Those who have been reading for a while know that I’m a workout fanatic. In fact, I’m loving it so much that I’m in the midst of obtaining my Certification in Personal Training from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. But, that is a story for another post. Today, I want to talk macros (again!).
In January, I entered a fitness challenge at Athletic Apex in Syracuse, New York, which came with it three personal training sessions, as well as a couple of assessments designed to optimize my training and determine the best workout and nutrition plan for me. One of the assessments was the RMR, which determined my resting metabolic rate and, in turn, was used to help devise my ideal daily caloric intake and macronutrient breakdown – in other words, how many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats I should consume each day.
I started with the goal of building muscle and gaining weight, something that I’ve struggled with for years. I was excited to get a real formula based on science and not just gut (no pun intended!). My total calories were set at 2,100, which was lower than I had been at on my own. I averaged 2,200 to 2,400 and was struggling to gain anything. I was a bit skeptical about going down but then wondered if maybe I was eating too much of the wrong foods or something. So, I gave it shot.
Initially, it was great for me. I gained muscle in a way I never had before, while reducing body fat. I put on two pounds. But, then, the progress stopped. I increased my calories by 200 to see what would happen. Nothing. Then, I decided to move the macros around. Still nothing. The whole time I was progressively lifting heavy, following the BUILD 1.0 program. Now, I realize I had two variables going on – the new fitness program and playing around with the macro ratios but still!
Fast forward to earlier this week when I saw a mention of the Cronometer app in a workout group of which I’m a part. The person said they felt it was more accurate than MyFitnessPal for tracking nutrition. So, I figured I’d give it a shot. My first impression was that it was a pretty basic app and it wasn’t pretty or organized well at all. It was an endless list of what I was eating and it wasn’t grouped together and there wasn’t a lot of white space with the design. BUT, once you get passed all that? There is one key difference that is completely changing my life. MyFitnessPal never truly synced to my Apple Watch. But Cronometer does. So much, in fact, that my daily calorie needs adjust as the day goes on and I burn more calories. I am realizing just how many more I need based on my activity. I consumed nearly 2,500 calories the other day, for example, and yesterday just more than 2,400. Today, 2,234 is my current goal, but I imagine it will go up as the day goes on, especially if I go for a walk at lunch.
So, there you go. Science can only take you so far. While my RMR may have been accurate, the data was not enough to account for my energy usage all day long, particularly since my metabolism may run a bit faster than average. I weighed myself last night and was at 100.3 pounds for the first time since I was pregnant! Now, a female’s weight fluctuates daily, for better or worse, so I’m going to check again in a week, but my scale indicates body fat and muscle mass percentages, too. The trend is going up for muscle mass and body fat is about the same. So, those are all good signs.
The whole time I’ve been experimenting with all this, I’ve cut way down on my alcohol consumption. A couple glasses a week is now my new normal. So, that also could be helping as alcohol is not the greatest when it comes to getting good sleep and it can interfere with metabolization of key nutrients, too. This past weekend was the exception. I celebrated the first full gorgeous weekend in Central New York with a $5 Sauvignon Blanc from Frontera in Chile, as well as Clean Slate Riesling, an old standby. Life was good in the sun all weekend! Cheers to many more as we dive into summer!