When you first start tracking your macros, the idea of hitting your protein, carbs, and fats perfectly can seem daunting. The good news: it doesn’t have to be. There are strategies you can use that will make it second nature. In fact, I spend a total of two minutes a day planning plugging things into MyFitnessPal so that I’m + or -3g away from hitting my macro goals. Two minutes.
Before we get into all that, first things first: give yourself a break. You’re not going to get it right the first day or so. Accept that that’s part of the process.
Use the first couple of days of tracking your macros to see how your current eating habits stack up to how you should be eating. You should be looking for patterns. Do you always seem to be under on protein and over on fat? Great! Then may have 1 less tablespoon of peanut butter with your apple, and add an extra 2oz of chicken to your lunchtime salad.
When that’s all said and done, you’ll be ready to build your perfect day in MyFitnessPal. Here’s how:
Throw in rough estimations of what you plan to eat
Open up MFP the morning of or the night before and throw in rough estimations of what you’re planning to eat that day. You know what your breakfast staples are, you know what you have in the fridge for dinner. No pressure here, just throw it in the app.
Build out breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Build out your main three meals — breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These meals should be well balanced — meaning they should have protein, carbs, and fats. This is where you should also get in your micronutrients, or the vitamins and minerals that come from whole, unprocessed foods like veggies.
Plug in your pre- and post-workout snacks
Next, input your pre- and post-workout snack (if applicable for that day). Your workout should always be bookended with carbs and protein. Keep the pre-workout snack relatively light. If you workout first thing in the morning, then contact us to learn how to fuel appropriately for those sessions.
Plug in your daily treat or before bedtime snack
While a little bit of hunger is a good thing, especially on a cut, we want to make sure you go to bed satisfied. So plug in something to look forward to at the end of the night. If you’re limited, maybe it’s a bowl of strawberries. If you have a little more room to indulge, maybe a piece of chocolate or popcorn.
Look at where you end up and make adjustments
Now, look at your macros (if you have MFP setup correctly, you should see exactly how many grams you’re over/under each macro by). Then, make adjustments. Need more protein? Maybe add an extra ounce of chicken to your lunch. Need even more protein? Maybe mix in some collagen peptides with your afternoon tea. Over on carbs and fats? Maybe skip the before-bedtime avocado toast for a bowl of berries. You catch the drift.
Assess the day
Go through your pre-planned day and assess any areas of improvement. Did you save too much food for dinner? Spread out some of those macros to breakfast and lunch. Was there a period of time where you found yourself really hungry? Play around with your nutrient timing and snacks. Find yourself hungry all day? Choose less calorically dense foods and eat for volume. Go into the next day with that knowledge and make it better.
Once you play around with portions and make everything you want fit into your day, you’ll have a much better idea of what your perfect day looks like. While we don’t encourage you to eat the same thing everyday (that would get old pretty quickly), you can use this day as a baseline and as you get more comfortable, be able to learn how swap things out and make them fit.
The app allows you to swipe right to copy all your entries from the day before and make adjustments as needed. The more comfortable you get with this process and learn about your eating patterns, the quicker this process will be. The goal here is to spend no more than two to five minutes a day planning your food (excluding little adjustments you may make throughout the day).
Tracking macros can absolutely become second nature. It just takes practice and some good strategy.
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