Ever wonder if your current meal plan is working for or against your bodybuilding efforts? Cut to the chase and take meal planning to a more precise level.
The foods you eat are broken down into macronutrients which include important proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Everyone needs different amounts of macros depending on activity level, lifestyle, goals, and any health conditions. Keeping track of your daily macronutrients can help you best determine the quantity and quality of what you consume each day. Athletes, bodybuilders, and even average gym goers commonly refer to calculating this process as “hitting your macros,” or just making sure you’re eating the correct quantity of nutrients to reach your bodybuilding or fitness goals.
While we know it’s good to be aware of what we put into our bodies, sometimes calculating each ingredient and keeping track of them on a spreadsheet, or online program can be a project in and of itself. While we don’t want to be overwhelmed as we get in shape, it’s important to find balance a between knowing what you eat, getting enough energy through food, and getting results. Here’s a shortcut to help you manage your food macros for bodybuilding!
Match your goals to the right macros
First things first - what is your ultimate goal? Is it weight loss or weight gain? Do want to lift more? Are you competing in a show? Or do you just want to look better in a swimsuit? Once you decide which goals inspire you the most, a great place to start is by entering your goals and current body info into a macronutrient calculator. You can also research your suggested macronutrients based off your current exercise routine, diet, and overall lifestyle through sites like muscleforlife.com or Fitocracy.com.
Track it on an app
If you’re a modern consumer, you most likely have a smartphone equipped with helpful apps. So, it’s also a great idea to keep your nutrition info on your phone and with you at all times. App like Macros+ Diet, Weight, and Calorie Tracker, Simply Macro, myfitnesspal.com or these from the dailyburn.com can help you stick to your plan. Make sure you are matching your meal plan with your training plan!
While we’d love to always be perfectly organized, life often gets in the way. That’s why we should always be prepared for those unplanned moments when we aren’t on top of our meal planning or tracking. Keep a list of go-to items in the back of your head, or even on your phone. Know which foods have healthy amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats so you can round out your daily numbers if needed, without derailing your progress.
Another helpful tip is to work on getting to know what a serving of each macronutrient looks like. It will be super useful when eating out, or when the nutritioninfo is not available. Check out this handy guide to eyeballing portion sizes.
Eliminate any possibility of going off track by setting aside time 1-2 days a week for meal planning. Know exactly what you’re going to eat from sun up to sun down and how much of it. Then prep a proper grocery list. Purchase some food storage containers that you’ll actually use and get chopping!
Choose 1-4 meals for the week and calculate how many macronutrients are in each serving. Package the finished meals into your reusable containers with a label on each item. Make this easier by choosing recipes that already have the macros listed.
The best part about tracking your intake is knowing you have control over what you eat and how great you will feel as a result. The trick is not to be so restricted that you end up throwing in the towel before you even start to see results. Do what’s right for you and your goals, and do it in a way that will keep you on the up and up! What’s your favorite meal planning hack to keep you on track?