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Taking control of your life by working to improve your health can be difficult, but with the advancement in modern day technology, there are literally thousands of smartphone apps that will help you track your daily efforts. Tracking your fitness progress, whether it be your muscle gain or your weight loss, can help to keep you motivated and educated about what’s working and what isn’t in your diet.
That’s where macro tracking apps step in- knowing that specific nutritional goals you should be achieving for your body will help you to set realistic goals, maintain your motivation, and to have a better understanding of what your body needs to be healthy.
What does it mean to track your macros?
Counting or tracking your macros means that you will be keeping track of the number of grams of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins that you consume on a daily basis. Keeping track of your daily macros will help you to concentrate on the overall nutrition of the foods that you’re eating, rather than just focusing on eating low-calorie foods.
When you’ve got the right balance of macronutrients, you will find that you’ll have more energy throughout the day, you’ll feel fuller for a longer period of time, and your body will begin to develop lean muscle.
Why is it important to track macros?
When starting off on a diet (or a lifestyle change) most people believe that the most important thing for them to track is the caloric intake. However, only focusing on creating a calorie deficient to lose weight can leave you feeling hungry, annoyed, and with very little energy. By keeping an eye on your macronutrients, you will have an easier time fighting against these side effects that often come along with lifestyle changes.
Calorie counting just keeps track of the energy that you are feeding your body, but not calories feed your body energy in the same way. While a calorie counter will count a 500-calorie ice cream sundae just the same as it would count a 500-calorie salad, macro counting will help you understand how what you’re eating is causing your diet to unhealthy and unbalanced (and how to fix it).
If you’re looking to build muscle, tracking your macros can help to increase your chances of building more muscles. While you’re exercising, your muscle tissue becomes damaged and needs to be rebuilt through the process of protein synthesis. While you’re looking to increase your lean muscle gain, it’s absolutely important that you’re consuming enough protein. Tracking your macros will help to make sure that you’re eating enough protein to build lean muscle mass.
How often should you track your macros for weight loss?
You should be tracking your macros on a daily basis. Not only will you get a better understanding of what your food is made of and what your body is getting out of the food you’re eating, but you will also be getting a better understanding of what healthier foods are and how you can start eating better.
Also, tracking your macros on a daily basis can really help you if you are someone who struggles with sticking to a diet. Every time you eat, your main focus should be that you’re reaching towards your daily macronutrient goals. That doesn’t mean that you still can’t have cheat days and eat unhealthy foods, as long as it’s every once in a while.
Instead of eating an entire cake by yourself, fit a slice into your macro counts for one day. Eating a modest amount of unhealthy foods is okay to do every once in a while and counting your macros even during your cheat days can help you to stay on track with your goals, instead of completely falling off of the track.
Lose It! provides users with an easy way to break down the macros of each meal that they’re consuming by simply pressing on the ‘Nutrients’ tab. If you own an IOS 8 or higher, Apple users will be able to easily build their Lose It! profile by connecting it with the Health Kit. You can also keep track of the calories you’ve consumed and how many more you can eat by looking at the colored circled in the middle of your home screen.
You also have the ability to look at the progress you’ve made with your macros throughout the last week by looking at the graphed bars on the app; green bars represent the days where you hit your macro goals, whereas the red bars represent the days you went over your macro goals.
Nutritionist is a great app to use for beginners who are looking for extra advice and help on their weight loss journey; this app provides users with tricks and tips on how to easily ensure the success of their food logging. It also user to avoid overeating by providing portion control tips, has pop-up reminders to remind to weigh yourself, and gives you the option to remind you to eat throughout the day.
This macro app also will allow you to compare your actual daily macro intake against what your daily targeted macro intake it. As you lose weight (or gain weight), the app will auto adjust your calorie goals as your body changes. Another great benefit of this app is that if you’re someone who doesn’t have dependable Wi-Fi, you can use the food database that Nutritionist offers while you’re offline.
This app is a program that helps you to monitor both your macros and your caloric intake. Fitocracy Macros allows users to enter the amount of proteins, fats, and carbs are in each meal that they eat, while calculating the amount of nutrients that your body needs to get through the rest of the day.
Fitocracy Macros also tracks the eating history of users and will provide you with weekly averages for your total caloric consumptions and for your macronutrients. You can also receive free workout routines that can use in pairing with your diet plan. The biggest complaint that a lot of users have is that there isn’t a food database, so you’re going to have to enter your foods manually.
My Fitness Pal
My Fitness Pal is a great app to use if you’re a beginning food journalist or you’re looking for something that’s easy and quick to use. You can save meals to your account and re-use these meals, which can be built using the expansive food database that My Fitness Pal offers. There are four million foods that you have to choose from in the My Fitness Pal database; there is also a barcode scanner that you can use in the app that will allow you to easily log your food.
The only downside that comes with My Fitness Pal is that you only have the option to set daily calorie goals, but you can’t set any macro goals. However, you still do have the option to view your macro breakdowns by clicking on the ‘Nutrition’ icon that’s located at the bottom of the ‘Diary’ screen. You also have the ability to look at your weekly progress by selection the ‘Nutrition’ tab.
In my personal belief, the Rise app would best be used by people who are struggling to understand the mistakes they’re making in the diet or by someone who is serious about losing a lot of weight. To use Rise, you only have to take a picture of your meal and write out a basic outline of what you ate.
After you fill out that description, Rise will connect you with a registered dietitian who will give you feedback on what you ate and where the problems with your meal may be. Rise provides users with live, personalized support with your meals and will help to teach you what good, healthy habits for your body are.
My Macros+ was developed by a retired professional bodybuilder and has a library of over 1.5 million food items for you to choose from. All of the content that this application offers is stored locally so you won’t have to depend on the Internet connection to be able to track your macro intake.
At the top of the screen, there are red numbers that display how many grams of fat, grams of protein, and grams of carbs you have remaining for the rest of the day. This app will also show users your macro totals for the day, but also for all of the individual foods and individuals meals you’ve consumed.
If you’re looking to consume different macro levels for the days you’re not working out, My Macros+ will allow you to save different macronutrient levels that you can choose between, which is great for athletes or for intermittent fasters whose will be able to easily switch their target macros when their diet changes.
Tracking your macros can help you have a better understanding of your diet, keep you moving towards your goal, and give you a better understanding of how what you’re eating is affecting your health. As you gain a better understanding of tracking your nutrition, you’ll become more aware of what you’re eating, which will help get your closer to achieving your health goals.
At the end of the day, whatever your health or fitness goals are, what is important is that you are consistent!
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Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.