Introduction to MyFitnessPal, Calories, and Macros
Please watch before reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRkUyvIRp8k&t=437s
What is MyFitnessPal?
MyFitnessPal is a smartphone application that allows you to scan barcodes or manually input food to see its nutritional value. It breaks down food into three main categories, these are carbs, fats, and protein.
Why should I track my food?
Calorie tracking is the only surefire way to know you are progressing towards your health and fitness goals. In order to lose fat, you must consume fewer calories than you burn. In order to gain muscle mass, you must consume slightly more calories than you burn. Therefore through regular tracking of calories, informed decisions can be made to make sure you continue to progress towards your goals.
What is a calorie?
A calorie is a unit of energy, it can be compared to a daily allowance. Your daily allowance is how much you can consume to maintain your weight. This allowance can be spent on carbohydrates, fats, and protein in any manner you choose. However, much like spending in real life certain spending decisions may be smarter than others. A good rule of thumb is to choose 80% of clean unprocessed whole foods with the other 20% of your daily calories being allotted to foods that you enjoy.
What are macronutrients?
Macronutrients are composed of fats, protein, and carbohydrates, these are found in all food sources. Fat is the nutrient responsible for hormonal regulation and will assist in energy levels. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy during exercise. Thus it should be the highest macronutrient if muscle gain is the priority. Protein is responsible for the growth and repair of muscle and other soft tissue. It is essential if you are regularly training for recovery.
How many calories do I consume?
The number of calories you need to consume will be calculated in your diet plan. For the first two weeks try to familiarise yourself with MyFitnessPal and eat as you normally would. However, begin to track regularly what you’re consuming. It does not need to be perfect at this stage, however, I will need to have a general indication of how many calories you are consuming per day to create a targeted approach to reach your goals.
Am I restricted by tracking my calories?
Calorie counting does not need to be restrictive and you are still free to enjoy your favourite foods as long as they are able to be fit into your target macros, this can be done daily by smart food choices designed to allow you to reach your fitness goals whilst also enjoying food.
How do I use MyFitnessPal?
- Begin by downloading the MyFitnessPal app from the AppStore.
- Register an account and enter your starting weight and activity levels. The app will create an arbitrary number for a daily calorie goal – ignore this for the time being. Once fully registered the home screen should look like this.
- To input and record food press on the large plus in the bottom corner of the screen.
- The app will prompt you with suggestions for what timing to place the food under, enter under whichever subgroup you feel it should fit under.
- A pop-up window will open with a search bar, here you can either manually enter the name of the food or scan the barcode on the back of the item to instantly find the nutrition of the food.
- Once the food item is found either through the barcode or through manually entering it click on the item to bring up its macronutrient and calorie breakdown. From here you can adjust the serving size to fit whatever you have portioned. E.g can change eggs to 100grams if weighed.
- Once you have recorded the food weight and serving size press the tick in the top left corner to confirm, this will add the calories to your daily total and bring you back to the home screen.
- To see your daily macronutrient breakdown scroll down from the home screen to the bottom of the page where there will be a nutrition tracker. Click this button and it will bring you to a breakdown of your macronutrients.
- Enter these macronutrients and calories into the diet spreadsheet, this will allow me to monitor your consistent caloric intake and make adjustments as needed depending on progress.
- Watch in amazement as you are still able to incorporate your favourite foods whilst making sustainable progress!