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Why are Macronutrients Important?

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If you are looking for ways to improve your diet, you’ve probably heard about macronutrients. Macronutrients are the nutrients your body needs in the highest quantities to function well. Macros give you energy, help prevent disease, and give your body the materials it needs to perform essential functions like digestion and tissue repair. Counting macros and ensuring you are eating them in the right quantity can help you meet your fitness goals in a healthy way.

At AP Wellness Training & Consulting, personal training services come with nutrition coaching. In addition to helping you understand the basic principles of nutrition, I will help you calculate the appropriate amount of macronutrients for your body. We’ll see how your body responds and adjust accordingly to ensure that you are not over or undereating. Nutrition is a huge part of looking and feeling your best, so keep reading to learn about macronutrients, and contact me if you need help getting started.

What are Macronutrients?

We’ve mentioned that macronutrients are the nutrients your body needs in large amounts to function properly. There is some disagreement about how many macros there are because some nutritionists count water and other essential nutrients as macros. Most people agree, however, that the three main macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are one of the body’s primary sources of energy. When you eat carbs, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then used by your cells for energy.

Complex carbs (like those found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) are generally healthier than simple carbs (like those found in processed foods, white flour, and sugar). This is because complex carbs take longer to break down, providing a more steady energy source. In addition, complex carbs contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than simple carbs.

Fats

Fats are a vital part of a healthy diet. Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad for you. In fact, some fats (like Omega-3 fatty acids) are essential for your health. Fats help you absorb vitamins, maintain healthy skin and hair, build cell membranes, and produce hormones. Eating the right kinds of fats can also help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol levels.

Proteins

Proteins are essential for the growth and repair of your tissues. They are also necessary for the production of enzymes and hormones. When you eat protein, your body breaks it down into amino acids, which are then used to build and maintain muscle tissue and perform other vital functions.

Macronutrients vs. Micronutrients

It’s important to understand the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients. Both are essential for your health, but you need them in different quantities.

Macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins) are the nutrients your body needs in large amounts to function properly.

Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are the nutrients your body needs in small amounts to function properly.

While you need both macronutrients and micronutrients to be healthy, most people get most of their calories from macros. This is because macros contain more calories than micronutrients. For example, a gram of protein contains four calories, while a gram of vitamin C contains only two.

This doesn’t mean that micronutrients are unimportant. In fact, vitamins and minerals are essential for your health. They just don’t provide as much energy as macronutrients do.

How Much of Each Macronutrient Do You Need?

The amount of each macronutrient you need depends on factors like age, activity level, and health goals.

For most people, a good general guideline is to get 50-60% of your calories from carbs, 20-30% from fats, and  10-35% from proteins. However, everyone is different, so it’s important to work with a nutrition coach to determine the correct macronutrient ratio for you.

Several factors can affect your macronutrient ratio, including:

Activity Level

Your activity level plays a significant role in how many carbs, fats, and proteins you need. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you’ll need fewer carbs and more fats and proteins than someone who is active.

Age

As you get older, your body’s needs change. Seniors generally need more protein and fewer carbs than younger adults.

Gender

Men generally need more protein and fat than women, while women need more carbs than men.

Health Goals

Your health goals can also influence your macronutrient ratio. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, you’ll want to eat fewer carbs and more protein and fat. If you are trying to build muscle, you’ll need more protein.

What Happens if You Don’t Get Enough of a Certain Macronutrient?

If you don’t get enough of a certain macronutrient, your health can suffer. For example, if you don’t get enough carbs, your body will break down protein for energy, which can lead to muscle loss. If you don’t get enough fat, you may have dry skin and hair, and you may be more likely to experience inflammation. And if you don’t get enough protein, you may have trouble building and repairing muscle tissue.

Good Sources of Macronutrients

All three macronutrients are found in a variety of foods. Generally, there are good and bad sources of macronutrients. You’ll want to avoid overly processed foods with things like simple carbohydrates and trans fats, but here are a few healthy options for your carbs, fats, and proteins.

Grains, beans, and other seeds are a good source of macronutrients.

Good sources of carbs include:

• Whole grains (like oats, quinoa, and brown rice)

• Fruits (like bananas, apples, and oranges)

• Vegetables (like broccoli, carrots, and sweet potatoes)

• Legumes (like beans and lentils)

Good sources of fat include:

• Nuts (like almonds and walnuts)

• Seeds (like chia seeds and pumpkin seeds)

• Avocados

• Olive oil

• Fish (like salmon and tuna)

Good sources of protein include:

• Meat (like chicken, beef, and pork)

• Eggs

• Dairy (like milk, yogurt, and cheese)

• Legumes (like beans and lentils)

• Nuts (like almonds and peanuts)

• Seeds (like chia seeds and pumpkin seeds)

Build a Healthy Diet with AP Wellness Training & Consulting

The key to a healthy diet is to eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods, including plenty of carbs, fats, and proteins. If you’re feeling overwhelmed after reading about macronutrients, that’s okay. A certified nutrition coach can help you understand your body and create meal plans incorporating all the healthy carbs, fats, and proteins you need. 

At AP Wellness Training & Consulting, I offer nutrition coaching as a standalone service or with personal training, so you have the support you need to meet your fitness goals. No matter where you live, my online services can help you succeed. Contact me today for a free fitness consultation.

aleks pavlovic

aleks pavlovic

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About Me

I am a personal trainer and health consultant based in San Francisco. I specialize in senior fitness, women’s and post-partum fitness, athletic training, nutrition coaching, corporate wellness programs, and health app design.

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