Micro vs Macro: What you need to know

Healthy food

We all need macronutrients and micronutrients in our diets. Macronutrients are essential – they give us energy, and they are needed for the growth and maintenance of our body. Macronutrients (or macros for short) are made up of carbohydrate, protein and fat.

Those who are training, have a specific goal or body type may tweak the percentage of each macronutrient in their day-to-day diet. Or look to supplements to increase their protein intake, and therefore muscle growth and repair.

Image of Reflex Ambassador Emil

I usually aim to keep my protein around 2g per kg body weight so at 115kg this is around 230g for me. As I lean down and start to drop body fat I tend to increase my protein intake slightly to preserve muscle and can go to 250g or even 280g per day. As well as maintaining and growing muscle, protein is great for keeping you full when dieting!

Emil Hodzovic, Reflex Ambassador, Doctor and Bodybuilder


Given that ‘macro’ is the Greek for large and makes up a high proportion of our diet, it can be easy to focus on them and forget about the small, yet equally important, micronutrients.

With this in mind, we wanted to give a little time to the micronutrients. Here we discuss what they are, why they are in important and where can you get them from.

What are micronutrients?

While macros help our bodies to function in a big way – think general energy, growth and maintenance, micronutrients help the more intricate parts of our body – the workings of our organs, nervous system, cells, joints, ligaments and metabolism to name a few.

They also help with the efficient metabolism of macronutrients, which can maximise all your efforts in the gym. Despite being needed in tiny amounts, micronutrients are essential to our diets.

Where can I get micronutrients from?

Vitamin A

Cheese, eggs, oily fish, liver, milk and yoghurt are some examples of where you can get a good source of vitamin A. You can also eat food with beta-carotene, which your body can change into vitamin A – foods with beta-carotene include yellow, red and leafy green vegetables and yellow fruit like mango or apricots.

B vitamins and folic acid

Thiamin (Vitamin B1)

Good sources include fresh and dried fruit, eggs, peas, wholegrain breads, some fortified breakfast cereals and liver.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

Milk, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals and rice are good sources of vitamin B2, although these foods should be kept out of direct sunlight because UV light can destroy vitamin B2.

Niacin (Vitamin B3)

Vitamin B3 can be found in meat, fish, wheat flour, eggs and milk.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is present in lots of food – some examples are pork, poultry, fish, wholegrain cereals, eggs, vegetables and milk.

Biotin (Vitamin B7)

Vitamin B7 can be found in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and wholegrains. It’s also made by the bacteria that lives naturally in our bowel.

Vitamin B12

This is found in meat, salmon, cod, milk, cheese, eggs and some fortified breakfast cereals.

Folic acid

Leafy greens like broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, asparagus and peas contain folic acid. It’s also found in chickpeas and fortified breakfast cereals.

Vitamin C

Oranges are known as being an excellent source of vitamin C. You can also get this vitamin from peppers, strawberries, broccoli and potatoes.

Vitamin D

Sunlight is the primary way of getting vitamin D but you can also get it from red meat, oily fish, liver and egg yolks.

Vitamin E

Nuts, seeds, avocados, wholegrains and plant oils like olive oil are a good source of vitamin E.

Vitamin K

Leafy greens appear again – this time as a source of vitamin K.


Iron can be found in meat, beans, nuts, wholegrain and kale.


Calcium is usually associated with dairy products but this mineral can also be found in leafy greens and nuts.


Again, this mineral can be found in nuts, leafy greens and dairy. Wholegrains and meat are also a good source of magnesium.


Famously found in bananas, you can also get potassium from nuts, seeds, pulses, meat and fish.


Meat, dairy, bread and cereal products are good sources of zinc.


Selenium can be found in meat, fish, eggs, brazil nuts and oats. Also, along with vitamin C and zinc, selenium can be found in our Beauty Bar.

To find more out about the sources of these vitamins and minerals, the recommended amounts and what their functions are, take a look at the NHS guide.

While micronutrients can be found in food, those with vitamin deficiencies, specific dietary requirements or wanting to ensure they’re getting their daily quota may turn to multivitamins. For your vitamin top up, shop Nexgen Pro.


What our ambassadors say about supplements


Reaching a protein goal is tough on purely just food, so supplements are extremely useful. Other than protein, I have range of daily supps such as omega 3, multivitamin and vitamin D. Read more here.

Alex Crockford, Reflex Ambassador and PT


Gauri working out

When I can feel a cold coming on, I do like to ensure I top up my vitamins with Nexgen Pro to ensure my body is fully equipped to fight off any nasty bugs! Read more here.

Gauri Chopra, Reflex Ambassador and PT



Carbohydrates- There’s a Time and a Place

Carbohydrates- There’s a Time and a Place

In recent years dietary fats have been pushed aside and carbohydrates seem to be public enemy number one. It only takes a quick search on the internet to be informed by a self-proclaimed nutrition expert that pasta will make us fat and sugar will give us cancer; whilst another nutritionist will tell us that we need carbohydrates to keep our metabolism healthy and lose fat. It is no wonder we are confused as to whether these little molecules of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen are friend or foe.

So what’s the truth?

All carbohydrates are derived from plants; which means in their natural state, think sweet potatoes, rice, carrots, dates, raspberries and wheat- they are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. All of which protect us from heart disease, cancer and diabetes. However, when we take a natural carbohydrate and refine it, process it and add fats and artificial chemicals to it, that’s when it can be unbeneficial (detrimental) to our bodies. So potatoes dug up from the ground and boiled until soft are rich in potassium, magnesium, folate vitamin B and iron; but when we peel, slice and fry a potato in rapeseed oil then add salt and preservatives to it to make crisps, we remove the nutrients and fibre whilst increasing the fat and salt content. Effectively the crisp making process turns a nutrient dense food into a nutrient sparse one. The same goes for bread, we automatically associate it with making us gain fat; but a minimally processed wholegrain loaf is rich in fibre and B vitamins, only when we play with it – for example refine it and remove its fibre to turn it into white flour then roll it thinly and top it with cheese, tomato and pepperoni does it turn into something that can easily cause excess fat storage.

So, if we eat carbohydrates in their most natural state, they provide us with nutrients essential for optimal health. That does not mean we can eat as much fruit, vegetables and potatoes as we like though; we must consider the type, timing and amount we consume in order to ensure healthy body composition, good energy levels and our best sporting performance.

Carbohydrate Types

Carbohydrates are split into two main types. The first is starchy carbohydrates often referred to as slow release, which include foods such as pasta, rice, potatoes and wholegrain bread. These foods are often high in fibre which is great for gut health and broken down into smaller particles of sugar and slowly absorb into the blood stream to provide a regular trickle of energy to the body.

The other type of carbohydrates are simple sugars, often referred to as fast release. These are rapidly absorbed into the blood stream and provide an almost instant source of energy- although this energy does not last for long. Simplesugars are found in table sugar, jelly sweets and fruits. Both starches and sugars have health and performance benefits for us.

Carbohydrates contain four calories per gram, which is less than half of dietary fat; however, we still have to consider the amount of carbohydrate we consume, especially if we are looking to lose weight. Put simply, if we consume more calories than we expend, even if we get them from vegetables, we will put on weight.

Carbohydrates raise our blood glucose levels- this triggers the pancreas to release the hormone insulin. Insulin’s role is to decrease blood glucose to safe levels by directing glucose into muscle cells and the liver. We do not want continuously elevated insulin levels as this can prevent fat breakdown, so if weight loss is our goal we need to ensure are carbohydrates only take up a quarter of our plate at meal times and choose higher fibre options.

Using Carbohydrates Effectively

If we are training frequently and looking to improve our strength or endurance performance, then we need a higher amount of carbohydrates to fuel our training and support our recovery. At all meal times we should be choosing starchy carbohydrates, however immediately after a training session we would benefit from choosing quicker release to start the recovery process quickly. If a training session, especially endurance, is over 60 minutes then our performance would benefit from a very fast release carbohydrate during our workout to keep our body fueled.

A typical day could look like;

  • Breakfast: ½ cup oats with milk, pecans and raspberries
  • Snack: 1 pear
  • Lunch: Avocado, feta and quinoa salad
  • Snack: Hummus and vegetable sticks
  • Immediately post workout: glass of milk, handful of dried dates
  • Dinner: Bean and vegetable curry with wholegrain rice

The take home message is that we should be nourishing our bodies with natural, unprocessed carbohydrates to lose fat and improve our health and our performance; we need to simply consider the time, type and quantity we are consuming. It’s time to end our carb-phobia for good.

Albion Magnesium Bisglycinate – why it is so superior to other forms of Magnesium

Reflex products that contains albion magnesium bisglycinate

Magnesium is probably the most important mineral for the athlete. Its role in human biology is simply enormous and numerous books have been written just on Magnesium alone. For the purposes of this short blog I just want to explain the basics of why Magnesium is very important for athletes and secondly why choosing the right type of Magnesium is so vitally important because one particular type of magnesium is practically worthless.

To start with let’s look at some of the claims that are allowed under the EFSA Health Claims. These are EU approved claims which can be made by supplement and food companies when using Magnesium in significant amounts.

Magnesium contributes to:

  • a reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • electrolyte balance
  • normal energy yielding metabolism
  • normal muscle function
  • normal protein synthesis

As you can see nearly any individual involved with sport will want to ensure that they are getting adequate magnesium when it contributes to so many vital aspects of human biology. A deficiency will certainly have a negative impact on your training and bodybuilding goals. A healthy diet will, of course, address the chances of a deficiency but even the healthiest of diets still has to rely on the actual foods delivering the magnesium in the first place. It’s a simple fact that today’s food contains fewer minerals than they used to due to intensive farming techniques. If you couple this with the fact that hard training athletes requirements for Magnesium increases its easy to see why it’s important to ensure you are getting plenty of Magnesium in your diet, whether it be from food or supplements or ideally both.

I believe that it’s so important to the sports person that I insisted that numerous Reflex products provide significant amounts of highly bioavailable Albion® Magnesium Bisglycinate. For example our state of the art multivitamin formula Nexgen® PRO supplies over half of your recommended daily amount of Magnesium and our super advanced All-in-one bodybuilding supplement One Stop® Xtreme also provides a massive 300mg of Magnesium from just 2 servings. Numerous Reflex Nutrition products supply magnesium and they all have one thing in common they all supply highly bioavailable forms such as Albion® Magnesium Bisglycinate.

So what is Albion® Magnesium Bisglycinate?

Basically its Magnesium bonded to the amino acid Glycine. The patented process that Albion® Minerals uses ensures that the resulting mineral is fully reacted (one of the very few that is) and is highly bioavailable. The biggest advantage is that the structure does not interfere nor compete for absorption with other minerals that is so common with basic unbound minerals.

Below is a video that fully explains the benefits of the Albion® Magnesium chelated product.

Check your Label for this Inferior Form, its everywhere.

One of the cheapest forms of Magnesium is Magnesium Oxide, it’s used in thousands of products worldwide, but guess what? It also happens to have the poorest bioavailability 1,2 at a pathetic 4% absorption. From a personal perspective I can’t really understand why any supplement company that really knows what they are doing would use Magnesium oxide. It might mean a great label claim but does almost nothing for the consumer. It’s a bit like making a protein powder that your body cannot absorb, a complete waste of money.

Boost Your Magnesium Intake Today

The take home message from this article is simple. If you are serious about your training and sport take your nutrition seriously too and make sure you getting enough Magnesium. Whilst I’m here to promote Reflex products I’m also here to give out good advice so that doesn’t mean that you need to go and buy a shed load of Magnesium supplements. If you are already taking a multi vitamin, which many of you will be, check the label for the source of Magnesium, if it’s not a bioavailable form like Magnesium Bisglycinate or Magnesium Citrate, switch to one that does. Ensure your diet is full of foods that are rich in Magnesium too and you may well experience a significant step forward in your future sporting goals.

If you want to find out more about Magnesium and what it can do for you I would seriously consider reading “The Magnesium Miracle” by Carolyn Dean, also check out YouTube for some of Carolyn Dean’s videos and interviews. Reflex Nutrition have no connection with the Author, I’ve read the book myself and always recommend it because it’s very easy to understand and is based on scientific fact not fiction.

Also keep a look out for a forth coming article on Albion® Minerals, an interesting look at why we use nearly all of their minerals in Reflex Nutrition products.

1 Magnesium bioavailability from magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide. J Am Coll Nutr 1990 Feb. Lindberg JS
2 Bioavailability of US commercial magnesium preparations. Magnes Res 2001 dec. Firoz M.

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