I get asked this a lot – ‘What’s the best way to track your nutrition?’ and to be honest there isn’t a one size fits all model that best suits everyone.
Although it’s not always necessary depending on goals, the majority of online coaches will tell you the best way to track your nutrition is via My Fitness Pal – which is an absolute must have free app!
Do I use My Fitness Pal? Yes! Do I recommend my clients use it? Yes!
But before you jump in, let’s make sure you’re ready and have the basic understand and habits.
Take my imaginary friend who we will call ‘Brian’ for the purposes of this example. Brian is overweight, not very active and has a generally poor nutrition profile; he eats processed and takeaway foods for convenience and has done so for the majority of his adult life. Now would it be appropriate for me to issue a nutrition ‘plan’, provide a macro breakdown and expect him to follow it? Sure, if you want him to fail!
I would take a different approach. I would ask Brian to write down his food habits for a week, discover the things he most looks forward to and then make one or two small changes or adaptations over time. This could be as simple as moving from full sugar juices to diet varieties. Once these habits become more established and Brian sees the progress from this alone, more changes can then occur. Why, because Brian trusts you! I have no doubts that if I had made unmanageable and unsustainable changes immediately, Brian wouldn’t have stuck to any form of coaching and would have quit almost immediately. Brian’s now in a position where he understands food intake and we can start to explore the use of My Fitness Pal.
At this point I would also direct you to my post on Facebook about ‘Measuring = Optimal Progress.’ (I think it’s a goody if I say so myself!)
Using My Fitness Pal
Let’s take client #2. ‘Brenda’ is a gym goer, is relatively active day to day and has flirted with tracking macros, counting calories and has downloaded My Fitness Pal but never really used it.
My approach with her would be very different. I would still expect results of course, but I would want to challenge her also. After all that’s what coaching is really about; imparting knowledge while allowing your clients to progress.
Brenda would have the same consultation as Brian but for Brenda I would provide her with a nutrition plan, outline her macros and talk to her about the benefits of tracking her food consumption. After a few weeks, once consistency and routines have been established we would look at incorporating flexibility in her plan; switching sources once we know what affects they have on her composition and performance.
There are many 100s of examples I could provide of potential programmes, nutrition splits, calculators, plans etc. that could work but they might not necessarily be specific and tailored to you and your experience. So to answer to initial question; ‘What’s the best way to track your nutrition?’ It’s the process that works for you!
In SMFB Academy, I take you through the exact steps to setting up your My Fitness Pal account, tracking your food and breaking down things simply so you fully understand the software.