This is a guest post by Michel Davidson. Michel’s an exceptional athlete so I think his opinion is worth considering.
Counting macros: The trend in our community seems to suggest that the approach of eating clean and tracking macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat/overall Calorie intake) is no longer the “hot” thing to do. More and more I am seeing athletes glorify burritos, ice cream, pizza, beer and whatever other treats people might otherwise label as “dirty food”. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy the occasional pizza, or bowl of Talenti Gelato, but there needs to be a balance and a somewhat calculated approach to the way you go about having these treats.
I remember the days when eating Paleo and tracking what you ate via the Zone diet was the hip thing, and everybody seemed to be doing it. What happened? Is it no longer “cool” to keep track of food intake or to make calculations for the amount of fuel you may need to put in your body to perform or reach certain goals? In a sport where we measure fitness in almost every way possible, why would you turn nutrition into a guessing game?
Whatever your goals might be – fat loss, lean mass, performance, health, or a mixture – nutrition is the foundation of success and sustainability in your goals. Tracking macronutrients provides measurable means to make adjustments and fine tune whatever might need tuning. If you don’t track macronutrients you have no idea of your food intake or energy requirements.
Many times athletes find themselves in stagnant situations because of either too much or too little fueling. If they are not tracking, it’s very difficult to make precise adjustments in order to optimize performance or achieve goals. The same goes for fat loss; unless you are keeping accurate records of how much food you intake, it may be impossible to shed that extra fat. I personally have been guilty of this too. Going by feel, or shooting from the hip, wondering why I am not making progress in either performance, body composition, or whatever the current goal may be.
There are those days when you think you have eaten enough and feel satisfied, only to find out later that you were a whole 1,000 calories short of what is required of you to perform. On the other side of the spectrum, if you don’t track, you may think you are in an energy deficit when actually you may be over eating by a lot. There’s no way of knowing if you aren’t being precise.
So, should you be tracking your macronutrients? My answer is “Yes!” Don’t expect to get accurate results with inaccurate planning.