Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tracking Those Macros

Here we are...the first day of spring! The sun is shining, it's relatively warm and life is great! We'll ignore the fact that we may be facing low 40 degree weather Monday. Deal? Remember that post that I did that had killer leg workouts in it? That day marked 30 days until spring. Man oh man did I accomplish a lot in that 30 days. It's crazy what you can do when you put your mind to something. This year is starting off pretty great for us. Hopefully this momentum keeps going, because I see great things happening! Let's recap how the past 30 days have broken down:
First off, I started tracking my macros on March 1st. I purchased Krissy Cagney's "Flexible Dieting" and "This Is Not A Cookbook: A Meal Prep Manual." Could I have done the research for free online? Yes. But this is all neatly packed into 28 and 30 pages of information. All in one place. Not to mention I love this chick's attitude towards fitness/nutrition and maybe just life in general. It really opened my eyes to what I should be eating protein/fats/carbs/calories wise. Not just because someone said to do XYZ, there is science and math involved. You can't deny science. In my 30 days 'Til Spring post I was weighing in at about 139 pounds. From February 17th to March 1st I didn't see any real progress. I was feeling stronger yes, but I knew it could be better. Enter macro counting. I went to Target and bought this little gem:

Now measuring out food seems like it would be a pain in the ass. I assure you it's not. Counting macros doesn't have to be hard! I cannot cook food for the whole week. There's just something about eating food that has been in the fridge for 5 days that I can't get past. However, I can cook up 2 or 3 chicken breasts, portion my 4oz and be set for 2 or 3 days. I started off doing chicken, broccoli and sweet potatoes. Just for the first two days, to get in the habit of tracking my food. I only ate that for dinner. The best part of "fitting your macros" is that it doesn't FEEL like you're dieting. In the meal prep e-book there is a great recipe for bacon pancakes. Vernon also bought this stuff for pancakes and it tastes GREAT! We go through or Whichever site has the best deals that day.

Following Krissy Cagney's advice, I stuck to a "maintenance" routine at first. Right now I'm eating 1,781 calories a day and my macros break down like this: 125g of Protein, 132g of Carbs & 81g of Fat. I was only going to do the maintenance plan for two weeks. However, my body is responding so well I'm not planning on changing anything until April 1st now. From March 4th to March 19th (2 weeks) I have dropped 4 pounds. Compare that to the time frame of February 17th to March 4th (2 weeks), I only lost 2 pounds. The funny part? I'm losing more weight and I only went to the gym once last week, drank my butt off on Saturday (St. Patrick's Day Parade) and ate a ridiculous amount of cupcakes this past weekend. Still dropped two pounds. It just shows me that if you stay on track for the most part, an off day or two will not kill you.

When I decide to do more of a "cut" routine (probably April 1st), I'll be dropping my calories to 1,531 (losing 250 calories). My macro breakdown will look like this: 120g of Protein, 116g of Carbs & 65g of Fats. Two of the ways you can do this are either keeping your carbs high (especially on intense workout days or days you hit the gym twice) or keeping your fats high. I personally found that hitting my fat macro was harder than I thought it would be. I ended up eating 1 or 2 servings of peanut butter at night. I'm getting the results I want by keeping my carbs relatively close to my protein intake, so for now I'm sticking with that.

I plan on writing out a meal plan of different things that I eat. The first week I found myself scanning all of the food labels just to get an idea of the content of everything. Things that are high in fat/protein that I eat include: almonds, peanut butter, and I'll eat shredded mozzarella cheese and turkey pepperoni slices as a snack. I try to keep my snacks low in carbs so that I can enjoy them with my bigger meals. It's also good to have one protein shake that is higher in carbs and one that is lower in carbs. Right now I have these:

The one on the left is made by Optimum Nutrition. It's my lower carb option. The Syntha-6 (on the right) is a higher carb option. I LOVE the orange smoothie flavor Syntha-6. Overall I am LOVING this whole counting macros thing. I am eating bread, ice cream, cookies, cheese....basically all good things in life. Tracking it and fitting it in my macros is working!