The importance of logging your nutrition
By Jay Johnson
As with anything, it’s important to know where you stand, where you been, and where you’re going. Progress that is tracked is steady and aware progress. Goals cannot he achieved unless they are known and set, along with awareness of what it takes to achieve them.
Though logging my nutrition is something that when I first started prepping for bodybuilding contest I did not do, it was just before I became a PRO that I realized this was an incredible wayto maintain continued progress for achieving goals. The key is aligning intake with breaking goals, setting milestones (new PRs, weight loss, body fat loss, etc.). Following the guidelines below can help you achieve your goals through tracking nutrition. When done right, this can put you in a strong position to SMASH your goals:
- Download and use a tracking app such as “MyFitnessPal”: Tracking applications are invaluable to achieving your fitness goals in my personal opinion. I’ve reached an endless amount of milestones after I decided to begin using these. While it’s important to know what necessary criteria it takes to achieve your goals to effectively use these, simply using these to see what you’re already taking in is an enlightening experience
- Log your nutrition even when you are not “Prepping” or Dieting: Everyone needs a benchmark to see where they need to go VS where they’ve been. Will almost guarantee that you will be surprised on where you discover that you are on nutrition if you are new to tracking apps once you begin keeping track. You be even more surprised once you have an idea of what it takes to achieve your goals combined with starting out on tracking apps at the same time. Keeping track when you may be on leisure time (vacation, off season, etc) helps you stay aware of exactly how far you may have strayed off the train tracks and what will be necessary to get you back on your game.
- Have the discipline to hit your numbers: Setting goals is nothing without having what it takes to hit them. Realizing that small, hourly, daily, weekly efforts equate to achieving larger, long term goals was the best thing that happened to me during my fitness journey. Hit the small goals everyday, and do what it takes to remove obstacles that may be holding you back from achieving each of the targets regularly. Understanding how prioritizing works is the most important element of discipline. Arrange things so that there cannot be any convenient excuses, and if there are, you are fully aware of what to prioritize.
- Tracking allows your to “have fun” in moderation: You’ll be surprised at the foods you can get away with if you track your meals regularly. Almost to the point of feeling guilty while eating them. IE: 1 slice of thin crust pizza is the same amount of calories as 1.5oz of almonds. The pizza has MORE protein, less fat, 14 more grams of carbs. As long as it meets your macro goals, targets can be achieved just the same. If you’ve ever heard the term IIFYM (if it fits your macros), it fits this method. While I vote against peanut butter, cheese and bacon diets, it certainly helps with achieving your goals while allowing some leniency at the same time. For some, having a strict allowance on what they can or cannot eat makes it easier to manage, and that’s ok too. Mental state is everything and decides success for all of us. Do what fits best for your style.
- Track “in advance” when logging meals: After I had been tracking my meals and nutrition for sometime, I later learned that recording meals preemptively, PRIOR to actually consuming them helped me stay on track dramatically. It helped me know what my nutrition would be if I finished the day with the intake that I intended to. This in conjunction with preparing your meals in advance can help with saving time and keeping you “ahead of the game” quite a bit.
All of these are great fundamentals to get your started with tracking effectively to achieve your targets, then setting follow up for steady progress. Most importantly, trust the process you choose or set for yourself. Return on time invested comes with patience, diligence, and consistency - stick to the course!