Imagine not having a petrol gauge on your car – just having to guess when what you put into your car has gone. Eventually you will run out and not realise, putting your car at great risk of failure.
Just like a car, your body requires fuel – and just like a car, it uses it up too. So why wouldn’t you monitor how much ‘fuel’ your taking in, and how much you’re using?
Ok, a car and the human body work in completely different ways, but you can see the point I’m trying to make. Organisation of your lifestyle can be as important to you as the actual hours you put in at the gym.
Traditionally, this method of monitoring our lives -particularly our nutrition – has been branded as ‘calorie counting’, and has gathered a very mixed reputation.
On the one hand some people understand that to lose fat or build muscle you need to be aware of your ratio between the calories you take in and the calories you burn. On the other there is the argument that people haven’t done this throughout history and they were just fine.
The fact still remains that if you want to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you intake, whereas if you’re looking to gain weight, the opposite needs to be applied.
The idea of monitoring nutrition isn’t a new idea, but it is one that is growing in popularity. So why is this? Is it easier to do now, or are we as a global population just more aware of good/bad nutrition.
It is true that we are more aware, yes. More people are going to the gym, that’s a fact. But you don’t need statistics to prove that – just think how the world has changed over the past 5-10 years.
More gyms are opening up, more people are talking about the gym and more people are trying new styles of fitness such as CrossFit.
There’s no doubt that monitoring fitness is easier now than it ever has been in the past. Smartphone technology has made all sorts of tools available to us that can aid our progress.
I want to talk specifically about one of these tools – MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal is an app that allows you to monitor what you eat and how much exercise you do.
More than that is allows you to input data about your physical fitness in order to determine how much of which nutrients you need – tell it your height, weight and what you want to achieve and it tells you straight away how many carbs you need, how much protein you need, etc.
The huge database of food makes it easy to input what you eat on a daily basis – and as if that wasn’t enough you can use your camera to scan the barcodes of the food you do eat.
When you go to the gym you probably record the work you do to monitor your progress, right? Well your nutrition shouldn’t be any different.
Just as you can progress in the gym, so can the quality of your nutrition. By monitoring what you’re taking in you can identify areas where you may be lacking, and areas where you may need to cut back.
MyFitnessPal is the best app I’ve seen for this – but there may be others out there.
So if you think that your progress has hit a plateau, or especially if you’re just starting to focus on your health and fitness, get yourself the app and start from there.
This isn’t some advertising campaign, it’s a free app and I don’t get anything if you use it. This is just a recommendation.
It doesn’t matter what tool you use, just make sure you are monitoring what you’re eating if you seriously want to achieve your goals.
Be honest, you don’t want to run out of petrol in the middle of the motorway now, do you?