When and How You Should Track Your Food Intake, Calories, and Macros

Over the last few posts, we’ve battled through tough times together, and bid farewell to a few that we’ve lost. But dammit, its high time we get back to having a little fun and getting some shit done. So for your fat loss satisfaction, we return to the nutrition action.

As many of you know, the core principle of my intermittent feasting-style diet (Feast Your Fat Away) is to eat lighter during the day, and enjoy your biggest meal — with the majority of your calories and carbs — at night.

As Big Poppa once said, “And if you don’t know, now you know.”

But I’d be lying to you if I said that diet structure is THE most important step to slashing fat and looking dead sexy (or deadly shredded).  It is really just a way to make your fat loss plan a lot more practical, easy to follow, and enjoyable than most traditional fitness or commercial weight loss diets.

But here’s da no bullshit truth — consistently hitting the right diet numbers (calories and targeted macronutrients) is by far the most important step to achieving any higher-level physique goal. I can’t (MC) hammer that point home enough. It’s just too legit to quit (talking about).

When clients ask, “why am I not losing any weight/fat?”, “why have I hit a plateau?”, or “why can’t I lose that last layer, that last 5-10lbs?”, I usually dig into the diet numbers to find the answer. As the great Brian Fantana once said, “60% of the time, it works every time.”

Brian Fantana Quotes

Actually in my experience, it’s been 95% of the time.

With the first day of summer fast approaching, I figured we’d dive into the diggity-details of diet numbers. I want to spend the next few posts helping you get them right. Part of the reason is that my goal with this blog is NOT to make you co-dependent on me. It’s to empower you, and give you the tools you’ll need to coach yourself.

So first things first. To get to where you want to go, you first need to know where you are starting from. How do you figure that out, and ultimately make the dietary adjustments necessary to reach your fat loss goals?

TRACK YOUR FOOD INTAKE & DIET NUMBERS FOR A WEEK

“That’s a pain in the ass Nate.” “I’m not a fitness freak.” “I have a life”. Etc.

Yeah I know, but this is not something I recommend you do indefinitely. Hell, I don’t track my food intake anymore. I gravitate towards certain foods and can now eyeball portion sizes like a hawk. But I highly suggest it at two different points in your fitness journey.

1. When you are first starting out, it’s a great educational tool.

By simply tracking food intake and numbers for a week, I’ve had clients realize their protein intake was paltry, they were committing “carbicide” like Bruno, or they were eating 1000 calories per day above maintenance levels via refined oils.  In short, they were not eating nearly as good as they thought they were.

Bruno Carbicide

This can even happen with “good” food choices. So if you want to get uber-lean, it’s not just about eating low carb, low fat, Paleo, All-Natural, Raw, Whole Foods, Island-style, The All-Weiner Diet, The All-Beaver Diet, or any other approach. Keep eating Costco size bags of nuts like an over-sized squirrel every day, and that spare tire probably ain’t going away.

By getting on track(ing tools), you’ll get to know what your general serving sizes should be in order to hit your optimal fat loss numbers. You’ll also probably see how much extra shit is sneaking in there. After you cut the excess crap and get a good feel for the right portions for you, then you can start to eyeball everything. You don’t have to be a statistician forever.  But it definitely helps educate and guide you in the beginning.

You can also see how where and what you like to normally eat, including restaurant meals in your regular rotation, etc., can fit into your overall fat loss plan. In essence, being more rigid with your tracking allows you to be a little more flexible with your diet, yet still get great results.

Perhaps it is most important from a psychological perspective. Doing something as simple as tracking your food intake forces you to take personal accountability AND some kind of action towards your physique goals. These two steps are necessary to achieve anything in life.

2. When you hit a plateau.

Going from out of shape to decent shape is one thing. But going from good shape to the cover of a fitness magazine, or top of an e-dating site profile page, is a whole other thing. If you want to jump to the next physique class, often times it necessitates being more detailed and consistent with your diet numbers.

Don’t listen to the intellectual pontificators that say “calories don’t count”, and throw around big boy words like “metabolic advantage” to make up for their lack of practical experience.

I don’t care what sounds good in a lab, lecture, or debate. I only care about what works in the real world. And unless you have great genetics or are using physique enhancing drugs, trust me, the numbers absolutely matter if you want to get ripped. Calorie deficits, metabolic advantage of macronutrient amounts and ratios, satiety impacts of food choices, etc., it all frickin’ matters baby.

And I’d say the diet numbers matter a whole hell of a lot more than throwing a bunch of BCAA’s, MCT’s, fat-burning herbs, and other magic pills into some bone broth, and cooking it all up in a caldron like Gargamel.

Gargamel

Busting through plateaus does not always necessitate biohacks, complicated cyclical diet strategies, or being cool and cutting edge.  Sometimes it actually necessitates the opposite — getting back to the boring basics. Maybe you’re underestimating how many carbs or added fats you are taking in. If all is on point, maybe its time to re-assess and adjust the numbers for continued progress, but only if you’re actually sticking to your current ones to begin with.

See what I’m saying?

GOOD TRACKING TOOLS

These days, with food databases and even smart-phone apps, its relatively easy and pain free to track your numbers. Here are a few free resources I recommend:

1. Pen & Paper Food Journal

Go old school and just write things down in a notebook. Use this food database to find the calorie & macronutrient information of any food.

http://nutritiondata.self.com

2. Food Tracking Software

Keep track on your computer or smart phone. I suggest the following:

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

A VIDEO RECAP

I talked about this topic in the video portion of our Free Beach Physique Guide and ongoing e-course. I think it makes a nice recap to this post.

In the next post, I’m going to dive into protein numbers and research. If you would like more useful fat loss tips and strategies like this, in the same multi-media format, or you don’t have the patience to wait for my next post (with my leisurely working schedule), you can check out The Beach Physique Guide and Ongoing E-course.

Until next time, TRACK IT!

A Memorial Post For Those We Miss The Most

We’ve all lost someone we loved.  It’s devastating.

Cruising and perusing through Facebook, it seems like a lot of us have lost someone recently.  My heart goes out to you man.  I hope you’re hanging in there.  Having lost a few peeps myself, I know words can only do so much to comfort.  But what the hell, it’s worth a shot.  And it’s also worth trying something a little different.

So Kalai and I wanted to share something with you.  Over Memorial Day, we got to experience one of the coolest things we’ve ever been a part of – Lantern Floating Hawaii 2014, a ceremony to honor and remember the ones we’ve lost, and perhaps find some closure. Read the rest of this entry

7 Reasons You are Failing with Your Fat Loss & Physique Goals

Summer breeze, flowing like the wind
Boy you need to know that you got a friend
And I’ll always be here — DJ Quick

That’s true.  I’ll always be here. But I can’t frickin’ coach you man (girl, man-girl, or girly man).  My client list is too full and my patience is getting too thin, hahaha.

Nonetheless, I do want to help you.  For the time to hit the beach and Free Little Willy, or Unleash Thelma & Louise, shall soon be upon us.  And I want you to be well prepared.  I’d feel bad if I knowingly let my friends keep spinning their wheels within the fitness industry bullshit, get nowhere with their physique goals, and did nothing about it.

That’s why we put The Beach Physique Guide together.  Its everything I would give you if you were working with me as a private client — from the fat loss nutrition plan to the physique-focused training programs to the research and educational resources I recommend.  Seriously.  I’ve asked 3 people this week why they would want to pay me to tell them what I already wrote in a book, or covered in the multimedia e-course.  I’m cool, but I ain’t that cool.  And unfortunately, I have a conscience.

In that spirit, instead of some flashy marketing, I figured I’d just post up an excerpt from Da Guide so you can decide whether it sounds like something you are into or not.  The first section ended up basically being a summary of the 7 most common mistakes, or reasons I’ve seen people fail with their fat loss and physique goals.  I know them well, because I’ve made many of them myself at one point in my career (except following the mystical holistical guy — I could never really get down with that higher-than-thou style). Read the rest of this entry

10 Tips For Tough Times

I sat down to write a completely different blog post today.  My plan was to catch you up on all of the stuff I’ve been doing to fulfill my duty as your “People’s Nutrition Educator” – researching for and speaking at nutrition conferences, doing interviews and podcasts, etc.

I promise to do that soon, because I have a ton of outlines, notes, and research quotes that I think you’ll find interesting and informative.

But alas, that must wait.  There are more important issues we must talk about today.  Not often, but every once in a while, I like to talk about things that are more thought provoking (and probably more helpful to you) than protein grams and 6-packs. Read the rest of this entry

Introducing the New Free Beach Physique Guide

Holy shit man, summer is right around the corner!!!

And any honest fitness dude or diva will tell you that if you want to make a dramatic visual difference in your physique before the summer days start drifting away, you need to start on a targeted training and nutrition plan RIGHT FREAKING NOW.

Because Summer Loving happens so fast…

You know by now that your People’s Nutrition Educator can’t stand da bullshit that plagues our beloved fitness industry.  So I’m here to tell you the truth – losing fat, building some lean muscle, and transforming your physique takes time.

Forget about waiting until the last minute and thinking following some crash diet, extreme training protocol, or miracle detox/cleanse program is gonna get the job done. How many times has that actually worked for you or anyone you know?  Most just end up losing a bunch of muscle and looking softer and flabbier.  They certainly don’t end up with a Goldmember or Austin Powers-style “tight body”.

You want to be "tight like a tiger."

You want to be “tight like a tiger.”

The scale may say you are winning with that crap, but the mirror will show you that you are losing.  Because remember, muscle is what provides your body with its shape, tightness, tone, and definition (yes, you too ladies).

And then of course there is the equally fast weight rebound that happens afterwards, which of course no one talks about.  It’s a pointless roller coaster ride without the cool hands in the air, blood rushing to your red face, screaming photo at the end of it. But I digress…

The main point I’m trying to get across is that if you want to be ready for some summer loving, and maybe even some bedroom fireworks on da 4th of July, you need to get on a better, more efficient plan.  And you need to start putting in the work on that plan now.  That’s why we put together our Free Beach Physique Guide.

Some of you sneaky bastards have already seen it and downloaded it.  Hope you dig it.  But for the rest of you, today is the official launch of it.

What is this glorious Beach Physique Guide all about?

It’s basically everything I think you need to know to lose fat, build some lean muscle mass, transform your physique, and look awesome in a bikini, board shorts, or walking around naked.  It consists of 3-parts.

1. THE BEACH PHYSIQUE FREE PDF GUIDE

For the go-getters, we dropped everything down into a PDF file that you can download immediately.  You can read it in one sitting and get started with your plan today.

2. THE BEACH PHYSIQUE E-COURSE

But sometimes with anything new or challenging, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  And when that happens, you end up doing nothing. We ain’t down with that.  Although we’re about having a little fun along the way here, we’re also about getting shit done.

So what we did is break the guide up into smaller, more digestible, more manageable chunks.  We cover the most important strategies one topic at a time, and send them over email lessons.  We then give you a few practical action steps to take, and some time to go out and apply them before we dive into the next lesson.

And in case you hate reading emails, the majority of the lessons also come with the option of watching it as a video tutorial.

Think of it as an ongoing, multimedia, Beach Physique E-course.  Some people learn, absorb, and apply better this way.  If that’s you, great!  I’m down for whatever gets you to where you want to go.

3. THE ONGOING BEACH PHYSIQUE NEWSLETTER 

Fitness and physique is our passion.  We practice what we preach, we do what we teach, and we want to provide you with the ongoing support and advice you’re going to need to perfect your beach physique.

Here’s the deal. I still train private clients offline (and am forced to find new ways of overcoming roadblocks and plateaus), speak at conferences and corporate wellness programs, do interviews and podcasts, write articles for most of the major fitness magazines, and update this blog regularly.

In action at Paleo Fx

In action at Paleo Fx

I also consider myself a lifelong student and am learning and growing every day as an athlete and educator. I’m constantly reading new resources, attending conferences and seminars, and absorbing techniques and strategies from trusted colleagues.

When I’ve learned something new, and think it can help you, I want to share that with you.  This newsletter is how I can do that.

IF YOU’RE DIGGING IT, DOWNLOAD IT

If all of that sounds good to you, I invite you to sign up for the guide, e-course, and ongoing newsletter today.  Here’s where you can do that.  If you scroll down a little, there’s a video of me explaining a little bit more about what the guide is about, and why it was created:

THE FREE BEACH PHYSIQUE GUIDE

BeachPhysiqueGuideCover3-3dgrey