Macro Tracking Basics
Congratulations. You made it to part 3. Our final blog post - for now - on macros. You’ve read the basic science of macros, how most people use them to change body mass, and now…you’ll learn how in the world to track all of this macro business.
Eating according to your macros takes precision. And, honestly, a bit of time and effort. For best results, you’ll want to weigh your food, convert that weight to calories, and track intake each day. Luckily, good ol’ technology has made this process much more manageable for the adult who happens to do something other than meal plan, prep, and log all day.
Get a Scale.
No, no. Not a bathroom scale. A kitchen scale. Something that will give you weight in grams, and probably something that goes with your kitchen decor because honestly, it’s going to be a staple in your kitchen from now on. I have something similar to this. You don’t need to spend a fortune. Any battery operated scale that allows you to specify that weights be displayed in grams or ounces will work. You can get them anywhere - Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Amazon.
It may seem a bit nit-picky, but you really must weigh everything that you eat, at least at first. Your time and attention will pay off with better results. You don’t want to set off making these changes, only to give it less than your best, and then get frustrated by lack of results.
Food Weight Tips and Tricks:
• Whether you weigh your food cooked or raw depends on whether the food absorbs water, or loses water, during the cooking process. For instance, weigh pasta before. The after weight includes a lot of absorbed water which is void of calories. Weigh meat after. You lose a lot of moisture during the cooking process and want to ensure you’re getting all the protein you need.
• If you weigh your food on a plate, or in a container, be sure to tare the weight with the plate or container first, then add food. You aren’t eating the container, so don’t add it into your food weight.
• Depending on your tracking method (more on that below), you’ll need to record weights in grams or ounces. Be sure your scale is set to display the appropriate measure, or things are going to get really weird really quickly.
Track Your Food!
Lucky for you, you probably don’t need a new notebook, #2 pencil, and calculator. Phew! There are some amazing apps and websites out there to help you get this tracking business moving along. Below are a couple of my favorites!
My Fitness Pal
This site has been my personal favorite for years. It may be because I learned it long ago and don’t always like change, or it may be because it is superior to the others.
My Fitness Pal (or, MFP as we insiders call it), allows you to enter your intake by selecting pre-entered foods, or by creating custom entries for unique foods, food combinations, or whole meals. It even has a barcode scanning feature that will auto load a serving of popular packaged foods.
Another feature is that most of the entries pre-loaded in MFP will let you select your intake based on various measurements (ounces, grams, cup, teaspoon, etc). This makes it really easy to track in the way that works best for you.
Unfortunately, you will need to manually calculate your macro breakdown and ignore MFPs macro goals. MFP will auto-set your macros based on their set ranges at various caloric intake levels. However, they do offer a premium service/subscription that allows you to set your exact macros.
Much like MFP, Lose it allows you to log your intake based on a huge list of pre-loaded foods. It also lets you add custom foods, food combinations, and meal as desired.
One difference is that Lose It, with both their free and premium plans, does not allow you to specify intake goals by macro. They focus solely on calorie intake. You can, however, view a snapshot of protein, carbs, and fat in a simple dashboard on the homepage. But, you’ll have to be sure you know/remember your goals by each on your own.
Have a food tracker that works for you, but isn’t listed here? Share it with our CrossFit Reanimated Community here.
Need some help getting started, or staying the course? Schedule your Free Nutrition Consult Here It's only 15 minutes and can be done in person or on the phone!
About the Author
Certified Personal Trainer
CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.
With the help of our resident Health Coach, Natasha, you can get the support you need to take a deep-dive into where you’ve been, where you are, and how to finally get where you want to be!