Some people, myself included, love tracking macros. It’s a fully individualized way of eating that allows food freedom and feeds into my Type A personality. That being said, it’s not uncommon to get a little burnt out from tracking or to have a hard time hitting macros when at social events.
The next best thing? Flexible tracking.
Find your total calorie goal. If you have a nutrition coach, they’ll have that set for you, but if not, we have a free e-book on our website that shows you exactly how to calculate your calorie goals. For that, go to our homepage (here) and scroll down until you see a free e-book titled “Macros: A Piece of Cake”. Calorie calculations will be on pages 7-10.
Calculate your protein goal. Your protein goal should range between .8 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. But, the simpler alternative would be to use aim for 1g of protein per pound of body weight. If you’ve got a good amount of weight to lose, aim for 1g of protein per pound of goal body weight.
Focus on hitting your protein goal and just staying within your total calories. As long as you hit your protein goal, where the rest of your calories come from (carbohydrates or fats) are much less relevant.
Why does it work?
Ever hear the phrase “Calories are king”? It’s true. While macronutrient precision helps a ton with specific aesthetic and performance goals, what ultimately matters is your total caloric intake. If you want to lose fat, you need to be eating at a caloric deficit. For performance or muscle gain, you need to be eating at maintenance or a surplus. Protein matters when it comes to maintaining lean muscle mass and aiding in recovery so it’s important to get enough in your diet, but ultimately your total calories make the most difference. That’s why just focusing on those two things (protein + calories) is super effective.
Who is flexible tracking right for?
Focusing just on protein and calories is great for you if:
⚡You’re burnt out by tracking
⚡You’re new to tracking macros and need to ease your way in
⚡You don’t have very specific goals (aka you just want to look good naked)
⚡You need more food freedom
⚡You get overwhelmed tracking your food in social situations
That being said, if you have specific goals (if you are trying to get to a certain percentage of body fat or are a competitive athlete, getting the right ratio of carbs and fats matters) so talk to your coach so they can help get you there.
How can I apply this to my life?
While I love tracking my macros, I do absolutely get overwhelmed trying to track them in social situations where I have no control over the food. So, when I’m in those situations, I use flexible tracking. It allows me to stay on track but also gives me the freedom to not stress out about food and be present around my friends and family. It’s a much better alternative than having a “f*** it attitude”. So, if you want to give it a try, front-load your protein intake early in the day so you don’t go into the social situations trying to scrounge up 100g+ of protein, and just enjoy the freedom of staying within a general calorie goal. This is a great method in finding the balance of working towards your goals and not letting food dictate your life.