Do I Need to Track Calories?

Posted 16 Apr 2022

Remember – there is no right and wrong way to fuel your health and performance. The only thing we recommend is finding a system that is sustainable and that is easy and simple enough for you to stick to consistently.

Also, you need to remember that your nutrition needs to reflect the things you want to achieve or are important to you. 

Anyway, back to calorie counting or tracking. Is it needed? Well like all good questions, it depends. If you are competing in a weight-based sport or event like a fighter cutting for a fight, or a bodybuilder wanting to get competition ready then yes, you will likely need to track calories meticulously. 

Additionally, some people just love the attention to detail and really enjoy exploring that side of the journey. 

One thing we can’t deny when it comes to nutrition is that there is a set of basic principles we can’t escape, and energy balance or calories in vs calories out (CICO) is probably at the top. 
For the majority of the general population and many professional athletes, tracking calories is not necessary. We’ve found it more sustainable to integrate things like prioritising protein and fibre at main meals to help regulate appetite naturally or using the hand portion system.

However, if tracking calories is something you want to have a crack at, we recommend trying the following as a starting point.

  1. Get a set of scales – We recommend these as they are cheap and super easy to use.
  2. Download a calorie tracking app. Give Chronometer a try. We like this one as it gives you a great insight into the micronutrients you are consuming in addition to the macros and total calories.
  3. Keep a food diary. Using your notes section on your phone to note down exactly what goes into each of your meals for one average day of eating. This is made so much easier by eating simple meals with small ingredient lists.
  4. Take pictures – This can make the above step a little easier, meaning you don’t need to note everything down.
  5. Start with an average week day – You don’t need to analyse every single day of the week. Just take one typical day and plug the ingredients into your tracking app. We also suggest you track an average weekend day, as these can often look very different for some people.
  6. If your within the ballpark of where you need to be, great! If not, you may need to make some tweaks and monitor more regularly.
  7. You will get a feel for the quantity of food, and the structure needed around your meals as you go, meaning you may not need to track as meticulously moving forward.

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