As we said before food is one of the 5 principles of fitness so you need to understand how it works and how it can help you maintain optimal health, for this we will start understanding macronutrients and micronutrients, I´ll try to keep everything simple here and we´ll get in depth in future posts as we need to.
We know that the goal of any diet or nutrition program must be to give nutrients to your body. Food is not only fuel, it´s information and your body need the right fuel and the right information to function and perform at peak. I know I´ve said before that highly processed or refined foods are unhealthy and you need to avoid them as much as possible, now that you avoid all those unhealthy foods you need to start learning about the differences in whole, fresh food, we know that this healthy foods have the nutrients your body needs to function so we will divide them into macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients give energy to your body in the form of calories, you may have heard that “calories are calories” or “all calories are equal”, this is completely false, all three groups are different, your body will not respond the same way to protein than to fat and in each group you´ll find healthy and unhealthy options, your body will respond in different ways to this three groups of macronutrients and how healthy they are.
It´s not the same to have a cup of oatmeal than to have some Oreo cookies, for your body it´s completely different, it´s not the same to have some rice and broccoli than to have a donut and ice cream (even when I love ice cream). I know these examples look silly, but I want to make the point clear, not all calories are created equal. This is comparing healthy vs unhealthy options, if we compare healthy options from different macronutrient groups like avocado with chicken or oatmeal with nuts, they are still different, and your body uses them in different ways even if they are healthy options. This is the reason why the famous “calories in – calories out” advice doesn´t work.
Each macronutrient has its own purpose, to help your body function properly every day, I´ll be talking about each macronutrient on separate posts to give you all you need to know and keep it simple so that you can take your time to understand it.
The first we´re going to learn are macronutrients, macronutrients are divided in three: proteins, fats and carbohydrates and your body needs them in big quantities. Each group has its own primarily function making all of them a crucial part of your diet.
Micronutrients which your body needs in smaller quantities. These micronutrients are vitamins and minerals and they are essential for optimal health and preventing diseases, they all have an specific function in your body.
The best way to get this nutrients is through food but nowadays you need to consume a lot of highly nutritious food to get the amounts your body needs, the reason why is because the soil is depleted, you don´t get the same amount of nutrients in vegetables that some years ago, this is why many people decide to take supplements like multivitamins and minerals.
If you are deficient in any of them your body won´t work properly and in some cases the negative effects are not that bad; examples of this can be chapped lips, hair loss but things can get really bad and cause a lot of health issues. Being deficient in micronutrients can make it harder for your body to maintain optimal health so it´s a lot easier that you get sick and this include chronic diseases.
All systems in your body from the digestive system, nervous system, circulatory system, skeletal system, muscular system, etc; they all need vitamins and minerals, some of them may need more vitamins, others more minerals but they all need some amount and all this systems work in conjunction, talking about how your body works can get really complex so we´re going to keep it simple with what we need to know not only to reach your fitness goals but to live a better life.
I´ve said before that weight loss and fitness in general can be complex, the reason why is because you need to know and understand the job of each macronutrient and how your body responds to each, you also need to understand the job of micronutrients and make sure you´re not deficient, once we understand this information all fitness goals will be simple.
Knowing the job of each macronutrients is key because you need to manipulate them in certain ways to achieve your fitness goals, if you want to lose fat or gain lean muscle you´ll need to adjust your nutrition and make some slightly changes to support your goal.
For me macronutrients and micronutrients are far more important than calories, I don´t consider a fitness program that only focuses on calories to be right because there are different ways to achieve the same amount of calories with different macronutrient ratios and each one will give us different results.
You may know by now that I love food, I love to cook and I consider food to be part of the culture and traditions of each country, I love traditional food and local cuisine. My approach to fitness and weight loss is to keep things simple by avoiding unhealthy, highly processed foods and to stick with whole fresh foods. I don´t count calories, I don´t count points, I don´t weight my food to set macro ratios I just have a clear idea of the amount of food and the types of food I´m eating.
When you understand each macronutrient and have an idea of the amount of food your body needs you´ll be able to enjoy food, while being able to maintain a healthy weight focusing on body composition in an enjoyable way.
Let us know if you have asked yourself what macros are and how our body uses them by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter.
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