If you got caught speeding in your car 5 days in a row, you'd eventually start keeping a close eye on your speedometer, wouldn't you?
So if you're getting fat or you want to put on more lean muscle, why don't you take the same approach?
If you're body doesn't look how you want it to look, you NEED to start tracking your food consumption. End of story!
On a daily basis when we ask our clients how they rate their current nutrition, we can almost guarantee that they will answer with...
"Yeah, my nutrition is pretty good"
"Yeah I eat fairly clean most of the time"
These would be great answers if our clients were happy with their body composition and had no desire or need to change.
Unfortunately however, our physiology doesn't lie and if we are holding excess fat, it is because we haven't been hitting our designated calorie intake and our body has stored the excess energy in the form of fat.
So whilst your clean eating is great, the most influential factor in changing your body composition is based on your energy balance and whether you are in a calorie deficit or a calorie surplus.
You can come up with any excuse as to why this has happened, but at the end of the day, this is how it works. So, if you're in this boat, do not stress, there are a few simple strategies you can implement to follow the basic principles of energy balance.
But it will require some basic food knowledge and then some simple application.
The truth is (based on statistics that 70% of Australia is overweight or obese) that a lot of us will need to make a change in order to fit into what we call "the ideal body fat percentage" range.
There are very strong correlations with your body fat % and your health / performance markers.
So please don't take offence to these ranges as they are not subjective or personal opinions, they are objective measures which are strongly correlated with your performance and health.
In order to have maximum performance potential, maximum health probability and to visibly see your abs, we suggest that you should aim to sit within these ranges.
If you are sitting outside of these ranges, your sole goal should be to get within these ranges ASAP so you can reap the benefits mentioned above as well as the confidence and self esteem that comes with loving how you look.
Sitting outside of these ranges may not be such a short term problem, but the higher your body fat % and the longer it stays outside of these ranges, will eventually have massive implications on both your performance and health.
E.g. A male sitting at 17% will not have visible abs and will be carrying around extra body fat for every pull up, every step on a run and and every thing else he does.
So, even if you're someone who "doesn't care" about body comp. goals and solely focusing on performance, it is in your best interest to "care" about body composition as it will affect how you perform.
So, how do I fix it?
By now, everyone should know that a structured strength and conditioning program coupled with a strict and measured nutrition plan is the ultimate way to reach your desired body composition goals and therefore health and performance.
The structured and measured are in bold because this is where most people fall off the wagon.
They are not structuring a program or following a structured program, but merely going through the motions and just doing whatever they feel like on the day. (usually whatever the alpha male of the gym is doing, or something they saw on insta).
On top of that, they are not measuring their nutrition and just hoping that "eating well" will get them through. Purely guessing and hoping.
Relate this back to the car analogy. Driving along and trying to guess what speed you're at may work sometimes, but even being a lit bit out will have a massive effect on your outcome, especially over months and years.
"I don't have time to measure my foods and track everything. I want to have a life" is usually the response we get when we ask people why they aren't tracking / measuring food.
However, it is not as hard as you think.
We are creatures of habit and most people will be fairly happy eating around 10 meals of similar structure on a weekly basis. So it's not like you will be face down on your phone every time you eat!(imagine that- **subtle stab at society's addiction to screens) haha
This doesn't have to be a forever thing, it just has to be done until you're confident you know what's what.
Once you have weighed and measured what 100g of steak + 200g of vegetables looks like, you shouldn't have to weigh or measure that again.
Once you've plugged your meal into myfitnesspal.com and you know how many calories and the macronutrient breakdown of that meal, you shouldn't have to worry about that one again.
You'll soon start to realise what your day looks like and how certain meals will influence the direction and outcome of your decisions.
It will take some mucking around early on trying to perfect and construct the perfect day, but this is the best part because it becomes engrained in your memory and you will forever have the ability to eye ball food and understand the breakdown and how it will affect your body composition.
So, if you sit down for 30-60 minutes and plug in your next week's meals instead of scrolling through Instagram, you can come up with an easy game plan and hit your macronutrient / calorie goal to a T.
Rinse and repeat and alter with subtle changes as you start to adapt to the program.