For many of us, daily tracking of macronutrient supplies is just as much a part of it as amen in the church. For others, however, it is unthinkable to do the job of writing down every single gram of protein, fat, or carbs minutely. If you are not sure yet which course of action you would like to take, you should listen to the arguments of both sides.
Tracking or not tracking, that's the question. But what exactly does macro tracking mean?
Basically, it's about recording daily the amount of macronutrients taken every day to a few grams. Bodybuilders and competitive athletes, in particular, have more or less perfected this type of nutritional planning so that they can master it while they are sleeping without even having to use a kitchen scale. For most of us, however, this is initially associated with buying a kitchen scale and googling the nutritional value of each food. Why should we do this stress then? Well, the benefits are obvious, because with the help of consistent tracking, the progress in terms of muscle and fat loss can be very well monitored and controlled on-the-fly. However, this does not mean that tracking is an indispensable prerequisite for the successful implementation of your goals. In the following, we will introduce you to some scenarios in which the sense makes tracking or less sense. However, the decision you can make based on these examples is completely up to you.
When tracking makes sense:
Scenario 1 - You already have low body fat but want to reduce it further.
If you are in such a situation, you should know that even small variations in nutrient supply have a major impact on whether or not you lose those last percentages of body fat. Even a few dozen calories too much can lead to considerable frustration over a longer period of time, as you will not make any progress despite your best efforts. It already makes a big difference whether you eat 85 or 100 grams of chicken meat, even if it's only about 20-30 calories. But 20 calories here and 30 calories there quickly add up to several hundred calories and lead to the well-known result. Learn to think in these small dimensions and recognize their importance, then you will achieve your goals with the help of macronutrient tracking.
Scenario 2 - You have no idea what "enough protein" means
That the definition of "enough protein" from person to person is sometimes subject to extremely strong fluctuations, lies in the nature of things. Accordingly, this value varies between "actually enough protein" and 40 grams per day. And no, 40 grams of protein a day is not enough - well, unless you weigh only 30 kilograms. So if you're in this category and can not really gauge your protein intake, you should at least go back to tracking for a while. As a guideline, the rule of thumb is that you should eat at least two grams of protein per pound of body weight to provide your body with enough protein to supply the muscles. Of course, a similar principle can also be applied to the consumption of fat and carbohydrates. In this regard, however, other rules of thumb apply. With regard to fats, you should take in between 0.8 and 1 gram per kilogram of body weight, so you can cover your remaining energy needs with the help of carbohydrates.
Scenario 3 - The signals of your body are going crazy
Do you often have cravings and can not get to the fridge fast enough? Do you feel that you are lacking in energy, although you feel that you are getting enough food? In such a case, tracking the macronutrient supply can be very enlightening because it allows you to spot superficially hidden problems, as you can not only track closely what quantities of nutrients you take, but also which foods you are accessing in detail. This also makes it possible to eradicate food cravings caused by a lack of vitamins. Especially if you are a person who is generally controlled by the appetite for sweets, we will find it difficult for you to change at first. But the fruits that you can harvest with the tracking are even sweeter.
Scenario 4 - You have to reach your destination by Day X.
A competition, a wedding or a photo shoot. There are many reasons why you need to be in top form up to a pre-defined Day X. The clock is ticking and the nearer the event gets, the more serious are even the smallest nutritional mistakes that go undetected. You know the facts and therefore have to calculate hard. Without the scrupulous record of fat, carbohydrate and protein consumption, you'll be unlikely to reach your goal. In particular, since fat loss is not a linear process, it requires accurate adjustments that can only be achieved with sound planning. So if you have such an appointment in mind and you do not want to risk anything, you can not get around tracking.
When tracking does not make sense:
Scenario 1 - Your food neurosis does not work
If you tend to approach the subject of nutrition too scientifically and spend more time analyzing the latest studies than you spend on training or dieting, then macrotracking may not be effective. In such a case, it will not help you to look at a specific target, but on the contrary, you will lose yourself even more in the details, losing sight of the big picture. In particular, if you are not a competitive athlete, but practice the sport as a hobby, you should just take a deep breath and focus on the really important things. For example, the next set of squats or a delicious rump steak that provides your body with great protein.
Scenario 2 - You are already a nutrient veteran
If you're so experienced in nutrient determination that you can pinpoint the nutritional content of a piece of chicken breast fillet or a plate of pasta to the nearest gram, it makes little sense to spend your precious time tracking nutrients. Perhaps the reason for your talent is that you already have a more or less solid nutritional routine, and you actually always know exactly what you eat and when. This routine makes you as effective as a kitchen scale. It takes years for you to build that ability. But if you have done it you deserve respect, because not many of us can do that.
Scenario 3 - You are not ready yet
It does not make much sense for you to take care of pinpoint tracking of macronutrients without having internalized the most basic dietary rules. So if one of the following three scenarios applies, you should first do your homework before you start with the macrorracking. A: You have an exclusively sedentary lifestyle and your definition of a healthy meal is solely to have another salad leaf put on Big Mac. B: You expect to achieve all of your fitness goals through excessive cardio units combined with a meager diet consisting solely of carrots and lettuce. C: You wonder if butter is a good or bad source of carbohydrate .... Recognizing yourself in one of these statements is the time to take a step back and focus on the basics first. First, the training and second, a specific conversion of your diet to really healthy and nutritious food. Everything else comes with time.
Scenario 4 - You just want to be healthy not super defined
You just want to have a healthy body and just fit it back into your old jeans without having to pull in your stomach? Or do you just want to run up the stairs in the office without breaking into sweat? Then it's actually quite simple, because after all there is no deadline within which you have to reach your goal. If this description applies to you, it makes no sense to invest extra time in the macronutrient tracking, because, hand on heart, it makes no difference whether 185 grams or 200 grams of meat land on your plate. Just stick to the principles of a healthy diet, exercise properly, and enjoy life without stress.