I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m delighted there is a more common sense approach emerging in the fitness industry now when it comes to fat loss.
For years it seems that calories were never considered (I was never taught about calorie counting on my personal training diploma) – instead there was a focus on the food pyramid, ‘clean’ eating, detoxification, the paeleo diet etc.
It’s no wonder there was so much confusion out there if this was the message being taught to trainers and then passed on to clients.
Like I said, these days there has been a greater shift towards teaching the law of thermodynamics (calories in versus calories out) and with all the apps and trackers there has never been a better time to manage your intake and expenditure so that you leave nothing to confusion or chance.
Personally I do not use the popular My Fitness Pal app, but I do add up my daily calories and protein intake simply by getting the details of the food packets and adding them up on the calculator on my phone.
Also having been in the industry a long time I have a pretty good indication of how many calories are in certain foods (and if in doubt there is always Google).
But should you be counting calories?
Well it very much depends on where you are at with your journey.
Let me give you an example.
For years I have trained very overweight guys and the LAST thing I would do with someone who needs to lose a LOT of weight is get them to start tracking calories. Why?
Well if I’ve got a 20 stone plus male come to me, the first thing I want to get this fella doing is:
1) Moving more (he is because he’s starting training)
2) Get more hydrated (most guys are severely dehydrated)
3) Improve his food choices (get him eating a bit cleaner)
Now I know I have criticized the restrictive ‘clean eating’ approach of late so note that I said ‘a bit cleaner’. This could simply be reducing the amount of takeaways this client is eating and upping his green veggies and protein.
This alone will create a calorie deficit without the client even having to worry about tracking.
Look, honestly, for years I was putting clients AND myself into a calorie deficit without actually realizing (because the emphasis didn’t use to be on calories) by making them make better food choices and eat ‘cleaner’.
Reduce the amount of starchy carbohydrates someone is eating and replace with a tonne of veggies is just one way of creating a deficit without tracking.
So my answer initially is if you are a heavier guy then you don’t need to track, you just need to start to adopt the 3 habits listed above.
Now there will come a time where you will want to start tracking.
Recently I took a heavier client on a journey over the year to help him lose 5 stone.
When he started with me I did all of what I have just mentioned above with him.
Got him to move more, drink more water and eat cleaner.
Then, when this was the norm for him and he was fully integrated into this lifestyle and his losses started to slow down, guess what? We introduced things like intermittent fasting and calorie tracking.
Said client was more than ready and of course introducing this gave him more power and helped him go to the next level and lose a subsequent two stone.
So lads, there you have it, if you are new to this fat loss thing then understand you do not have to start tracking immediately.
Focus on making exercise, hydration and making better food choices a habit first and then at the right time, once you have done this consistently for a few months, you will be ready to start tracking.
That’s my advice anyway, don’t be in a rush, embrace the journey and do things at the right time.
Oh and when you are ready to track calories, you can do it here at our website www.30plusmensfitness.com