I’m someone who has always done his best to commit to a fitness regime. Countless gym memberships, hours of sweat (fortunately there has been no blood nor tears) and possible hearing problems due to excessive dance beats being pumped into my ears, and yet, no noticeable gains.
It wasn’t until the lockdown this year and takeaway upon takeaway for dinner that I finally decided enough was enough and I’d pay for personal training to put me on the right path. Not only has the one-on-one training allowed me to learn about new exercises and the benefits they have, but my PT also revealed to me that I simply wasn’t eating enough to facilitate the figure I craved.
My BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate, the minimum number of calories needed to maintain everyday functions – was worked out to be 2,000 calories. It was highly likely I wasn’t even hitting this when working out. No wonder I was noticing no significant muscle growth.
By the way, I’m aware that to many people/gym-goers, this is obvious information, but I was a little oblivious. I always had the fear that the more I ate, the fatter I would get. Eating more seemed counterintuitive.
Tracking food and calories is something I never thought I would find myself practising, but some 100 days later I’m trying to log everything I put into my body on a daily basis.
For a few weeks I was estimating the portion sizes and weights of what I was eating and logging it in my smartphone app, but still, the scales weren’t showing me what I wanted to see.
I surmised that perhaps my estimations were way out, and I was perhaps eating too much or too little still. So I darted it to Kmart, picked up a $10 set of scales and upon first use, it was clear my estimations were skewed.
Following a week of weighing two of the main meals I consume: chicken, sweet potato, broccoli, mixed nuts, muesli and chia seeds (not at once, of course, but breakfast and lunch), I hopped onto the scales and recorded a significant drop in body fat percentage and an increase in muscle mass.
Who would have thought? A simple $10 everyday item could be all that is required to make gains.
Although can I put it down to using scales alone? The jury may be out, I may have simply had a good week at the gym, in the kitchen, and steered clear of
excessive alcohol. However, even if coincidental, weighing out my food is something I will now continue to do. It won’t cause any harm, at least.
For ‘The Internet’, it seems, weighing food for the purpose of accurately tracking calorie intake is one of the go-to fitness hacks. As The Fitness Chef says, “To eyeball food and estimate calories is only applicable to those trained in calorie counting.”
“For the untrained individual seeking fat loss, it may be short sighted to forego accurate tracking of their calorie intake. Obstinate refusal to measure accurate quantities of food may disarm their ability to portion accurate quantities of food that support their goal.”
The Instagram post he captioned this with relates to fat loss, but the same mantra can easily be applied to weight gain too. I’m finally playing with the big boys, then.
My PT started me on a calorie surplus diet of 3,000 calories, has since upped it to 3,500 in the hope I will be putting on real size in no time. I’m going to need to replace the scales’ batteries sooner than anticipated.