T Nation

Counting Cals and Macros


#1

I just read an article on here that says it is a mental illness to count carbs and cals on a regular basis and that the nutrition info like the USDA nutrient database where they scientifically analyze all foods in a calorimeter and spectrometer is wrong + or - 20% anyway.

Do any of you ripped guys track your macros and cals with any degree of precision?

The article further went on to say that since your energy requirements are different everyday its best just to eat by how you feel because the extra energy you need wont come from fat and must come from diet. I thought the whole point was to provide a maintenance level of calories, adequate protein and let additional variable energy needs come from fat. I was surprised to read this is not so.

Any supporters for carb and macro tracking?
Thanks


#2

I am not big on dieting, but I can share with how I “behave” in regards to my eating. If you’re looking to have ripped abs and sub 10% body fat then disregard what I am about to say. If you just want to be strong, healthy, and athletic-- this could be useful advice.

In regards to mental illness, it depends. Are you counting your stuff because you’re prepping for a show? Are you doing it to find a baseline of nutrition for yourself? Are you trying to find structure and learn about food and your own dietary habits?

So, in some instances, it can be very beneficial to calorie count or count your macro nutrients-- or even micro nutrients. However, for literally 95% of people at some point, I don’t think they need to do that at all. Starting out I think using something like the app MyFitnessPal can be very useful for someone who has no idea how much they are consuming or what they are consuming. I think by them logging their food for several months can teach them a lot about what is in food and what they are consuming.

In my opinion though, the ultimate goal should be to get to where you can eat and get through every day without having to think about it. You should just know eventually, because you have educated yourself on food and your own dietary needs. For myself, I can visually notice, use a scale, and notice by how I feel on what I need to eat and how much I need to eat. But that has come from years of “paying attention” to my own body and how it behaves to food, stress, and training.

I have a lot of favor towards Jim Wendler’s attitude on diet, I would suggest you check it out if you’re not familiar. As you may know, he was a forum on here, his own website, and has written tons of useful stuff on the matter.


#3

Thanks for the reply! The main reason I am counting is because I want to be shredded. I want sub 10% and preferrably 6% bodyfat drug free. I am lifetime natural, 6’ 187 15% BF. I want this blubber layer that is blurring my abs gone. And the love handles that give me a slight hour glass shape instead of straight sides… I cant accept that anymore. Im doing 16/9 diet. 6 days in now and feeling great. I think the fat is coming off. When I read that article though, I got worried that maybe Im doing it wrong, that it would just lead to failure. The author wrote against IF also. I just want to hear from natural shredded guys if they count their macros or not.

Im already pretty lean, muscular, strong an healthy. Some could say that it is a mental illness to want anything more than wellness and a normal BMI. Well I disagree. I think its good to take pride in the physique and make the most of it. But do you natrual shredded guys count your macros and cals? or am I stting myself up for failure?

For me its easy, I made an excel spreadsheet and I make up some meals with the numbers I want and then I just weigh them up and eat them.


#4

the thing about counting macros is it’s actually really easy.

Just work out the macro content of the foods you eat most often and take it from there. After you’ve done it for a little while it becomes second nature.

For example, 90% of the carbs I eat come from rice. I have a cup with a line on it and when I fill it with rice up to that line, I know I’ll get 80g of carbs. 4 servings of that in a day and hey presto.

I also eat a shit ton of ground beef, and that’s 20g of protein per 100g and 10g of fat.

A tablespoon of fat (any fat, really) is 14g.

I don’t count vegetables towards my daily totals, and I only count protein from animal sources.

See what I mean? It’s really not that hard.


#5

[quote]Positive Mindset wrote:
Thanks for the reply! The main reason I am counting is because I want to be shredded. I want sub 10% and preferrably 6% bodyfat drug free. I am lifetime natural, 6’ 187 15% BF. I want this blubber layer that is blurring my abs gone. And the love handles that give me a slight hour glass shape instead of straight sides… I cant accept that anymore. Im doing 16/9 diet. 6 days in now and feeling great. I think the fat is coming off. When I read that article though, I got worried that maybe Im doing it wrong, that it would just lead to failure. The author wrote against IF also. I just want to hear from natural shredded guys if they count their macros or not.

Im already pretty lean, muscular, strong an healthy. Some could say that it is a mental illness to want anything more than wellness and a normal BMI. Well I disagree. I think its good to take pride in the physique and make the most of it. But do you natrual shredded guys count your macros and cals? or am I stting myself up for failure?

For me its easy, I made an excel spreadsheet and I make up some meals with the numbers I want and then I just weigh them up and eat them.[/quote]

You’re welcome man. Yeah, I’m not the guy who should be giving you diet advice then. For me, shredded abs/low body fat are not important at all. I was super lean in my early twenties and I had to literally try to gain weight (still do even at 31), so maybe that is why I don’t value it. But hey, everyone has their own goals of course.

I don’t think you have a mental illness man, I wouldn’t let an article scare you into questioning yourself like that. Someone could say the same about my pursuit of strength. Whatever, their my goals. I know a lot of guys who just like to be ripped-- nothing wrong with that at all. I think when it starts to infiltrate your life, happiness, health, and stuff like that… then maybe start to become aware of an issue. However, as long as it is a healthy habit/desire-- I don’t think their is anything wrong with it. So I would be cautious venturing to 6% year round, that is venturing into crazyville a little bit :wink: