Should I track my calories to the gram if I am not planning to ever compete? This is an interesting conversation because it brings up a few good points. the first point is do you need to get into insane shape if you don’t plan to ever step on stage? Does this mean I shouldn’t diet?
Luckily for you, we have had a long hard think about this and decided to put together this article to help out anyone else that might be thinking this. So grab a cup of coffee or a drink of your choice and let us begin.
START WITH THE BASIC’S
We all know, well hopefully by now, that the only way to lose weight is to be in a calorie deficit. If you are in a calorie deficit then you will lose weight. The only way to truly know you are in a calorie deficit is to track your calories and track your body weight (We now have a feature for this in our app, download here), tracking both of these will give you a clear idea of your progress.
Should I track my calories? If your goal is to lose weight, then yeah! Weighing your food and weighing yourself. Now this will bring up the question which most people ask “Does this mean I am going to have to track forever?” The answer is no!
DOESN’T NEED TO GO TO FAR
After a few weeks/Months of tracking, you will become familiar with what you can eat to lose weight, you will have a rough understanding of how many calories are in certain foods.
Plus, you shouldn’t remain in a dieting phase forever, you want to diet down to your target, then slowly increase calories (But we will do a post about reverse dieting and coming out of a diet phase). However, the one point I want to make is that you should track calories for a bit and then you should be able to roughly calculate your food and eat by instinct. If you are not competing there is no need to track forever.
You should try to get away from the dieting mindset and make it more of a lifestyle. This will make it a lot easier. A lot of people think about tracking temporarily, then when they have reached a goal or a weight they do one of two things, track forevermore, start to hate food and hate training and what use to be a hobby and a source of enjoyment is now a chore. Or they stop completely and eat what they want and just end up back where they started.
What you need to do is track to get to your goal and then ween yourself from tracking but maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Use tracking to learn what you can and can’t eat, how many calories are in what. This means you can then live your life but also be aware of the calorie content in foods.
BODYBUILDING IS SO MUCH MORE THAN DIETING
Remember that bodybuilding is way more than just diet, you have to also focus on training and the mindset. You can’t just expect to lower your calories and become a bodybuilder. There will be many different phases, bulking into cutting and then repeat. For the average person, this is way more than they need to do.
We thought we would just mention this in case you are looking to get into bodybuilding. if you are we fully recommend getting a bodybuilding coach that can walk you through every step. It is not easy and anyone that competes has my full respect.
So if you are asking the questions should I track if I am not competing, the answer is yes, for a while but not forever. Use Tracking as a tool to find out where you are, the foods you can eat and get a level on what you can eat in a day. You should get to the point where you can maintain a good look and performance without tracking, then if you need to lower your body fat or bulk up you can jump back into tracking and be more precise.
If you need a place to start, head over to our app and use our free calorie calculator to calculate your daily intake and help you get started with your journey. This will give you a great starting point and allow you to know where to start and make adjustments from there. You can download it here for free.
Written by Kieran Blacker
Kieran is the CEO and Founder of Sets & Reps. He decided to make an application that helped people get a gym workout when not at the gym. He designed, Coded and built the application himself.