blog

How To Track Your Macros

-by Clark Hibbs

So we’ve talked about carbohydrates, protein, fats, performance nutrition, as well as the very basics of nutrition. But how exactly do you track your macros? How do you actually put all of this into practice? 

I’m going to make this as simple as possible in as few words as possible!

What You Need

There are 4 things that are absolutely essential to you tracking your macros/calories/nutrition.

  1. A smartphone with a nutrition app like MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, MacroFactor, or FoodNoms.
  2. A body weight scale
  3. A digital food scale
  4. An open mind.

While I hope I don’t have to go into too much detail on number 4, number 1, 2, and 3 should be pretty easy to accomplish (especially since you’re probably reading this on a smartphone right now!). That’s literally all you need to be successful with your nutrition!

Nutrition App

All of the nutrition apps listed above are great, and all are free with the exception of MacroFactor. These apps essentially act as a huge database of food labels so you always have the option to log what you’re eating! Our personal favorite is MyFitnessPal because it has the largest database of food, but if one of the other apps fits you better, use that!

Body Weight Scale

Sure, there are pros and cons to weighing yourself each day. That could be an entirely separate blog post. Here’s why we want you to do it – to decrease and help identify the amount of variables that go into your body weight each day, to better track trends, and to decrease any anxiety around the scale.

There are a TON of factors and variables that go into your body weight each and every day. One night of poor sleep can cause water retention, just like a stressful day of work, and particularly difficult workout, changes in medication, etc etc. I mean, the list of potential variables is HUGE. Some of these water retention swings and spikes could even see your morning bodyweight be up 3-5 pounds!

So imagine you’re of the school of thought that you should only weigh yourself once a week, or once every 2 weeks. What happens if the day before you’ve had a stressful day at work, then you have a really tough workout at the gym. You then go home, realize you haven’t drank enough water that day, and pound water before bed. You wake up the next day (your weigh in day), and you’re 4 pounds up from last time? Sheesh. That’s going to be pretty upsetting.

What if instead we make a daily weigh in part of our morning routine, and start to view this data point as exactly what it is… a data point! Take the above as an example. If you weighed yourself the morning before and you came in at 190 pounds, and your food was on point that day… are we really going to look at that 194 and think we’re wasting our time? Absolutely not. We’ll then be able to take an objective look at what’s going on and realize that the next day our weight will probably settle back to the 190 mark.

Weighing yourself every day will lead to less anxiety around your weight, not more!

By the way: I like this scale. 

Food Scale

Most people eat “pretty well.” They know they need to eat nutrient dense foods, leafy greens, veggies, servings of fruits, yada yada yada. The problem? They don’t know how MUCH they’re eating, and that can lead to small and subtle weight gain over a few years. After all, you didn’t wake up today 30 pounds heavier than yesterday. You slowly added it on by consistently over eating each day.

The food scale is how we know exactly what amount of food we’ll be eating, and it’s not too tough to use! Find one that you like that will look good in your kitchen, and get ready to make it a part of your food routine!

By the way: I like this food scale.

So you’ve got your body weight scale, your food scale, and your nutrition app downloaded and ready to roll. Now what?

Firstly, you need to know what your target calorie range is. All of these apps will give this to you, but if you want something that’s a bit more exact, you can always use the formula from the basics of nutrition post, or you can get 1 on 1 nutrition coaching with Rachel here at Yellow Rose ([email protected]) and she’ll take care of you!

Once you’ve established your calories and/or macros, it’s as simple as logging each and everything you eat for a few days.

How to Log A Sandwich

Sandwiches are without a doubt, one of the greatest things ever to eat. They’re also incredibly simple to log. For this example, we’ll be using a ham and cheese sandwich with mustard, lettuce, and tomato.

Bread:

  • Open your MyFitnessPal app
  • Click “add food” under the meal you’re at
  • Click “scan a barcode”
  • Scan the barcode that the bread came in
  • Voila, your bread is in MyFitnessPal!
  • Adjust the serving size (2 slices)
  • The bread is now logged!

You would repeat these same steps for the ham, cheese, mustard, lettuce, and tomato, with the caveat being that you’ll need to actually weigh each of these ingredients out (not the cheese. Just use a single slice).

Let’s use Ham for example:

    • Open your MyFitnessPal app
    • Click “add food” under the meal you’re at
    • Click “scan a barcode”
    • Scan the barcode that the ham came in
    • Here’s where it’s different
    • Put the pieces of bread on a plate, and place the plate on the food scale.
    • Turn the scale on, and it should now read ZERO. If it is not, click “tare” to reset the scale.
    • Adjust the unit of measurement that corresponds to the ham in MFP (OZ or G)
    • Add your ham to your bread, and see how much it weighs!
    • Adjust the serving size in MyFitnessPal
    • The ham is now logged!

And you would do that for every ingredient, even the mustard.

While there is definitely margin for error here with certain foods, by weighing and measuring as much as possible we are reducing that margin as much as possible!

This can look a little daunting at first, but I promise you that this becomes second nature, and adds a grand total of 3-5 minutes per meal at the start of things. Once you’ve practiced, this becomes even easier!

Plan Your Day

One of the best ways to ensure your success with nutrition is to plan your day the night before. Essentially what you’re doing is creating a to-do list, but with your food! You can plan the entire day into MyFitnessPal, then know exactly what you’re going to eat at each meal. This can take out all of the guesswork for each meal, and will help you avoid the “oops” at dinner time of going over your calories.

Planning your day will eventually take you 5-10 minutes tops, and that 5-10 minutes will be one of the most important investments in your nutritional success. 

 And that’s it! Repeat this each and every day, and you’ll be good to go. This is NOT a quick fix, nor is it a silver bullet. There’s a lot that goes into this, but I hope these basics will help you get the success that you deserve.

If you need more assistance, we are happy to be there for you. Our nutrition program is second to none, and we are confident that we will get you to your healthiest and happiest version of you!

-Clark

POPULAR Posts

Thanks, Colleen.

There are a few things in life that I know I can count on… Always enjoying the feeling after a workout. Topping my 3 wood

Thanks, Coach Chad.

While the current trend and topic in the fitness industry is “discipline > motivation,” I think that being around motivating people is a key component

START Today

Fill out the form below

Learn more about how joining our community can help you reach your health and fitness goals.