You may or may not be familiar with certain terms like flexible dieting, IIFYM (if it fits your macros), calorie counting and of course the endless list of frequently advertised types of diets such as Intermittent fasting, carb cycling, ketogenic and well the list here is endless.
I would like to today to allow you to dip your foot in the ocean of the world of calories, so that you an understand a little more about where the heck you would start, should you want to embark on eating a little more wisely, or if you are embarking on a specific fitness journey, to be more read up or as the millennial would say “ be woke”.
Tracking calories is not necessarily the only way to improve your body composition. However, what the action of doing so does to your accountability, awareness and understanding of what you put in your body, is priceless. This is why I am an advocate of either giving my clients macro calculated meal plans (in other words, meal plans which total their carbs, fats and proteins, as well as breaking down each meal into the carb, fat and protein portions, or giving them their macro/calorie total for each day and teaching them using the various calorie tracking apps available, how to track the food they eat so that they can stick to certain totals.
Now of course there are so many factors that play a role in changing body composition. This article is not going to be distracted by these factors e.g age, injury history, exercise history, chronic illness, stress..), because we would be here for days. However the main focus of any diet should be a calorie deficit. Too large or small a deficit and your body may not change. Calculating the right deficit for you is why we have nutritionists, dietitians and coaches, however there are also many calculators online that you can use.
One that I use myself frequently is www.tdecalculator.net. This allows you to input your age, weight, height, energy levels and body fat if known, and then gives you a macro breakdown for if you want to a cutting diet (calorie deficit), maintenance diet, or bulking diet (calorie surplus). Once you’ve got your macro total according to your goal, the next thing is to decide which app to use in order to now track what you eat. Thanks to the You Tube account “The 4 minute tech” there is a video called the Best Calorie Counter Apps, which details a breakdown of the pros and cons of the most popular apps. These apps mentioned allow you to track the food you eat, either according to weight, and or scanning the foot items bar code. On top of this most of the apps allow you to analyze the nutritional breakdown of what your are eating.
If all of this is seeming a bit much, just hang in there a little longer, im almost done.
Please bare in mind that the nutritional content of food does matter, and that not all calories are created equal as for example different carbohydrates will have different effects on the body’s insulin response (e.g 40g carbs from oats will affect your body differently to 40g carbs from jelly tots). So it will take time to get to know what works for you and considering you are otherwise healthy, what foods you can and cant tolerate.
In my humble opinion tracking calories, gives you not only a healthy level of control, but a sense of direction, accountability and a way forward. The more “woke” you stay, the more flexibility you can actually have with regards to planning ahead for your day or week, especially if you love food 🙂
So, to sum up if you want to see change in and improve your body composition no matter what your goal :
*Find out what your daily calorie intake should be
*Calculate your macros and understand how you can break these carbs, fats and proteins down into meals that will fit into your day
*Choose a plan that is sustainable
*Stay accountable to sticking to these calories
*Take progress pics, and be aware of the nutritional intake of your food
*set better habits and practice these daily to get to where you want to be!!!
Dynamite – @trainingwithsarah