Most people already have a pretty general idea of how to eat “healthy” if you ask them. Most people also have some sort of ideal figure or fitness goal that has crossed their mind once or thrice over the span of weeks, months, or years. Often times I find that many people are over complicating the process of what it takes to achieve an aesthetic goal whether it be fat loss, weight maintenance, or muscle gain. Imagine if you were just as consistent tracking your calories and macronutrients as you were catching the next episode of American Idol. Sadly, between tracking your food consumption and watching American Idol, one takes significantly much less of your valuable time. With today’s technology, there are so many ways to track and monitor the progress of your nutrition and exercise all within a total of about 10 minutes a day.
Modern day technology has bestowed upon us FREE apps for our smartphones such as My Fitness Pal, My Net Diary, or the My Plate Calorie Tracker from Livestrong. People often tell me that it’s too much work to track their calories but it’s also going to be too much work to find a new bikini size when beach time rolls around or when you still don’t have the top two abs of your six-pack yet. True story. It doesn’t take much but the majority of the American population seems to forever be on a bulking cycle.
So where should you start? First, you’ll need to establish caloric baseline that is largely dependent of your goal of weight loss, weight maintenance, or weight gain. There are a number of sites, such as Free Dieting, that will calculate a fairly accurate amount of calories based on your age, weight, height, and activity level. The one thing I like about Free Dieting is that they give you three numbers based on calories for weight maintenance, weight loss, and extreme weight loss (which I do not recommend). Following that, they give you a sample 7-day caloric breakdown.
The main goal is finding your numbers and staying consistent with them on a daily basis because weight manipulation is a chronic test of determination and will power. Pounds are lost, maintained, or gained in weeks, months, and sometimes years. Get used to that fact. Quick weight loss or weight gain is never the best answer because if you lose weight too quickly, you run the risk of losing your hard-earned muscle and strength which would then increase your body fat percentage. Going on a See Food Diet trying to bulk is a sure way to add some body fat. Sure you’ll gain SOME lean tissue but how much muscle you gain during a bulking cycle is relative to your training experience.
In my opinion, My Fitness Pal is hands down the most comprehensive tool available to monitor how much food you’re eating or not eating. Even better is that it let’s you adjust and track your macronutrients and micronutrients. There’s even a free app for it on all major platforms as well. My Fitness Pal has over 2 million food items in their database and is still growing everyday. All you have to do is select the amount and enter the information. Whether your goal is to lose weight or gain weight, make sure you custom set your caloric goal based on the numbers you get from Free Dieting because My Fitness Pal tends to shoot really low sometimes. If you have a specific fitness goal, plan your nutrition around it and use any of the above mentioned apps to help keep you on track. Hope the info helps! Just stay consistent!