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Posted by Barry on Sep 3, 2012

Tracking Nutrition

You’ve heard me say over and over that with these workout programs, the nutrition and supplements are 80% of the results, with the workouts being the other 20%.  Why do I say that?  Because it’s true!!  You can bust your tail on the workouts all you want, but if you fuel your body with the same old junk that you always have, your results will be MINIMAL.  Usually, this is the cause of people getting frustrated and quitting the program altogether — they work their tail off on the workouts and think that because of all the exercise they are getting, they can eat whatever they want.  Then they see hardly any change and lose the motivation to do the workouts at all.

So where do you start if you want to give your all to the nutrition and supplements?  First, pick a plan that will help you reach your specific goals.  Are you trying to lose body fat?  Gain muscle mass?  Lose body fat and gain muscle mass?  Tone up?  Maintain?  I have some great tips on these in the “Getting Nutrition Right” post.

Get familiar with your plan, and determine what you will need to do to get to your specific goals.  What nutrition plan and what supplements will maximize the results you are busting your tail to get with the workouts?  Make a plan and stick to it!

Okay, then what?  You’ve got a plan.  You know what will get you to the goal.  How do you follow through DAILY to make sure you are right on track?  You simply MUST track your nutrition.  I’ve been doing this for over 2 years and I still track everything, because I don’t want anything to derail me from my fitness goals.  If I get off track on my calories or percentages, I will know it instantly!  I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with folks who are frustrated because they are “eating healthy” but not getting to the goal they set.  Almost without fail, when I go through the tracking system and they actually plug in their numbers, they are off track.  Their carbs are too high.  Their total calories are too high due to serving sizes.  They aren’t getting enough protein.  Etc., etc.

So how do you begin tracking your nutrition?  This is easy!  It takes time, but it’s easy!  Start with an app / website like My Fitness Pal.  Then use it EVERY DAY to track your total calories, your % protein, your % carbs, and your % fat.  Don’t worry about tracking calories burned with exercise — with these workouts that’s a given, and we are doing it daily already.  If you actually try to track the calories burned with exercise, you’ll eat MORE to “make up” for the calories you burned, and that will throw off your progress.

You will have to do some work at the beginning to get the nutrition information of your favorite foods.  This will require recording the information from nutrition labels and looking whole foods up on google to determine nutrition information and serving size.  Many popular foods will already be in the database on My Fitness Pal, but you may still have to look some of them up.  Once you have all of your favorite foods entered on your tracking website / phone app., inputting what you eat is a breeze.  You just have to commit to doing it!

Some rules of thumb to keep in mind as you develop your database of foods and start tracking:

Protein has 4 calories per gram.

Carbs have 4 calories per gram.

Fat has 9 calories per gram.

(So on a 2,000 calorie diet with fat shredder %, you will want 1000 cals from protein, 600 cals from carbs, and 400 cals from fat.  This would mean 250g protein, 150g carbs, and 45g fat).

Try to be as close to your target calories and percentages every day.  If you went a little high on carbs at lunch (which you’ll know by tracking it), then guess what you get to do at dinner!  That’s right!  Adjust to hit your daily goal.

And try to keep your calories balanced throughout the day with multiple, small, well-spaced meals.  I like 5-6 meals (3 main meals plus 3 snacks).  This keeps the body fueled and the metabolism going.

I hope this info about tracking your nutrition not only helps you understand how to get started with it, but motivates you to really do it and give as much (or more) effort to this part of your fitness as you do to the workouts!

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