Updated: Jan 10, 2021
Anyone who's started training and monitoring their progress has probably starting to be more aware of what they're eating and how they're fuelling yourself. If you’ve never tracked your calories or macros before (this refers to macronutrients, the amounts in grams of carbohydrates, protein and fats you’re consuming), it can be difficult to know where to start. Do you even need to track your food intake at all if you want to live a healthy lifestyle?
If you have a goal, be it weight loss or muscle gain, then it’s definitely important to know how much food you’re consuming. Too many or too little calories, and progress will be slow, leaving you demotivated and frustrated. However, if you’re training for health, you have an overly busy lifestyle leaving you little time to prep food, or enjoy eating out a lot, it might be worth assessing whether this is another stress you really need.
Tracking your calorie and macronutrient intake via an app (the most popular and commonly known is MyFitnessPal) for the short term can allow your coach to identify the areas where you could easily make adjustments to help optimise your health or performance. For example, are you eating enough protein? Do you eat a lot of processed foods? How high is your sugar intake? When do you consume the most of your calories?
Doing this for a week would allow a general overview of an average week, giving you more awareness and allowing your coach to make recommendations.
If you have performance or aesthetic goals, it will certainly be worth committing to working with a nutrition coach and investing in tracking your consumption long term. However, this requires a high level of commitment and accuracy. If you’re training for health, or just want to maintain your energy levels and perform well in the gym, it’s worth thinking about whether this is truly the right road for you long term.
A short term assessment of your calorie needs can stop that slippery slope into obsession over every morsel that passes your lips. At my worst, I was known to weigh how much lettuce I would eat in a salad. Believe me when I say that from a mental health perspective, thats not a great place to be.
If health is your goal, there are some easy ways to optimise your nutrition without having to use a tracking app. Drink more water, eat protein at every meal, eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and chew your food! Get in touch with one of our coaches to find out more.
If you do want to take your performance to the next level, you have a weight loss or muscle gain goal, or you just simply aren’t aware of your calorie consumption, it’s worth experimenting with a nutrition tracker.
Remember, using a tracker to count your calorie and macronutrient intake is just another tool. Having a varied diet, sleeping well, drinking plenty of water and minimising stress are the most effective tools you already have in your toolkit.