lose weight or start a workout regime are carbs. And honestly, that’s a big mistake. Carbohydrates (when eaten appropriately) are your body’s primary fuel. They provide muscles with energy and give you fuel so you don’t lose steam too quickly. When you’re working out hard and on a mission to gain strength and power, carbs are your friend. They just have to be the right kind of carb. Think whole grains, beans, lentils, low-fat or nonfat dairy or dairy alternatives. These types of carbs give you the energy you need to work hard and reach your goals faster. Try limiting refined carbs like white flour, breads, cookies, crackers and also fruit juices, soda and candy. That’s really a nonbrainer anyway since you’ve been working with your nutrition coach right?
Protein. Another macro essential to your body and its many processes. Proteins are involved in the proper functioning of your metabolic, enzyme and hormonal systems. Consequently, if you deprive your body of enough protein or eat too much for that matter, your system gets “out of whack.” You don’t perform your best and feel sluggish, unbalanced. It’s all about balance. Specifically you should focus on following the daily recommended allotment for protein which is about 0.8 kilograms per body pound weight. A simple calculation you can do right now to make sure you’re getting enough protein or any macro for that matter to fuel your body. It’s a numbers game, but one you should definitely be familiar with.
And if you’re trying to up your game, talk with your doctor or nutritional coach about exactly what you should be eating to gain results. So next time you head to the store, stock up on clean eating (organic if you can) protein such as meat, fish, poultry and dairy as well as whole grains like quinoa or brown rice. Proteins also help you feel full longer without adding extra, unwanted calories. Each time you shop and put food on your plate, make it count.
Fats are also essential in keeping your system lubricated and in tip-top shape. Yes, you do need fat to function. But again, it’s all about understanding the different types and how much you should be consuming. Fats like olive or avocado oils, fatty fish such as salmon, avocados, flax seed, nuts and nut butters will definitely give you the energy and ability to function at your best. Think of all the foods we’ve talked about. You have such a variety to choose from! Mix and match your protein, carbs and fats and you’ll never get bored or complain about eating blandly. Healthy eating isn’t as bad as you may think.
3. Don’t Skip Your Meals, You Need the Fuel- Make a Color Palette Each and Every Time
Now that you’ve got the rundown on micro and macronutrients you really should never skip a meal or think you’re too busy to slow down and fuel up. Hey, you only have one body so why not treat it like the amazing gift it is. Not only will you look better when making intentional decisions about foods, you’ll feel better inside and out. I bet you’ve heard about “eating a rainbow” at each meal. It may sound odd, but it’s true. When filling your plate with variety you’re unknowingly hitting all major food groups and creating clean and nutritious plates. Give it a try next meal. See how many colors you can add to your plate. Tomatoes, avocado, salmon, spinach. Those are just examples of nutrient dense, healthy foods. I bet you can visualize the color now.
Bottom line, eating healthy and focusing on nutrition gives you the edge you need in the gym and for your day to day. You’ll be focused, energetic and more apt to taking on and conquering challenges. Don’t ignore that stomach grumble or 3:00 slump, fuel it! Make sure you always have healthy and protein rich snacks on hand and you’ll never have to worry about feeling sluggish or unproductive. Face it, there’s so much to do on a daily basis so give your body the stamina and power it needs for living your best life!