Diet is an essential part of the health and fitness. No matter how hard you work at your training, you will not see results until your nutrition is fixed. Period. This game called diet is not easy by any measure. Maintaining your diet along with your daily routine is not everyone’s cup of tea. But those who do, succeed and others don’t. This is what puts two people who train regularly apart. Diet. One of the major mistakes which I myself made as a beginner was not taking care of my macro-nutrients which we know by the name of Macros. I did maintain a proper diet like most of you but without any knowledge of the same. This is the equivalent to following something blindly. You have no idea of your protein intake, no idea about the carbs and nothing on the fats as well. You just sit there and hope it works.
Why Tracking Your Macros Are Important!
No matter what your goals are, your nutrition will ultimately decide whether you’ll reach there or not. I am not going to go into the details of the different Macros, but for now just understand that all the proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals, comprises of your Macros. The food you eat consists of Micro-nutrients and Macro-nutrients. For different bodies and goals the amount in which these nutrients needs to be consumed varies.
For example- You are someone looking to lose weight, you’ll need to reduce the carbs and fat intake while maintaining the required amount of protein. On the other hand, there is someone looking to gain muscle, he/she will need to increase the protein and carbs intake while monitoring the fats at the same time. But how do you know how much protein are you currently consuming and how much do you need to increase? Or what is your current carb intake and by how much you’ll need to cut it down? To do this you will need to have a count, a numerical value which will be the indicator of your daily macro intake upon which you can work.
Let us take my example: My current body-weight is 78 kgs and I need to gain muscle. So, in order to do that, I would be needing around 156 grams of protein ( twice the body-weight ) to maintain or gain any kind of muscle. How do I get to know that I am meeting my daily protein requirements? By keeping a track of them. By monitoring my diet I can easily come to know what is the distribution, what foods are high in carbs and what foods are high in fats. What foods to avoid and what foods not to avoid, what needs to change, which cheat meal is harming me the most, Everything.
How to do it?
Now comes the essential part. How to go about it. There are a number of ways to keep a record of your diet:
- Your Fitness Journal– As discussed in one of my previous posts, how much a fitness journal is important. You can write down your meals on a timely basis in this record and check your progress. This is a more old-school method which is gradually becoming obsolete but it works.
- Diet Plan: If you can get a meal plan specially designed for you according to your goals, there can be nothing better. This way not only you know exactly what you have to eat, but also it saves you the trouble of keeping a log and counting the macros. You can consult a Dietitian or ask your trainer for the same.
- Health and Fitness Apps: In this era of digitization, there are a lot of apps to take care of your fitness needs. These apps not only track your meals but also provides you with a complete analysis of the foods you are consuming. My personal favorites include:
HealthifyMe – One of the best nutrition apps trending right now. I am currently using this and I can’t be more satisfied. The best part is that the database includes a large variety of Indian foods so it becomes a lot easier to maintain a record. Also, it provides you with a timely meal and water reminder to keep you on the right path.
MyFitnessPal- It is among the most famous and most widely used nutrition app all over the world much to the fact that it has been developed by Under Armour, a big sports apparel giant renowned worldwide. The user interface is great and this too boasts a large database of foods to make it a lot easier for its users to track their macros. I used MyFitnessPal before switching to HealthifyMe. Both these apps are easily available on both the Android and iOS platforms for you all to get going right away.
Honestly, I feel that using these nutrition apps is the most convenient way to go about your diet. This keeping a track all the time can get very tough and irritating at times. Be patient. No matter what, you will have to watch what you eat or there is no way out. These statistics, analysis, and data about your diet will make you more aware and cautious towards food, pushing you towards healthier eating habits. When you eat something junk, say a Pizza and make an entry, you come to know exactly how much fats, or carbs you have cheated on which gives you a measure on how to make up for these extra calories. Hence, if you are not someone who keeps a record of your diet, start now. Results? guaranteed.
Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.
– Bethenny Frankel