How to Track Your Macros & How I Increased My Carbs By 100%

Here’s what I’ve been doing the past four months! Eating. Tracking. Eating some more. Tracking some more.

And look at my results:

madewithOverDo you see a difference?

There might not be too much physical change in the pictures, but here is the progress.

Row 1: June 2014
Row 2: October 2014

Row 1 – 1500 calories (daily average) and 110g carbs
Row 2 – 2100 calories (daily average) and 230g carbs

Row 1 – 124.5 LBS / waist 26in. (I am 5’4)
Row 2 – 125.5 LBS / waist 26in. (still 5’4)

Row 1 – Body Fat Percentage: no idea
Row 2 – Body Fat Percentage: no idea

I’ve increased strength in every single lift, I feel great, and my metabolism is kicking into high gear.

Do you see that? I have increased my food intake by 40%, carbs by over 100%, and look the SAME, if not better! And I am still increasing my intake about every two weeks. It’s been a gradual process, and I’m still a work in progress.

Earlier this year I realized I had been in maintenance mode for so long, and I was ready to make physique changes again. The first thing I started doing was actually tracking my food and macronutrients, (upon my friend Luke’s recommendation) and realized I was eating WAY TOO LITTLE for how  much activity I do. (Normally I never wasted the time tracking my food!)


I know you may have a thousand questions about tracking food and macros, so this is where I bring in my About Time teammate Luke Koval! Luke has a B.S. in Kinesiology and his graduate degree in Wellness & Human Performance. He’s also a powerlifter and has competed in both bodybuilding and physique. He is a well-rounded, all-natural meathead and knows a ton about nutrition. Plus, he can grow a sweet beard. Here we are at the 2014 Arnold & Olympia shows:

IMG_5961

IMG_6018

Haha – click on this pic to get the full effect

IMG_8284

We are only scratching the surface here, but here is a quick rundown of what exactly IIFYM (if it fits your macros) – which is how we both track our food and progress and our GAINZ!

If you have physique goals – this is a good place to start. It’s always good to know how much you’re eating and if it’s working for your goals. Will I do this forever? Probably not. It can be work intensive. But it does work!!

What is a Macro and Why Should I Track It?
A macronutrient (macro) is protein, carbs, fats. A lot of people say IIFYM is a fad because it’s received a lot of publicity lately in the fitness world, but it’s really nothing new. It’s also called flexible dieting. It’s a method of tracking your food, kind of like counting Weight Watchers points. You can read more here or here.

What Can You Eat?
Essentially, you eat whatever you want and no food is off limits, as long as it fits your macros. For me, I usually stick with “cleaner” foods like lean meats, veggies, starches, etc. about 80% of the time and fill in the rest with pita chips and dessert. (Depends on the day – sometimes that’s more like 60%! :-) )

How Do I Know What My Macros Are?
Corrie: For me, this was a lot of trial and error to figure out. You do need to do your research. Luke’s advice is this:

Luke: My recommendation would be to find a starting point. I generally have clients track for a week (WITHOUT CHANGING EATING HABITS) to determine what they have been consuming and then also look at if they have been maintaining, losing, or gaining weight. This offers the benefit of being very individualized due to metabolic adaptation. If you are able to maintain your weight at a large caloric intake you are sitting pretty, meaning if you want to lose weight you could still eat a lot, just less. I determine this amount on an individual basis depending on what the individual’s goals are.

You could also figure out your starting caloric intake by multiplying your body weight by a set value, which will differ based on activity level and type of training.

For example, if you are 200 pounds and use a starting value of 12 calories/pound. This would equate to 2,400 calories. Consume this calorie amount for 2 weeks and see if you lose, gain, or maintain weight.

Again, depending on your goal is where you go from here. If you lost weight and that’s your goal, keep consuming that amount. If you gained weight and you wanted to lose, cut back the calories. If you maintained and wanted to lose, cut back calories.

You also need a percentage of carbohydrate, fat, protein. I like starting with 40:30:30.

Multiply

.4 x 2400 = 960 / 4 = 240g Carbs

.3 x 2400 = 720 / 4 = 180g Protein

.3 x 2400 = 720 / 9 = 80g  Fat

How Do I Track My Macros?
We both use an app called My Macros +. There’s also My Fitness Pal, or plenty of others you can find online. You need a food scale and a good set of measuring cups to help you calculate the correct amounts.

Wanna Know More About IIFYM?
There are many sites out there with macro calculators, blogs, and tons of info. We both recommend watching Dr. Layne Norton’s videos on macros HERE.


I know this is just the tip of the iceberg, but this is a great place to start. Feel free to ask me any questions and I will help you to the best of my ability, and you can always reach out to Luke on the Twitterverse!

Thank you Luke for your help on this blog! 

Luke:  Twitter / Instagrams / Website

Corrie:  Twitter / Facebook / Instagrams

Do you know someone who is trying to lose fat, gain muscle, or doesn’t know where to start nutritionally? Share this blog with them using the buttons below!

 

 

7 Days of Rest Later…

IMG_4892I took a week off from the gym.

Wait. What?

Yep. You can read about the why more in detail HERE, but in a nutshell: I was tired. Physically tired after a demanding program, but more so mentally/emotionally/spiritually tired. It’s all related, you know? I felt very strongly that I needed to take time off from the gym, and only about 20% of the reason was physical.

We all have ways we self-medicate and/or attempt to control our own lives. Mine? Definitely the gym. And while fitness, nutrition, and health-related activities are wonderful… when it becomes an idol… no longer wonderful. The gym is how I deal. It’s one of my favorite things in the world so – it’s easy to elevate it to a higher priority than it belongs.

I choose not to remain attached to things of this world. And so every once in awhile… I have to remove them for a short time. So this was more of a spiritual exercise than anything else. Time to put God back at the top of the priority list and knock down fitness a peg or two – shake off that control that it has over me. (PS – this is a good exercise for any vice that has a stronghold in your life, i.e. sugar, a person, Facebook…)

All that being said – IT WAS HARD. AND I KINDA HATED IT.

I was restless. Geez, it is so hard to rest when you’re Corritron. Probably once (thrice) a day, I was developing reasons why I should end this 7-day gym hiatus early. #reallife I even caved one day and went to another gym!!! And did a light circuit workout. I felt so guilty I might as well have stolen candy from a baby. Haha. Lesson learned.

I had less energy, and I was antsy as heck. On the flip side, I rested and slept LIKE A BOSS. 8-9 hours a night, and I still practiced yoga a couple times. Only one strenuous workout at the stadiums in total for the week. I did mobility work and foam rolling – so, it was a productive week. It was just hard on my brain.I really did miss the gym – I missed my coping mechanism and my way to control my circumstances. (That is laughable even as I write it. Like I can control that.)

Just to give you an idea of HOW much I missed it, one day I laughed at the tabs open on my MacBook. Articles on increasing ankle mobility, glute training, advanced yoga poses, a bodybuilding 12-week program, and a recipe for protein banana bread. Also #reallife. Can you say meathead?

It’s incredible to realize how much power something -even something healthy!- can have over you.

I’m really glad I took a week off, no matter how hard it was for me.

But that’s how we always feel, right, when we conquer a challenge? When did you last consciously take a break from something you love?  Would love to hear your thoughts. 

 

 

 

I NEED REST

images-7I! NEED! REST!

Sorry for shouting.

I am tired. So so tired. If you know me, then you know I tend to go HARD IN THE PAINT on everything. Working two jobs, managing my fitness brand, training like a boss, keeping a blog, having a social life, assisting a weekly life group, attempting to date, serving at church, and traveling … well, it turns out I am not a superhero (#gaspsheardroundtheworld), and I am tired.

I’m bad at resting. Resting to me is not just avoiding the office, but instead being 600x as productive at home, or in the gym, or seeing 38 friends in one weekend, or volunteering out in Belle Glade for 8 hours with 200 children, or maybe cooking meals for a whole week, babysitting a newborn and flying around on my magic carpet saving the world or whatever. I just operate at 100mph. Baby I was born this way.

After returning from the Olympia, I am crazy motivated. I’m coming off an 12-week strength program that usually required 5-6 days of lifting per week. In addition, I practice yoga about 2x a week, and I like playing outside, which adds in more activity. I’ve also been tracking my macros pretty closely for about 4 months now, and am getting closer to having my diet just right. (In a nutshell, I’ve just been increasing and increasing and increasing my calories in order to put on muscle. I was significantly undereating, fairly common for athletic women.) The strength program was great too, I saw significant increases in every lift and can see some positive physical changes too, more muscle!

BUT – I’m tired. And it’s time for a week off.

I realized this when I woke up last Tuesday, NATURALLY, at 5am (very rare – every morning is a battle of the minds between me and my alarm), and I did NOT want to go to the gym.

What?!

I LOVE the gym. I love training. I look forward to it. Every day! But I knew right then and there that I needed a deload before launching into a new program and going balls to the wall all over again.

It’s not only my body that’s tired, though. My soul is tired. My heart is tired.

I have invested a LOT in relationships lately, and into my job(s), and into my physical health. In the process of all that investing, I’ve invested less in my spiritual health and my relationship with Christ and… I think what I’m getting at is I’ve misdirected my energies.  None of those things are bad investments. That’s not what I’m saying. But I haven’t had much of anything left to put into the RIGHT place, into my first priority, and as a result… my soul is tired. It’s been much DOING and not much BEING, if that makes any sense. Abiding in the vine? I’ve been trying to manage the vine.

We talked about the importance of taking a Sabbath at our life group on Wednesday, more confirmation in case I needed it. There is a natural ebb and flow of engagement and withdrawal that Jesus had – a natural time for community and relationships and then a withdrawal period. It’s a pattern that is as old as time. God created for 6 days and then? Rested. When do your muscles grow the most? When at rest.

Ugh. I know all this in my head, but that does not make it easy. Some of you may be able to rest quite easily, but for me THE STRUGGLE IS SO REAL.

So here I go. One week out of the gym. (And if you catch me there, feel free to tell me to GTFO.) This is technically my second day on sabbatical, if you will. I’m challenging myself exercise-wise to outdoor playtime only, or yoga, or whatever happens to serve me this week. I will intentionally rest mentally and emotionally this week. Obviously I still have to go to work, but I’m going to use my free time to do things that relax me instead of overstimulate me. To be honest, this is hard and I’m only two days in. But – I love a challenge :)

Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46:10 (NLT)

When was the last time you took a week off from the gym? Are you intentional about resting (physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.) each week? Does anyone else struggle with this? 

IMG_7779.JPG