What's a "Macro"?

on Wednesday, 01 October 2014. Posted in Health & Wellness , FitBlog, Inspiration, Exercise, Nutrition


Sohee Lee, of www.soheefit.com, gets this question all the time.  What is a macro?


“Macros” is short for “macronutrients”.  These macronutrients are comprised of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.  These are nutrients that the body requires in large amounts.  Macronutrients are not to be confused with micronutrients, which are vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D that are needed in minute quantities.


Protein is perhaps the most essential macronutrient and is kind in any fitness nut’s book.  Important for muscle repair and muscular hypertrophy, it also plays a crucial role in catalyzing biochemical reactions, DNA repair, maintaining the structural and functional integrity of cells, and much more.


Insufficient protein will yield muscle loss, especially when in a caloric deficit.  It is therefore important to prioritize protein above all else, and it is not uncommon for some individuals to consume far more protein than carbohydrates or fats.


The primary sources of protein are animal-based – think meats, poultry, and eggs.  As such, it is necessarily more difficult for vegetarians and vegans to get sufficient protein in their diet without resorting to heavily soy-based products.


Carbohydrates are the body’s main energy source and serve as a direct fuel source during activities that require energy expenditure.  They are important in both physical as well as mental exercises.  (In other words, the brain needs carbohydrates to function at optimal capacity.)


Carbs are often broken down into simple or complex forms.  Simple carbs are easily broken down by the digestive system and provide quick-release energy:  candy, juice, soda, and the like.  Complex carbs, on the other hand, are more difficult to digest and consequently are broken down and released much more slowly into the bloodstream:  think brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa. 


Fats, despite their reputation, are critical for the body to function properly.  Important for quality skin and hair, they promote healthy cell function as well as provide cushioning for the body’s joints and organs.


Essential fatty acids (EFAs) cannot be synthesized by the human body and must therefore be ingested via food.  Foods high in EFAs include fish, shellfish, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.


Finally, we come to the calories.   The technically correct term is kilocalories, or Calories with a capital “C”, though for the sake of colloquial speak, we’ll stick with the better-recognized spelling.  A kilocalorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.  When we measure the number of calories in a certain food, then we are attempting to ascertain how much energy it contains. 


There are other things to consider like fiber, a subset of carbohydrates.  And even alcohol, in its own separate group as a sugar alcohol. 


Here is a list of commonly consumer wholesome food items categorized by macronutrient.  This is by no means a comprehensive list.  As always, consult with your physician before making any dietary changes. 




Egg whites

Whole eggs

Greek yogurt

Chicken breast

Turkey breast

Pork tenderloin


Cottage cheese

Extra lean ground beef

Top round steak

Top sirloin steak

Flank steak

White fish (cod, halibut, haddock, mahi mahi, tilapia, etc.)


Protein powders




Old-fashioned oatmeal

Brown rice

Jasmine rice



Ezekial break

Sweet Potatoes


White/Russet potatoes

Fibrous vegetables





Extra virgin olive oil

Extra virgin coconut oil

Fish oil


Grass-fed butter

Natural almond butter

Natural cashew butter

Natural peanut butter

Natural coconut butter

Mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, cashews, etc.)

Cheese (full fat varieties)


Coconut milk


Sohee Lee, of www.soheefit.com, assumes no liability for this information.  

The Trim Gym is not a 
physician, or nutritionist.  Before making any changes with changes to your diet or exercise program ... we ask that you consult with your physician first.   


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