I want to tell you a story. 4 years ago, I decided I wanted to see more results in my workouts. I’m a competitive person and didn’t like being weaker or slower than my training partners. They also had abs and I really wanted abs. I started working out more frequently, getting some early morning sessions in followed by late night sessions after work. I bought equipment for my apartment and started getting some extra reps in whenever I could. I got fitter, no doubt about it, but I was still lagging behind my partners and still didn’t have abs. “What the heck?!”
I looked for more ways to improve and came across a CrossFit Journal article on the Zone Diet. I was intrigued by the idea that my nutrition could help. I thought those foot-long subs were helping out, but it turns out they may have been hurting! As I read and researched more about the Zone Diet, I decided to give it a try. One catch though, I would need to weigh and measure my food to get the most out of it. I took a drive over to Target, picked up a food scale and got started.
My goal was to increase my energy and to build some muscle. The amount of food I needed to eat reflected that. Every day and every meal, I used my food scale so I could track my intake. I was. As disciplined as I could be and sure enough, I started beating my training partners in workouts and my abs began to show through. I was stoked! That was year 1.
Year 2, I decided I wanted to dial in my nutrition further. I decided to stop doing Zone and to track my macros (macronutrients, i.e. carbs, proteins, fats) instead. The goal of this change was to further optimize my nutrition to support my new level of fitness. It worked. Benchmark after benchmark, I crushed. My training partners started looking for ways they could level up to keep pace with me. It was awesome.
For 3 years, I tracked my food daily and updated my macros as needed. It was an approach that allowed me to see great progress, but it also had its drawbacks. I learned a lot over those 4 years. I learned what the right amount of food was for myself. What foods worked well with and my body and what foods didn’t. I learned how to plan and time my meals, which helped out a ton when traveling. I learned how to make smart food choices when eating out (and what the best places were to eat out). I learned that I was capable of reaching the goals I wanted with a little bit of discipline. I also learned that I didn’t need to track my food non-stop for 4 years. Yes, it helped me, but it limited my social interactions and food choices (ask my girlfriend, I took my food scale with me on our first date and weighed out everything I ate).
I use tracking as a tool now, not a lifestyle. Yes, it can be very helpful to track your food for a few weeks or a few months (depending on how aggressive your goals are). I use it as a calibration tool so I can see if I have skewed off or if I am still on the right track. It’s something I would recommend everyone to try out. Maybe not for 4 years straight, but for a few months. The impacts are insane. You’ll start having the energy you want and seeing the results you want. The hardest part is making sure your macros are accurate and updated as needed. At 286 Performance, we have many people on nutrition protocols that we help them out with and update for them. Some are members of the gym, others just do nutrition with us. If you are ready to reach your goals, book and intro and let us help out. You can book that here: