I’ve been trying to avoid writing this post because I don’t want anyone to think that I am anti-macros. I am very rarely anti-anything. However, I think sometimes it gets confusing to the average public what they should be doing to gain health when most of the people they are following on social media don’t fit their demographic. I have been seeing tons of buzz lately from the fitness community about tweaking their diets to fit macros. I have been doing health talks for so many years now, that I almost busted out my very first powerpoint where I talk about macros! Macros just stands for macronutrients. When you hear this term, think carbs, protien, and fat. Athletes of all kinds have been using these macros in certain ratios to reach their goals for so many years that I can’t even count. This is not new territory. It’s where the concepts of carb-loading for endurance races, protein shakes after lifting, making weight for a fight, or even leaning down before a figure competition come from. Athletes are REALLY GOOD at manipulating macros in order to acheive certain performance results or certain aesthetic results. However, if you only think about macros, you miss an entire piece of the health equation that makes me nervous.
I live in the world of micros. When you hear the word micros, think nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. This is where a huge majority of health really lives. When you are eating for micros, you are creating sufficiency in the building blocks that your body needs to function, express health, and keep bad genes from turning on. You can still have a few extra pounds and eat beautifully from a micro perspective…just like you can have a six pack and still get cancer. This is where confusion sets in….
Average Joe follows superstar athlete on social media and sees a ripped lean machine and tries to follow the superstar macros. Problem #1, superstar athlete has a training schedule that demands a lot more carbohydrates than average Joe will ever expend. So, average Joe could STILL be fat trying to follow someone else’s macros. Problem #2, lets say average Joe has his macros tailored to his own unique situation, he is led to believe that as long as he is following those set macros, everything that fits that protein/carb/fat ratio is fair game. All of a sudden, we have average Joe AND superstar athlete putting themselves at risk for nutrient deficiency and therefore diseases like cancer, heart attacks, autoimmune diseases, etc. (Side note: a very well known TV personality that makes a living off looking the way she does just shared she found out she has an autoimmune disease and the doctors are changing everything about her diet….which was geared toward macros. Not because the macros weren’t on point with how she wanted to look, but because they were off point in terms of nutrient supply.) We have all heard of the marathon runner or the health nut that drops dead of a heart attack and everyone thinks “how could that be?! He/she was so healthy!” If you look at the diet, it was most likely tailored just for macros and not for micros.
If you see someone on social media with a six pack eating twinkies and ho-hos because they “fit their macros,” turn the other way. These foods do not fit into micros, and that is where your health lives. Micros determine your health, not your physique. So, it becomes ultra tempting to want to follow along with someone eating certain ratios if you can still have fast food, cakes, and the like as long as it fits your macros. Don’t be fooled. If you are an athlete that wants to focus on tweaking your diet to the point of weighing your food, measuring everything, timing everything, etc to enhance performance or aesthetics, then please do it with the right foods. The foods that still cover your micro bases. If you are an average Joe, worry about eating healthy, nutrient dense foods first, then after a year of that, consider tweaking your macros for performance or looks. Until you’ve covered your micro bases, your health is still at risk no matter how amazing your butt and abs look or how fast or strong you prove to be.