MyFitnessPal - Tracking your calories
Unfortunately, calorie trackers are the best way to monitor what goes in to your body. This can be a lengthy process, especially with recipes that have multiple items, all needing to be tracked and entered individually. Add in the weighing of every food you eat and trying to remember to enter every meal, it’s a recipe for disaster (excuse the pun).
Here at Warrior, we completely understand, and went through it ourselves. So, we've put together 5 hints and tips to making calorie tracking more bearable. Nutrition is a huge part of fitness, so it is definitely worth the time and effort.
We'll be using MyFitnessPal app (MFP), which is free of charge. It does have an upgrade option for £7.99P/M which will track macros too, as well as no ads, meal plans and workouts. But for today we're just going to focus on the free option so you can all give it a go at no cost. MFP has almost everything you can find in a supermarket, and also has a handy barcode scanner that can save time while searching.
We're not teaching you how to use the app, just how to be more efficient with it, so spend a few minutes getting to grips with the app before reading on.
TIP NUMBER 1
Unfortunately you will need to weigh things out at first, it's just part of the process, however, educate yourself as you do. For instance, if 100g of pasta was two of your handfuls, remember this for next time so you no longer need to weigh. I myself use bowls and cups, I have certain Tupperware which i know fits 200g of frozen veg in, and a protein scoop weighs out my rice perfectly.
The more you can make it easier on yourself, the more likely you are to stick with it.
TIP NUMBER 2
Know the difference between dry food, and cooked food. 100g of rice works out to be around 300g once cooked, and pasta over doubles in weight once cooked. This can be extremely detrimental to tracking carbs if you get this wrong, so make sure you know what your dry food will amount too when tracking. Google is your friend.
TIP NUMBER 3
TRACK EVERYTHING - and when we say everything, we mean everything! A lot of people will miss the oils they cook with, the seasoning they use and the additional sauces like mayo and ketchup, these all add up, so don't miss them. Also, think about the snack draw at work, the cookie offered by a colleague and those 4 cups of tea a day, it all needs to go in if you want to get true information back out of this.
TIP NUMBER 4
Save parts of the meal, not the whole meal. When having Steak, veg and sweet potato fries, rather than saving this as one whole meal, break it down into the three separate components. For instance, the fries will be 200g of sweet potato, seasoning and oil. Save this as a meal 'Sweet potato fries', this way, when you have, say, breaded cod and sweet potato fries, you already have the fries saved, and only need to add the fish to 'dinner'.
This has saved me personally no end of time, with different groups of veg, rice, pasta etc. Over time I have built my own small library of everything I cook, meaning I build meals from mini meals, instead of creating from scratch every meal.
TIP NUMBER 5
Track your cheat meals. Don't feel bad about cheat meals, everyone has them, it's a treat, and you earn them. But, they do need to be tracked, just because you don't put it in the tacker doesn't mean it didn't happen. If you want to take your nutrition more seriously, it all needs to be included. It's pointless tracking otherwise.
Hopefully these tips and tricks have helped you become much more efficient with it. If you have any additional things you think will help other athletes, pop them in the comments below!