Tip: Don't Forget Your Micros

Sure, the macros – protein, carbohydrate and fat – are important, but bodybuilders shouldn't overlook micronutrients. Here's why.

Macronutrient Micromanaging

From the moment most lifters get serious about tossing iron, they spend their days adding up on their fingers and toes how many grams of protein, carbohydrate, or fat they just ate or are planning to eat. In doing so, they forget entirely, or almost entirely, about the micronutrients their bodies need. Vegetables and fruits are an afterthought.

Of course, to be completely accurate, most lifters obsess mostly over how much protein they're eating. In their minds, grams of protein equate to their level of lifter piousness – the more the better – and they spend the bulk of their days searching for their next angry protein fix. Grams of carbs and fat are still in their mental wheelhouse, of course, but not to the degree that protein is.

Many of these lifters go on to develop formidable bodies regardless, and they often present themselves as pillars of health, but lots of times these supposedly healthy bodies are a facade. I can't tell you how many of these guys – many of them well known – who have secret and horrible health problems, health problems that are uncharacteristic for men their age.

They've got serious heart conditions, serious gut problems, lab values that would, ironically, give their heart doctors a coronary, and a lot of it's from focusing on macros to the exclusion of micros.

Sure, not all lifters have fallen prey to this extreme kind of dietary segregation, but who knows how many of them will eventually get prematurely sick if they don't make dietary amends?

Hunt Some Plants

These lifters liken themselves to carnivores, but maybe they need to be reminded that genetically, they're just hairless apes who wear their baseball caps backwards. Rather than hunt nothing but meat, they should occasionally pursue a pickle, stalk some celery, or ambush some arugula.

They avoid this plant matter because they put their physiques ahead of their health. Maybe they didn't want to eat too much fruit because they were worried about fructose or getting fat in general. Maybe they thought vegetables tasted icky. Maybe they thought they could circumvent nature by just taking a daily gummy bear multi-vitamin. Or maybe they were just plain ignorant.

They're like the Golem in Jewish folklore, a powerful and terrible being formed entirely from clay or mud. If only the Golem had eaten his fruits and vegetables! What a mensch he would have been! Likewise, if only the average lifter spent more time thinking about nutrient-dense foods! He'd have a body that was as healthy as it looks.

Guys who have complete nutrition don't worry about getting fat because they're insulin sensitive. They don't worry about their estrogen levels because they're getting indoles and other estrogen-fighting phytochemicals from their fruit and vegetable diets. And they certainly don't worry about limp dicks because their plumbing is Drano-clean from keeping vascular inflammation to a minimum, courtesy of nutrient-dense foods filled with micronutrients.

Admittedly, it IS possible to live and be healthy on a diet consisting of only protein, i.e., animal tissue, but not just muscle meat. To stay healthy on an all-meat diet, you'd have to go full-Eskimo and eat organ meats – livers, kidneys, brains, and even eyeballs. That's where the nutrients are. But if you're not willing to go that distasteful route, get thee to eating nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables.

After all, even carnivores often eat the bellies of their herbivore or omnivore prey because they're usually laden with pre-digested vegetables, proving that even the supposedly dumb animals know more about nutrition than the average lifter.

Spend as much time obsessing about where your next hit of vegetables or fruit is coming from as you do obsessing about where your next hit of protein is coming from.