Here’s what I’ve been doing the past four months! Eating. Tracking. Eating some more. Tracking some more.
And look at my results:
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:
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.
.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!
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