Let’s be honest. We all want a lean, impressive, and strong physique. We all put in the hours in the gym. We are all eating on a daily basis. If I was to ask the question: “What is your best bench press, squat, or even bicep curl”, nine times out of ten I will get an excited response – a specific and distinct number, often coupled with an excuse or two as to why their strength is not higher. If I was to ask the question: “How much protein, carbohydrate, and fat are you eating”, nine times out of ten I will get a blank face and a response similar to, “I don’t track calories” or, “I just eat clean”. Straight away I see this as an issue in relation to my first point. We all want to have a lean, impressive, and strong physique. Some people say abs are made in the kitchen. Why then is it so rare for people to track their nutrient intake as they do their performance in the weight room? Especially when there is a strong and direct relationship to exercise and nutrition.
Knowing how much food you should consume is as important as knowing how much fuel you need in your car to make it to work and return home each day. When it comes to our cars it is simple. We refer to a fuel gauge to tell us how far we can travel before we need to top up the tank. Even simpler, the car will only take one particular type of fuel.
The human body is a machine far more advanced than any vehicle known to man. There is no simple fuel gauge and to make things more complicated, the human body relies on three major fuel sources and will perform (and adapt) based on how you feed it.
These fuel sources as we should all know are macronutrients. Not just calories, but three specific nutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat) which all serve a particular purpose.
By not consuming an effective intake of protein for example, you are limiting your potential to increase muscular size and strength. Heavily restricting your carbohydrate intake without considering protein or fat levels can leave you feeling flat and drained. Over consuming dietary fat could lead to additional stored body fat and could also keep you full to the point where you are not hungry enough to consider eating sufficient protein.
Getting back on track, you should start to understand why tracking your nutrient intake is as important as knowing your strength stats. As the way you fuel your body will be a strong contributing factor to your overall physique in terms of both performance and aesthetics.
A simple and effective way to get familiar with what you put into your body; or to deliberately ensure you are consuming an optimal macronutrient intake for your goals, is to use a food scale to track and measure your daily nutrient intake.
Tracking your food intake will allow you to make effective and precise adjustments to your diet based on how your body is responding. If you have no idea how much food or macronutrients you are consuming, you have no data to base your diet on. Eating “clean” can only get you so far.
Using a food scale can also assist you in ensuring you are consistently giving your body the fuel you prefer it to have, even when you decide to eat various foods instead of eating the exact same food with the exact same measurement on a daily basis.
Tracking your food intake and making goal-based adjustments is as important as tracking your strength results and making adjustments to your training program to ensure progression.
Be sure to reach for the food scale when you are preparing your meals today!