Tag: Macros

A number is defined as “an arithmetical value, expressed by a word, symbol, or figure, representing a particular quantity and used in counting and making calculations” by the Oxford dictionary. In several areas of life a number can tell us a lot about an individual without ever knowing them personally. But is a number the most important factor in everything we do? In fitness, numbers can take over our lives if it’s the only thing we focus on. A number can change if adjustments are made to the approach but what do you do when the number isn’t moving or going in the opposite direction of where you would like it to? It is imperative to view a number as a value that we can measure and make the necessary adjustments rather than allow it to place a mental barrier on our lives.

 

As a fitness professional, I’ve trained individuals from all walks of life.The gym for most is where you get the opportunity to better yourself and have fun in the process. Day in and day out we train our butts off and expect a certain result. Sometimes we achieve that goal and sometimes we fall short. I’ve been there before and I’ll be the first to say that if you didn’t succeed in particular lift, it’s not the end of the world. For example, if your main goal is the gym is to increase strength, chasing a number gives you sometime to aim towards but it doesn’t make you any less of a person if you’re not successful. If you fail one day, like most people you beat yourself up about it because that failure is still fresh in your mind, body & soul. So I ask the question of why get stuck on something that’s now in the past and out of our of control?

 

The future we can control and that’s where the focus should be instead! Let’s say during your first working set in the gym you don’t perform the way you would like, shift your focus to the remainder of your workout regime because those too have benefits for you to improve. As long as you step foot in the gym and give maximum effort, you’ll be one step closer to your goal(s).  If you able to identify where you went wrong during the exercise, awesome! You can now work towards progression versus regression. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep the night before or you didn’t eat enough food for the day prior to your training session. No matter what could have contributed to your poor performance, use the number(s) to assess progress and make further progress in the future.

 

The body weight scale is the one of the main reasons people lose motivation to continue to attack their fitness goals. If the scale isn’t moving, there’s typically a reason why. Good or bad! If you have the knowledge to figure out why, great you won! Make the necessary changes and put your focus on other parts of your life. But in the event you can’t, having multiple ways to assess progress can be crucial to your mental health. As online coach, I don’t simply like relying on the number on the scale. I can name several reasons why but the most important one is because the scale has many contributing factors. From water weight to muscle mass, fat mass, meal timing, etc. If you have a coach and his/her only method of assessing progress is your bodyweight, I highly suggest you find a new coach because the scale is end-all for progress. For those of you that do feel stuck due to the scale not moving, use other forms to assess progress such as daily pictures, body measurement or even body fat percentage. For more information on how the scale should be used and why you shouldn’t allow it to affect your progress, please check out one of my past blog article called “The Scale Is Nothing To Be Afraid Of“.

 

Tracking macros has become extremely popular in recent years. I personally track macros to calculate a rough estimate of how many calories I’m actually consuming daily. But I don’t stress myself to be 100% perfect to track every single gram. Even if I’m dieting to cut down and I need 150g of brown rice for each meal, I’m not removing grain after grain if I happen to measure 153g on the first attempt. That in my opinion is just silly! If you think that 3g extra of a carbohydrate is going to cause your progress to slow down or stall out you are highly mistaken. Similar to the scale there are many factors that can impact how many calories each individual will need to consume to truly be in a deficit. Aside from your strength training and/or cardio regime, how physically demanding your job is, the commute or travel to work and even daily activities with family & friends all play a role in daily calories burned. If the goal is weight loss, I wouldn’t suggest anyone to consume more calories because you played basketball with your kids once school was out. Instead it should give you peace of mind that you don’t have to be perfect when tracking your food intake. The goal should be to aim for close enough estimate so that you can still achieve your goals while continuing to enjoy the other aspects of your life!

 

 

We all want to look our best when summer hits! Maybe it’s to be able to flaunt that sexy dress that’s been in your closet for several months or to be shirtless at the pool. No matter what your goal is, social outings can set you back if you don’t create a plan for yourself. If you start dieting early, you will most likely reach your goal weight. But if you’re like the majority of the population, you most likely can get there but with very little room for error. Life is life meaning that simply going to work, going to the gym and eating your home cooked meals can be boring at times. Chances are you’ll most likely fall into the temptation of going out to eat instead of eating those delicious meals you’ve prepped over the weekend. Simply eating out isn’t going to hurt your progress as long as you choose the right options.

First things first, if you plan of going out to eat, educate yourself on the menu of the restaurant. The worst thing you can do when going out to eat with friends is waiting to be seated to only find out that nothing on the menu will fit into your diet. That’s poor planning on your part therefore looking at the menu prior to arrival can save you some time and allow you to choose a few options that will work for you. Obviously the internet exist so if there’s a menu out there for a restaurant, chances are you will be able to find it after one single google search. In the event that they don’t have any information online, the phone still exist. Calling up the restaurant and asking “what are three healthy food options you guys serve?” will give you an idea of what you can possibly have then you can make the final decision upon arrival.

I know what everyone’s thinking, “how do I know what to choose from the menu?” To keep things simple I’ll say this, if you can’t eyeball a dish to estimate how much food is actually on your plate, it’s most likely not a good option. For example let’s say you order a pasta dish that has penne pasta, chicken, olives, bacon & cheese all mixed together, that will be close to impossible to track just by looking at it. Way back when I first started tracking macros in 2014, I’ve learned to know how much food is actually on my plate without a food scale. This comes with time and experience of weighing out meals for so many years. For those of you who don’t have the experience, you’ll have to choose an option that you can find via MyFitnessPal or any other calorie tracking app. This way you have a semi accurate way of tracking what you will or have consumed versus just saying “the hell with the diet” and risking the progress you worked so hard for. But what if I can’t find the option I want in MyFitnessPal? Simply just search the dish you would like to order and always overestimate. For example if I go to a local italian restaurant where I can’t find the entree I want, search the name of the entree and choose an option from another more popular restaurant such as Olive Garden, Friday’s, Applebees, etc. By default what you search for is going to be calculated for 1 serving, adjust the serving to 1.5 in order to overestimate the calories to ensure that you don’t over your calories/macros for the day.

Now let’s say you’ve been tracking for quite some time and you posses the gift of being able to calculate a rough estimate of how much food is on your plate just by looking at it, you have more way more options to choose from. If you want a grilled chicken breast, mash potatoes, baked broccoli and maybe a side of rice, you can track that. Please make sure to always ask your waiter/waitress what oils & sauce are use to cook your meal. I personally prefer my food to be cooked in extra virgin olive oil due to it being less processed compared to other oils and the antioxidants it contains. Any sauces that’s added, I ask for it to be on the side so that I can control how much of the sauce I actually consume. Next time you go out grocery shopping just grab a random sauce that sounds delicious and take a look at the nutrition facts. Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce is 70 calories for 2 tablespoons all coming from carbohydrates. If you’re someone who doesn’t have many carbs to spare, these are somethings you need to aware of. Let’s be honest if restaurants were only using 2 tablespoons of a particular sauce, it probably won’t be a big deal. But restaurants are in the business of making their dishes taste as flavorful as possible therefore keep an eye out for those minor details to ensure you are sticking to your diet the next time you eat out!

With summer right around the corner, many of us are starting to get dialed into our diets to ensure that we look our very best. If anyone has told you that they followed a diet and never gave in to some form of temptation, they are probably lying. While staying away from the junk food can be a challenge for most of us, I believe we all struggle with participating in social events that may or may not influence us to drink our calories as opposed to eating them. Compared to the other macronutrients such as protein, carbohydrates & fat, alcohol is tracked at 7 calories per gram. You’re probably wondering who actually tracks their alcohol intake? Not many to be completely honest due to losing track of how many drinks you can consume. While it may be tough to keep tracks of all of your drinks, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible and can’t be done. If you have a structured plan in place, a night out having drinks with your friends won’t sabattage your progress as much as most think.

Similar to my previous article on “How To Enjoy A Cheat Meal Without Risking A Progress Setback?“, same rules apply when it comes to alcohol. While the determining factor of weight loss in calories in versus calories out, you don’t want to get completely hammered. If you want to consume alcoholic beverages with the goal of being drunk, you probably will have the negative effects of alcohol as far as body composition goes. Being that alcohol is extremely calorie dense, the only way to ensure your progress isn’t affected too much you want to consumed the majority of your calories for the day from protein, carbohydrates & fat. That way you still giving your body the nutrition it needs and reserving some calories for the night time. So how does one go about planning a night out of drinks with their friends? To keep things simple you want to stay away from drinks that are almost impossible to track such as fruity mix cocktails that contain juice, soda and several different amount of liquors. This will just complicate things and will influence you to give in and just drink the night away. This is what you want to avoid! Instead look into options that are easy & simple to track such as a beer, glass of wine or even a shot of your favorite choice of liquor.

If anyone is familiar with the popular app “MyFitnessPal”, you know that you can find anything & everything by using the search field. If it exist, 9 out of 10 times you should be able to track it using this app. The simplest way to track your alcohol is by tracking them as carbohydrates, fat or even both because you already should be following macros if you’re following a diet. Even though alcohol is considered its own macronutrient, MyFitnessPal won’t break down how many grams of alcohol you’ve consumed so instead we will use our carb and fat intake to track. 1 gram of carbohydrate equals 4 calories and 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories. This will make more sense in the calculation examples below. Let’s say you are planning a night out and you have decided that you will have one Michelob Ultra at 95 calories per 12 oz bottle.

If we were to track this as a carbohydrate we would do that as such:

95 calories / 4 Calories = 23.75g of Carbs

If we wanted to track this beer as fat we would do this:

95 calories / 9 Calories = 10.5g of Fat

If we wanted to track using both carbohydrates and fat we would do this:

47 calories  / 4 Calories = 11.75g of Carbs

48 calories / 9 Calories = 5.3g of Fat

Even though this is a great strategy to stay on track while enjoying the social scene, it’s always best to limit your alcohol consumption as much as you can while dieting. I’ve always stressed the importance of eating your calories versus drinking them and utilizing this method will allow you to plan ahead to prevent ruining the progress you’ve made thus far. Simply follow the steps below to create a food, enter in your calories/carbs/fat and add to your daily diary to ensure the correct amount of calories and carbs/fat are deducted from your total caloric intake.

 

Over the years I’ve dabbled  with a several ways to lose weight. What you put in your body will impact how you look and feel. When I first got into fitness I was well over 300lbs, wasn’t active and didn’t have the slightest clue as to what calories truly were. The cambridge dictionary defines “calorie” as a unit used in measuring the amount energy food provides when eaten and digested. If you eat 1 cup of blueberries at 80 calories, once digested your body will have 80 calories to expend for energy. Pretty simple right? When weight loss is the goal, as long as you’re not eating more calories than you burn you will lose weight so as a fitness professional I highly suggest tracking calories but it isn’t a must.

 

First let’s cover why tracking is beneficial for weight loss. For the majority of my life, I never was conscious of the food that I was putting in my body. If you’d ask me if I was allergic to any foods, I wouldn’t know because I would just eat whatever food that was available which explains how I accumulated the weight that I did. Tracking calories allows you understand how your body responds to certain foods due to the fact that your documenting all meals. But the most important part of tracking your calories is that you have data of what you’ve done in the past so that you can adjust to overcome plateaus. Plateaus are going to happen and there’s very little you can do to avoid them especially if you’re making great weight loss progress. The more your weigh, the more calories your body will require. As you start dropping weight, the less calories your body will require. As an online coach, my clients typically experience plateaus when their start calorie deficit becomes their new maintenance calories for their new weight. It happens, its normal and counting your calories will only make it easier for you overcome that small obstacle in your weightloss journey in my opinion of course.

 

But as I mentioned earlier, counting calories isn’t a must because for the first 4 years of my fitness journey I didn’t count a single calorie. I just created a structure that I could commit to, but will also change my eating habits. If you are like the old Chayan in the past who ate anything and everything, incorporating meal preps into your routine can help you lose weight. From eating as you go through your day to having a set number of meals for day is what help me lose my first 70lbs. Makes sense right? Prior to starting my journey, I would rarely cook. Most of my calories would come from eating out which means I never knew how much I was really eating at a time. Once I incorporated meal prep, now I cook my own meals, I know exactly what’s in them and I have a food scale to weigh out my portions for each meal. Even the best tracking app isn’t 100% accurate when eating out therefore cooking your own meals and knowing every single ingredient that included is the best way to know the exact amount of calories you are consuming.

 

Now let’s say you’re not like the old version of me and you eat home cooked meals consistently but still struggle with weight loss, one thing you can try is try to identify on average how many meals a day you eat. For example let’s say you eat 6 home cooked meal a day and scale isn’t going down. It’s a possibility that the 6th meal is putting you in a calorie surplus or maintenance which is why you haven’t been losing weight. Easy way to correct this is by simply eliminating one meal all together or replacing one meal with a small snack that isn’t as calorie dense. Let’s say that 6th meal is about 500 calories, by eliminating it from your diet you are eating 500 calories less everyday. If you replace it with a small snack at 250 calories, now you’re eating 250 calories less each day. Both method can create a calorie deficit and that’s the most important factor to weight loss. Calories in versus calories out!

 

Life can be so fast paced for the majority of us that we sometimes ignore the little things that could be hurting our weight loss journey. From the creamer in your coffee to the one serving of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream you have every night. All these factors matter because everything has calories. In all honesty you can continue eating the way you do especially if your eating a well balanced diet of home cook meals, but eliminate those small factors from your diet and you’ll lose weight. Next time you grab coffee either look into drinking it black, add a artificial sweetner or almond milk. It’s easy to get carried away when using a creamer because we never just add the recommended tablespoon serving. Depending on how many cups of coffee you drink a day, you can see that eliminating the creamer all together can save you anywhere from 30- 200 calories. These calories that can be used towards your deficit instead of adding extra calories to your drink. Evaluate your overall diet, look at those added factors that aren’t a necessity and by minimizing or eliminating then all together, you will set yourself on the right path to a successful weight loss story!

Over consuming on foods is extremely popular is today’s society. After a long day at work, you arrive home to relax and binge watch a show until it’s time to go to bed. Home is our comfort zone so it’s fairly easy to eat everything in sight and lose track of of our goals. Speaking from personal experience, portion control was huge for me at the start of my fitness journey because my mind was channelled to eat and eat till I was full as opposed to being satisfied. I’ve said this in previous articles and I’ll say it again, “food is fuel the same way gas is fuel to a car”. Consume foods that will allow you to power through the day. If you have goals of changing your body and improving your health, the tips I’ll provide in this article can help keep you get on the right path to achieve them.

Create A Grocery List

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It may seem tedious but walking around the grocery store without list of the things you need is one of the main reasons why a lot of people buy what they want instead. Foods that we want are or can become triggers that we lean towards when we want that feeling of comfort. Simple solution is to not buy them at all. Keep them far away from your home and resort to foods that will only compliment your goals.

Calories In Versus Calories Out

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So many fitness professionals over complicated nutrition in the attempt to sell their meal plans or products. Understand this, the determining factor of you losing weight is eating less than what your body burns. That is how a deficit is created not eating any magic foods. All foods have calories remember that!. Even though I personally don’t track vegetables when dieting due to the low caloric value, never think that just because a certain food has good health benefits, that you can eat as much as you want of it. Everything has calories so keep that in mind next time you’re relaxing and your craving start kicking in.

Stay Busy

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Beyonce while working on one of her albums went hours without eating because she was so consumed with her music. I’m not advocating that missing meals is the smart thing to do but the concept of staying busy will distract your cravings of eating something you’ll later regret. If we are just lounging around the house either watch TV or scrolling through social media, there’s potential to see an advertisements for junk food. The more we keep our mind focused on a task that isn’t related to food, the more consistent we will in turn be with our lifestyle change. So don’t afraid to pick up that new hobby, start reading that new book or even educating yourself on a new skill. All of these will take your mind away from food until you’re actually hungry and it’s time to refuel!

Brush Your Teeth/Wash Your Mouth

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Have you ever brushed your teeth and immediately wanted to eat something? I’m sure the answer is no! After eating a meal either brush your teeth and wash your mouth with Listerine. That will kill the urge of you wanting to continue eating or grabbing something else to snack on. Use this to your advantage when you have weak moments. We are all human and cravings happen to the best of us. If your not hungry but your mind is making you think you’re hungry, wash your mouth or brush your teeth. That craving will soon go away and you won’t even remember what you had a craving for!

Stay Away From All You Can Eat

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Going out to eat is always a challenge when you’re trying to change your eating habits but a challenge doesn’t mean impossible. Be strategic when you go out to eat. A buffet is a place you want to avoid because you pay a one time fee and you can eat as much as you want. Even myself, I have trouble eating within my calories means at a buffet therefore I just avoid it all together. Instead go to places where 1) you can look up the menu online prior to arriving and 2) you can track as accurate as you can on MyFitnessPal or a similar app. Even though tracking while eating out isn’t 100% accurate, use your best judgement and over estimate when needed. It’s always better it overestimate than underestimate on calories. You can still lose weight by overestimating but you probably can’t if you are not truthful with the amount your truly consuming.

Self Talk & Visualization

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We all have moments where our weaknesses get the best of us. Some days I’m tired and all I want to do is just grab a few donuts & a pizza before going home to stuff my face. But I have to ask myself if that is going to help me reach my goals? The answer is always no! It’s always important to have a goal and visualize it becoming a reality because that mental picture can serve as a way to keep you disciplined. Self talk & visualization can be utilized to change any habit. It’s a way for you to check yourself before you commit to going back to your bad habits. Not only will this help you stay on track but it also be a constant reminder for the next time you feel the need to cheat on your diet!

When the majority of the fitness community say “macros”, they are referring to the three macronutrients that account for their total caloric intake. These are protein, carbohydrate and fat. The term “macros” became popular once people started adapting the IIFYM(If It Fits Your Macros) diet. This form of flexible dieting allows just about anyone to consume any food, regardless of it being a whole food or process food, as long as you can reach your desire macros for either losing weight, maintaining weight or gaining weight. Each macronutrient has foods that fall within their category and have specific benefits to the human body. Continue reading below to learn more about how macros can help enhance your fitness journey.

If you’ve ever done a workout and you were left sore for days, it could be in fact of lack of protein. Protein is the main component for muscles to recover from strength training exercises. Working out simply means breaking down muscle fibers. Protein helps repair muscle fibers and generates new protein for muscle growth. This is very important to understand. Regardless if your goal is to lose weight or gain weight, adequate amounts of protein will help with recovery from your workout session. Protein can be found in foods such as seafood, poultry, lean beef, eggs, soy, yogurts, etc. If you struggle with getting a sufficient amount of protein for your current body and activity level, look into purchasing a whey, grass fed or vegan powder to supplement your diet. If you can’t recover from your workouts, you won’t make much progress. No matter how hard you train in the gym, without enough protein, you’ll never build the muscle you’d like.

Carbohydrates on the other hand is our body’s main source of energy. This is why we feel such a rush of energy when consuming simple sugars. Carbohydrates help fuel our brain, kidneys, muscles, heart and central nervous system. If you want to have an amazing workout, consuming carbohydrates 1-2 hours prior to your session will give you fuel you need.  Carbohydrates have been getting a bad reputation over the years as far as weight gain. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, eating any of the three macro nutrients in unnecessary large quantities can cause weight gain not just carbs! A few carbohydrate sources are bread, rice, oatmeal, pasta, cereal, beans, sweet potatoes, fruits, etc. Similar to how the gym has many tools to help you reach your goals, carbohydrates is a tool you use in your diet to help you power through your day and finish your workout strong.

Fats can sometimes be tricky for most to understand. The easiest way to explain fats is by saying that “all fats are not created equal”. Let’s cover the bad fats first. Saturated fat can be found in animal sources of foods such as full fat diary, red meat & poultry. Trans fat is usually found in cakes, donuts, microwave popcorn & margarine. While trans fat lowers healthy HDL cholesterol and saturated fat increase blood cholesterol levels, they both increase unhealthy LDL cholesterol which increases your risk of cardiovascular disease also known as a heart attack or stroke. These are the fats you want to avoid to be main sources of your diet. Individuals who have died from cardiovascular disease have had a history of consuming these fats which only contributed to their risk. I’m not saying don’t eat them at all. But limited them in your daily diet will keep you healthy and will prevent visit to the doctor’s office in the future.

While carbohydrates is the main source of energy, our bodies uses fat when carbohydrates are low or not being consumed. This is why when weight loss is goal, most trainers/coaches start decreases carbohydrates for their clients in order to lower their body fat. Fat is essential to our health and they support several body functions from vitamin absorption to regulating our body temperature. Its never a good idea to completely cut fat out of your diet. Its best to monitor your fat consumption and learn about the good fats you could consume. Monounsaturated fat can be found in nuts, peanut butter, olive oil, etc. and polyunsaturated(Omega-3 included) fats can be found in fish, walnuts, flax seeds, etc. They both have shown to improve blood cholesterol levels which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. If you’re currently consuming a lot of saturated and trans fats, look into replacing those with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. But make sure your don’t over do it! Fats are very calorie dense including the healthy ones. As long as you consume 10-20% of your total calories assuming your following a well balanced diet, your body will get the nutrients it needs to work the way it was designed.