Nutrition Tracking: The Hows & Whys
If you’re getting started (or even a veteran) in your body-changing pursuit for a new wardrobe and better quality of life, you can give yourself up to a 30% better chance of INCREDIBLE results by tracking your nutrition. As far as I’m concerned, nutrition tracking is a MUST to know what’s going into your body for a real, eye-popping transformation and you’re selling yourself short if you don’t. 80% of your success is based on nutrition.
That said, here’s the WARNING: You can sweat, pant and work yourself to the point you’re hobbling like you belong in an Old Folks Home but but if you eat with the same ol’ junk pattern you always have, your mirror results will be MEAGER at best. So many people stumble at this point because there’s nothing like working hard and not seeing results… but remember: The battle for the body transformation you want exists on two fronts. Nutrition AND workouts. A hard workout doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want, it means you need to EAT RIGHT TO GET WHAT YOU WANT.
What’s Your Goal?
OK, so you’re in it to win it. AWESOME. Before you start chowing down, know your ultimate goal. It’s most likely the feeling of “I want to look like that” when you purchased your P90X (or 10 Minute Trainer/Insanity/Asylum/P90X2) program. How do you want your body to change? Do you want to torch your body fat? Get toned? Pack on some muscle mass? Do both at the same time? Once you have your goal, read this:
Get to know the Body-Changing Blueprint daily calorie levels based on the body goals you’re after. Once you dial your calorie requirements in, the rest falls into place as you cement your plan and get after it. Now we get to the tracking portion to make sure you hit the nutritional goals you’ve laid out on a daily basis. After all, it’s the accumulation of daily effort that leads to the mind-blowing changes you’ll begin seeing over the next 90-ish days.
Why Tracking Your Nutrition Is Important
It goes like this: as I mentioned earlier, those who track their nutrition are significantly more likely to nail their goals and stay on track. No endeavor is worth anything without accountability and tracking your nutrition gives you accountability. You know exactly where you go off track and can correct and adjust. Without it, you’re just swinging in the dark. In my case, I tracked my nutrition for a full year because I didn’t want possibility of failure or setback.
All too often when I speak with people frustrated about their progress, we quickly get to the nutrition arena. People insist they’re “eating clean” but when I plug their numbers into a tracking system (more on that here in a sec) they’re almost always off. Too many carbs, not enough calories, too many calories, low protein, too much fat… the list goes on. Tracking fixes this 10 times out of 10. You SEE every meal, every portion, every day. Tracking is a recipe for incredible success.
Tracking Your Nutrition: Get Started
Tracking your nutrition sounds time consuming but it’s actually pretty simple and as you get into it, (gasp) fun! I’m going to recommend and show you how to use Livestrong.com’s The Daily Plate (My Plate) as it has an online and iphone/android app for on the go action. Daily Plate is what I use and LOVE but if you’re feeling rebellious there are other options like “Fitday”.
You’ll need to sign up for an account (they’re free) if you haven’t already. You’ll be asked to fill out your calorie goals (which you’ll have from the Body-Changing Blueprint. You’ll have the option to add fitness for the day but we want to keep it simple and NOT track calories burned through your workouts. You’ll simply choose “Enter Your Own Calorie Goal” at the exact levels determined by the Blueprint instead of the calculator Livestrong provides. I’ve done it both ways but this way takes the confusion out while allowing for tweaks as you make changes moving forward.
When you first begin, you will have to track down you will have to track down the foods you’re using in Livestrong’s vast database. If it’s in a grocery store, grows in a garden or on a menu, it’s probably in there. Pay attention– there are some items in the database that aren’t accurate so you’ll want to check against your labels. But no worries- Livestrong will soon begin to recognize the foods you’re choosing and give them top priority. For unmarked meats and fruits/vegetables, you can verify calorie information at FoodFacts.com. After that it’s eeeeeasy– you just need to make a point to DO IT.
Tracking Your Nutrition: How To
At this point, all you have to do is enter the foods you eat and assign them to a “meal”. As you can see below, I had Shakeology for breakfast with 1 tbsp. of Peanut Butter and a side of egg whites and 1 slice of crumbled, lean turkey bacon for extra protein. As you can see below, my breakfast was 365 calories with 48g protein, 24g carbs and 10g fat– very close to a Fat Shredder 50/30/20. You do the same with each meal. I sit in front of a computer all day, so this is pretty easy. If you’re on the go, just use the app or make notes and enter it all in end of day. I find it easier to do it all on the fly.
The great thing about Livestrong’s Calorie Tracker is its pie chart– this makes everything VERY easy to follow. You don’t ever need to worry about what your protein/carb/fat percentages are beyond looking at this pie chart which gives a running total of the days calorie mix. As you enter your foods in, My Plate calculates the percentage in an easy to read pie chart. Short on carbs? Take some in next meal or snack. High on carbs? Remove some from the next meal or snack. It’s that simple and AWESOME in keeping you on visual track:
As you play with your tracking, you’ll find you can plan weeks in advance so you know what you’re eating every day. You can also play with various menu items to see how it affects your overall calories for the day. In short, it’s AWESOME.
The key here is to shoot for being as close to your target calories and macronutrient percentages every day. Don’t sweat it if you’re 1-2% higher or lower. That range is A-OK. As you eat 5-6 meals a day, you’ll begin to get a feel for your intake and know what foods and portions work to keep you in your goals.
See? Not all that hard once you get into it.
As I always say, no man/woman is a fitness island and success grows exponentially with support. Stay on track and receive personal tips and advice by adding me as your free coach and mentor right here. Together, we’ve got this!