Macronutrients Vs. Micronutrients: What They Are & How They Differ?

macronutrients vs. micronutrients

We’ve all heard these words, but what exactly do they mean and why do they matter?

When we research various bodybuilding diets and ways to optimize nutrition, the words macronutrients and micronutrients always appear. We know what nutrients are. We get them through food and other things we consume and they work to power our lives, giving our bodies the proper fuel it needs to thrive inside and out of the gym. But knowing what these words mean is incredibly important and should not be overlooked, especially for those of us taking health and performance as seriously as possible.

Let’s take a look at the differences between macronutrients and micronutrients so we fully understand how to optimize our health, read those beyond confusing nutrition labels, and understand just what we need to thrive inside and out of the gym. Knowing what to do and what things mean can greatly influence our ability to enhance our health and performance for the absolute best.

macronutrients vs. micronutrients

What Are we Talking About?

For both macronutrients and micronutrients, it is important we first define what a nutrient is. A nutrient is a compound that cannot be produced by the body yet is essential for daily functioning (1). Since the body cannot produce nutrients, we must carefully select what we consume so we only get the best fuel to power our body. With many nutrients essential for sustaining life, grouping them into macro and micronutrients can help us easily identify and explain.

What Are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients are those that our bodies need in larger quantities and provide support for energy, our metabolism, muscle growth, and overall development as we continue to progress with our fitness goals (2). The three macronutrients that we all know and love are protein, carbs, and fat. As the body’s primary source of energy, these are needed in larger quantities and make up the majority of the calories we consume on a daily basis.


  • Protein: Since protein is the building block of all muscle, this plays a vital role in both muscle growth as well as recovery (3). For those looking to lose weight, it can also improve satiety for less snacking and better appetite control.
  • Carbs: A main source of energy, carbs are important for fueling your body and your mind so you thrive inside and out of the gym with everything you do (4).
  • Fats: Fats are important for brain development and hormone production (5). They can also keep you full so you don’t have to deal with snacking or unwanted calories.

dumbbell hip thrust

What Are Micronutrients?

As the name would suggest, micronutrients are those that are required in smaller quantities and responsible for supporting your body with things like repairing damaged cells, fighting diseases, among others (6). These are vitamins and minerals, those powerful nutrients packed into a multivitamin supplement to help cover all your daily doses that are important to your overall health. Examples being calcium, iron, vitamin C, B vitamins, and a host of others are all essential for keeping our bodies operating at a high level. Mainly found in the foods we eat, sometimes it is important for those who may be deficient to supplement in order to not suffer any unwanted side effects or illnesses as a result.


Searching For The Best Quality Nutrients

When it comes to finding the best nutrients, always looking to high quality foods is a sure fire way to ensure you maximize the benefits. Whole foods are a great way to go as they are nutrient dense and it is always important to make sure you supplement if need be so you never suffer a deficiency.

high protein breakfast ideas

Featured Supplements For Valuable Nutrients

When it comes to supplementation, we felt we should share two supplements with you, one to benefit your macronutrient intake and one to assist with your micronutrients. A protein powder and a multivitamin are two important supplements that we should never take for granted.

Performance Lab SPORT Protein

Performance Lab SPORT Protein is an impressive brown rice protein source that is cleaner than most other protein powders. Great for muscle growth, recovery, and weight loss, this is absolutely a top protein supplement.

Performance Lab SPORT Protein is much cleaner than other protein powders out there. Naturally flavored with organic cocoa, vanilla bean and ceylon cinnamon – this is the best tasting protein powder many customers have tried. Being a brown-rice protein powder, anyone can use it for lean muscle growth and weight loss for this powder contains great ingredients. Regardless of whether you’re dairy intolerant, vegan, allergic to soy or gluten, Performance Lab Protein contains no allergens at all. Supplying 20g protein and only 100 calories per serving, Performance Lab Protein can be easily included in your diet at all times, whether you’re cutting or bulking and is a great protein powder for men.

Check out our individual review for Performance Lab SPORT Protein here. Also, see where this protein powder falls our list of the Best Protein Powders!

Transparent Labs WellnessSeries Multivitamin

Code GENIRON10 For 10% Off

Transparent Labs WellnessSeries Multivitamin is an ultra-potent supplement for those looking to optimize their health. With 22 active ingredients, this will pump you with vital nutrients with easy absorption.

Transparent Labs WellnessSeries Multivitamin is an ultra-potent supplement to give you all of those vital nutrients that active females need to enhance female focus and female energy, as well as female wellness. The advanced formula works to ensure your body can properly absorb and utilize all of the essentials packed into this multivitamin. From a company who prides themselves on transparency and honest labels, you will know exactly what you are getting and how much with this great product. Its iron-free formula ensures it will be gentle on your stomach and makes it a top choice on the market.

Use the promo code GENIRON10 for 10% off! Also, check out our individual review here and our list of the Best Multivitamins For Men & Best Multivitamins For Women to see where this landed!

Wrap Up

When it comes to your intake of both macronutrients and micronutrients, it is important that we value both. With these being essential for our daily functions, the right amounts can keep us thriving inside and out of the gym. With so much going on in our lives, we just can’t afford a deficiency. Keep these two in mind and remember just how valuable these nutrients really are for not only our health, but also performance.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images of courtesy of Envato


  1. Savarino, G.; Corsello, A.; Corsello, G. (2021). “Macronutrient balance and micronutrient amounts through growth and development”. (source)
  2. Vergnaud, Anne-Claire; Norat, Teresa; Mouw, Traci; Romaguera, Dora, et al. (2013). “Macronutrient Composition of the Diet and Prospective Weight Change in Participants of the EPIC-PANACEA Study”. (source)
  3. Pasiakos, Stefan M.; McLellan, Tom M.; Lieberman, Harris R. (2015). “The effects of protein supplements on muscle mass, strength, and aerobic and anaerobic power in healthy adults: a systematic review”. (source)
  4. Jequier, E. (1994). “Carbohydrates as a source of energy”. (source)
  5. Milner, John A.; Allison, Richard G. (1999). “The Role of Dietary Fat in Child Nutrition and Development: Summary of an ASNS Workshop”. (source)
  6. Biesalski, K.; Jana, T. (2018). “Micronutrients in the life cycle: Requirements and sufficient supply”. (source)
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.