What’s your game plan for today?
What are you going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? If you’re going to the gym, which exercises are you going to do, how much are you going to lift, and how many times are you going to lift it? Have a plan sucka!
I know in my experience, when I keep track of things (both with my diet and my exercises), I see better results and I’m pretty damn sure this isn’t a coincidence. Tyler of 344pounds.com (who I interviewed here), lost 4.5 pounds last week after only losing 2 pounds in the previous month. His theory on what happened:
“The week I resume counting calories is the same week I reach well into the 220s. Coincidence? I think not. I’ve been counting calories for the last few days and have had an extremely clean diet (because of it?).”
I will bet a million bucks (if I had a million bucks) that there is a direct correlation between Tyler’s weight loss success and his decision to keep track of everything he ate. Why does this happen? You suddenly feel more responsible and accountable for what you put in your mouth. It hurts when you have to write down 4 Krispie Kreme donuts, 3 snickers, two big macs, and an entire bag of double stuf Oreos.
Write down what you’re doing! If you’ve read my “3 important equations for fitness” article, you know that a 500 calorie daily deficit will result in a 1-pound weight loss per week. Keep track of what you eat with a site like Daily Burn (free account): as you input your food, it keeps track of how many carbs, grams of protein, and grams of fat you’ve consumed. Once you put in your height, weight, and goal weight, it can even tell you how many calories (approximately) you should be eating and when you’ll hit your target.
Daily Burn has certainly helped me get much better results when I track my food intake; I recommend you do the same. It’s free, easy, and they even have an iPhone app that is supposedly pretty sweet (anybody tried the app yet?)
I’d guess less than a third of the people in a gym have any idea what they’re doing or what their goals are. They wander around like schmoes, picking various machines and doing a quick set or walking in and doing what they always do with the same few things at the same level of resistance.
Remember: “appearance is a consequence of fitness.” Every time you walk in that gym, you should know exactly what to expect out of your body. If you could squat 185, try for 190 today. If you did 5 pull ups, go for 6. If you walk/jogged a mile in 11 minutes, go for 10:50 this time. When you keep track of everything you’ve done, you know exactly what you need to accomplish the next time you’re in the gym. When you’re struggling with that last pull up or push up and you know just one more is a personal best, I guarantee you’re going to bust your ass to get there. Secondly, when you have that game plan you don’t waste time in there; you know what you need to do, you do it, and then you get the hell out of there.
I have to recommend Daily Burn to keep track of your workouts as well. You can input your exact exercises, routines, sets, reps, and total weight. It tracks them so you know what you did last time. I’m on Daily Burn (and I’ll admit, I’ve been slacking on tracking things and I DEFINITELY know I haven’t been getting the most out of my diet or workout because of it).
- If you don’t have an iPhone, take a piece of paper and pen with you to the gym. Write down exactly what you did, and then put it into Daily Burn when you get home. I’ve tried to remember everything and it always gets lost in the shuffle by the end of the routine. Write it down, then type it in.
- I’ve found that the Daily Burn doesn’t line up exactly with a Paleo Diet (if that’s your thing) when it comes to their recommendation of calories and nutrients. Luckily, they allow you to easily adjust your percentages of carbs, proteins, and fats.
- If you’ve never kept track of your food, try it for a week. Make it a habit by adding it to your bookmark tool bar and simply typing in your food every time you eat it. I’d guess most of you have desk jobs so this shouldn’t be too difficult. You’ll be surprised at your results simply by keeping track of your food. It’s a pain in the ass, sure. But it absolutely works.
Be my gym buddy on Daily Burn – we can keep each other accountable.