In my last blog article, I discussed the benefits of meal prepping and covered the phases beginning with planning (and frequency), shopping and cooking all the way to the packing phase. Now, I’d like to cover the second part to meal prepping. As a refresher: meal prepping is the key to saving time and streamlining your schedule, your grocery budget and your healthy lifestyle! Calorie counting and the benefits behind tracking your macronutrients is the key to real measurable success! The article on meal prepping can be found here.
Many fitness enthusiasts track their weight as a way to gauge progress depending on their goals. Therefore, tracking calories and macronutrients should be a staple in your workout regimen as well for several reasons. First, let me cover the basics of macronutrients. An easy way to think about macronutrients or “macros” is they are the major groups of foods we should be eating.
(This should be common knowledge and if not, I’m glad I can share my knowledge with all my readers). Food groups such as complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein are the main macros to focus on. Vegetables should be included in your meals as well for a balance. However, carbohydrates, fats and protein are paramount.
Discipline plays a factor in keeping track of your macros, especially if you are new to the FitNow Club. My advice is to pick one way to count and scale up from there as your discipline solidifies and your confidence grows. Whether you start counting calories or macros, tracking your numbers in an app is tremendously helpful. One particular app comes immediately to mind.
I really believe this app is the end-all-be-all of food tracking based on its dynamic capabilities to track all major macro and micronutrients, water, weight and much more. MyFitnessPal is available for both iOS and Android platforms and gives users the ability to create a custom profile online which automatically syncs to the phone app. Not everyone needs their daily sodium intake to reach the pre-determined 3500mg or their daily Potassium to be capped at 4000mg. Generally speaking, less sodium and more potassium is the way to go and you can update your goals with a few clicks online.
The beauty of counting calories is that it goes hand-in-hand with weighing yourself. Apps let you set a daily caloric goal and maintains with every entry. As you hit your pre-determined daily caloric goal, use the bathroom scale to cross-check your food intake and vice versa. If you’re eating the right amount of food, the scale will reflect your progress and vice versa. Think of the two as a checks-and-balance system.
One point I’d like to interject is to not go overboard with the bathroom scale. My advice is to pick a day, pick a time, mark your calendars and stick to weighing yourself at that time. For example, I have one client who picked Tuesday as his day. Every Tuesday morning, he wakes up, relieves himself and steps on the scale nude for the most accurate reading. Keep in mind: clothes and shoes worn one time and skipped the next will throw off your reading. With variables such as food digested, water retention, bloating, stress, the average person’s weight can fluctuate up to 8 pounds in a day. Keep it consistent and omit the variables that can throw off your progress.
The beauty of counting macros is simply knowing what you are ingesting. Everyone will have a different split between carbs, fats and protein (see above for reference). With a food tracker, you will know ahead of time to substitute your nightly sandwich for a protein shake and peanut butter—if your carbs are maxed for the day, but you haven’t hit your protein and fat goals. If you need assistance in establishing a baseline split for your macros, please feel free to reach out to me directly at 1-888-815-4360.
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