So you have decided to go all-in and track your nutrition. You want max results. You are determined to get a plan, track your diet, and hit the correct calorie totals every day. You will also hit the correct % (or come close!). Nothing will stop you!!
But …. what about tracking exercise? If you are on (for instance) a fat shredder diet at 1800 calories, how do you account for the 600 or so calories you burn in a P90X or Insanity workout? Do you put that into your MFP (or similar nutrition tracking app)? Do you eat an extra 600 cals to get back up to a net of 1800 cals? Or do you just eat 1800 total cals and then burn the 600 working out, thus leaving you with 1200 of net calories?
These are all great questions. Most nutrition tracking systems have a section to track your exercise. If you put in your cardio or lifting workout, it will assign calories to that exercise. And if you’ve got your MFP set to 1800 cals, then put in that you did a 600 cal workout, it will tell you that you have 2400 cals to eat for the day to hit your goals. Is this right?
Here’s my approach – I DON’T TRACK EXERCISE ON MY NUTRITION TRACKING APP. Don’t get me wrong, I track my exercise religiously. I write down every rep, every weight, the amount of cals I burned, which moves I want to try and go heavier on next time, how many breaks I took (if any), etc. I track it all. …… BUT …. I track it the old fashioned way, in a 3 ring binder on workout sheets. I also have the P90X iPhone app, and for those who prefer the high tech option, that’s a good choice.
But I DON’T put my exercise into MFP because it messes up the nutrition goals. It’s important to remember that MFP or other nutrition tracking systems are designed with default settings. So when the average Joe goes on a walk, he burns some calories and wants the satisfaction of putting that into his MFP. We are doing a structured workout program, and our nutrition plan is already completely dialed in (or at least it should be!). If you have looked at the nutrition tips/sample diets section, and determined that you will be on an 1800 calorie fat shredder diet, that already assumes that you will be doing the workouts that are part of your program! In other words, the exercise is already factored into the nutrition plan with these workouts.
It will completely throw off your 1800 plan if you type the workouts into MFP and then by default the MFP raises your daily calorie total to 2400. In other words, you will basically be “double counting” your workouts, since your workouts are already assumed in the nutrition plan. You don’t want that! So that’s why I suggest NOT tracking your exercise on your nutrition tracking system. Keep them separate.
There are alternatives, though, if you just want to do it for the heck of it. You can put your workout in, and then remove it (so that it shows on your MFP wall that you did it, but then the calories are not counted). You can customize your workout and put in 0 or 1 calorie just so you can track it without it changing your daily goals. But however you decide to track it, don’t “add back” calories to make up for the calories burned with exercise. You will, in essence, be over-eating for your goals, and thus slowing your results.
I too was mixed on whether or not to track this. I like being able to track the deficit weekly goals and found a way that works for me. I keep MFP set with my cal and ratio goals at 1900 50/3/20 so as i enter food throughout the day i can see where I'm at. Then at the end of the day just before I select 'complete' at the end of the food diary, that is when I input my exercise and the calories burned. By doing this and ignoring the change or bump up that MFP will do; it will still show the correct deficit and that way i get my desired bar graphing reports at the end of the week showing my overall deficit. Its been pretty spot on this round doing so.
hey coach i been doing your 1900 diet but once i do the workout like u said i will end up with 1200 to 1300 cal in my body. am i suppose to eat 2400 calories instead also is good for me to do push ups andf pull ups every day
Hey Eric, definitely don't do pushups and pullups every day. Follow the workout calendar to avoid overtraining and hurting your progress. As for the calorie question, can you re-word it cuz I'm not sure I understand what you are asking. It appears you are asking exactly what my article was meant to answer so now I'm confused!
I added weight to the pushup moves, and obviously I adjusted my dumbbells to add weight to the dumbbell moves as I got stronger.
Hay CW Ok I can see not eating back the Cals if you are trying to lose but if you are trying to gain would you not want to eat the Cals back to have a surplus?
Hey Indians Fan, the surplus is already figured into the original calculations, so just like when running a deficit, if you "eat the cals back" you are really double eating the same cals. The bulking diet already assumes the workouts. So doing the bulking diet plus eating extra to make up for workouts would result in far more surplus than required, and thus body fat gain.
Hey coach. When do you think is an appropriate time to started adding weights to pullups? And what was your rep range while adding weights? One more lol. Did you add any weight to the chest, shoulders and tris routine in your second round?
Hey Justin, on pullups, once you can do 12 or more unassisted per set, go ahead and start adding weight (whatever will put you in the 8 rep range). And yes, go ahead and add weight to pushups as well (although by nature you'll still be able to do far more than 10 pushups even with weight).
Wayne, I have been tracking my nutrition for a good while. I have trouble staying in the fat shredder range (how much tuna can a man handle?) But I manage to stay within my caloric range and usually have about 40% of my calories from protein. My BF% has not changed during my current hybrid round. I have upped the cardio in this one to loose those last few pounds. My weight has been going up here lately. I have gained 6 pounds. My body measurements are basically the same with 1/2" gain in my arms and a 1/4" loss in my chest and waist. My abs are looking better this time around. Any comments on what's up? I have been taking kre-alkalyn. Frustrating.
Hey Greg, sounds like you are adding a bit of muscle (thus the weight gain while maintaining body fat). Don't get frustrated. That's what's supposed to happen on the phase 2 diet. If you want the primary focus to be shedding the fat, be sure you get back to fat shredder % and get on a calorie deficit. There are more sources of protein than just tuna :-). Any lean meats, whey protein, egg whites, and the list goes on and on. And how many calories are you taking in? You shouldn't gain weight on a calorie deficit. I was on about 1900 cals per day on my fat shredder and it worked amazingly well.
@Randy. I had that same issue at first. However, if you have a smartphone, they make an App for MFP for the iPhone and the Android. I use it everyday. AND, I do exactly what you mentioned. I load what I want to eat. I make sure it fits into my goals, and then I adjust slightly if I plateau or need more or less. It isn't difficult. I only enter my food in 3x a day. If you do it each time you eat, you will never forget. Once you have a history, you can see where you're going wrong and fix it. I hope that helps. @Wayne, good article. I agree with it all and now I cancel out my workouts. It is easier than assigning 1 calorie.
Coach Wayne, I also do not track my workouts on MFP. I track them on the P90Xcel spreadsheet. I think you may have that floating around on your site somewhere. My real problem is that I don't really like to track what I eat at all, or at least I can't seem to get into the habit of tracking it and consistently eating healthy. I know this is wrong. I know that I "should" (really must), but I can't seem to get the whole nutrition part down. I really want to eat more healthy, but then I always seem to get off track by going out with the family, or get peer pressured into a lunch event. I have "improved" my eating habits, but I know I am most likely ingesting more calories and improper ratios of macronutrients. I have recently logged into MFP and tracked for a few days in a row, but then I missed about 3 days and it snowballs. Perhaps it would be better if I planned my meals in advance and logged them and only ate what was allowed for the day according to the MFP log. How did you get accustomed to being so rigid with your nutrition tracking after years of bad habits and no tracking? I've read that if you do something for a certain amount of time (17-21 days?) it becomes a habit, but I am struggling with getting past a full 3-5 days. Anyway, I'll keep plugging away. Oh, and in other good news, I am on my second week of P90x. (I have started P90x numerous times, but never completed it.) I intend to complete all 90 days even if I can't get the nutrition tracking down 100%. I think it's best to remain committed to the exercise program and continue working on improving my nutrition. I would like to get this nutrition tracking down so that I can achieve greater results! Thanks for the site! I am very excited that I have at least been consitent with the workouts. I know that this can be done!
Hey Randy, there is no secret formula other than making a commitment and sticking to it whether you feel like it or not. You know all the answers. You know how to do it right. You just have to decide if you are serious about making the change. I hope you will!
Nathan, go outside and play with your friends buddy! You are 11! I am glad you are conscientious about your health. Everyone of all ages should be. But I don't think it's good for kids to be obsessed with dieting and spending all their time studying internet fitness sites. Don't eat cookies. Eat fruit and veggies. Don't eat burgers. Eat chicken and fish. You know that buddy. BUT STOP THE OBSESSION WITH DIETING. YOU ARE 11!!!!!! Get outside, be active, be a healthy kid! 'nuff said.
Im sorry my comment above is really confusing. Could you just make a post of what you ate daily for p90x2. I know this is a LOT to ask but it would help so much. I really hope you can do this because i don't get the nutrition guide at all so i'm just going to do the p90x diet guide for X2 unless i get help. Pleeeeeease:).
Hey Nathan, first of all, I thought we had already discussed nutrition a lot. You are 11, and I don't recommend a fat shredder diet for an 11 year old. Eat healthy -- YES! But BE A KID! Don't be on a rigorous diet at age 11!!! And secondly, just add me on MFP. You can see everything I've eaten for the past 3 months LOL!
Coach, i find the new P90X2 nutrition guide to be very confusing. I don't know what to add every week and now it seems that all of my meals are a lot smaller because it doesn't list everything they need exactly to eat that day. I'm only on day 1 and this is very very very very very very very confusing. I was wondering if i could just add some healthy (and foods according to my phase. Fat Shredder- low fat cottage cheese etc.) foods to eat some more. Does the nutrition plan ever get easier because right now i just don't get it at all.
Nathan, the link to my Teamripped FB page is just to your right of the screen. The big button that says "join us on Facebook" :-)
hey coach, can you give me the link to your Facebook page (not yours personally but teamRipped's). Thank you.
JR, I'm on a daily medication that has a side effect of gaining weight. The medication makes you crave carbs and sweets especially at night, even while sleeping. If you wake up to go to the bathroom you want to eat carbs. I used to wake up and eat milk and cookies at least once during the night if not twice or 3 times! Yes, double stuff and milk all night long! I'm 14 days into my first round of P90X and following coach Wayne's nutrition advice and I'm down 11 pounds. I too was concerned how the medication would effect my metabolism but if you are running a strict calorie deficit you should lose weight. I am curious to know how much my progress will slow as I get closer to my ideal weight and I'm sure the medication effects my metabolism to some degree.
i use teambeachbody's supergym to track the workouts i've done. the supergym could use several improvements for refining your calendar, but it gets the job done. i also do not subtract workout calories. my (personal) MFP tracking has lots of room for improvement. there's a big red dot on my calendar in December now which is motivating me. a cruise. i'm finishing up this hybrid round in june then doing pure p90x2. i'm getting burnt out on p90x. don't get me wrong, it's tough. just need that x2. for now i'm sticking to my schedule though.
coach, i started purple wrath this morning, 1 scoop in water, drink it thgroughout workout, correct? and my container says 0 calories.. i thought i saw u track it at 30 calories...?? and how do u like dynatimize protein compared to wheybolic extreme 60? i know u used to use that, i use wheybolic now. thanks
Hey Mike, yes, that's how I use it. I track it at 27 cals or whatever because even though it says 0 cals on the container, BCAA's are really protein, and 1 scoop has about 7 grams of BCAA's (thus 7g of protein). So technically, even though it doesn't have to report any cals since it has no sugar or carbs, the BCAA's do have calories in the true sense. So I am anal and choose to track it LOL. And I'm liking the dymatize. I've been using it for a few months now and plan to continue.
I put in whatever calories I burn but I never look at "net." I just look at TOTAL and I know that I am eating 2900 calories and that's it regardless of what the app says. As long as you know that, it's ok to log them in.
Hey Wayne, remember the post you did called Reps/Weight I Use? Could you make another one of those, but show the data from your P90X2 workout sheets?
Also, you said in one of your articles that you stopped watching TV and that helped you a lot, well I stopped watching it too, but I spend WAAAY too much time on the laptop, on facebook, twitter and on watching series online. How do I control that ?? it takes most of the time of my day. I am not making up excuses, I work out daily, but I want to get the most oout of my day, I want to achieve in sports and education, and I want to cause real change.
Hey Coach. I have noticed how you said that getting in shape and becoming a coach helped you learn how to organize your time and manage it, how to get the most out of your day. I am looking for an article or advice about TIME MANAGEMENT or how to get the most of my day or how to divide it up ?? Can you help me out ?
Hey Khaled, I have posted about "my schedule" and that is probably what you are referring to = http://teamripped.com/my-schedule How do you control the fact that you "spend WAAAY too much time on facebook, twitter, and watching TV on the computer"?? TURN IT OFF! Set a time limit and stick to it. It's no different than discipline in any other area of life. Make a plan. Set limits. And stick to it! Hope that helps man!
I have always kept track of my workouts in MFP but I ignore the extra cals it adds. I only eat what I had planned for and don't add for the workout. :). Good post coach
Oh ok I just don't want to overtrain my body and slow down my results. As part of the Army we do our own "PT" (light) + plus Army training (combatives, ruck march, etc.) so that's the reason I was asking. But ok I'll listen to my body. Thanks again Coach and great article!
Coach, Silly question,ive been doing abit of reading into P90x2 as im on month 2 of my 3rd p90x round and thinking out trying it out. Now my question is relates to the fact i noticed thats the phases say 3 to 6 weeks,is that so you can do extra 3 weeks on a weaker area??? Sorry for my noobness
Yes Laurent, exactly! You can spend the amount of time in each phase that you feel you need. I've written more about that in the article "X2 Guidebooks" so check that out!
a great way that I have been tracking my workouts has been thru a website (and app) called fitocracy. treats it like a game, kinda an interesting way to add a level of motivation.
Good point, I guess I'll have to drill him to see if he's being honest. Especially with himself. Thank you for your response Dr. Wyatt.
Thanks Wayne. I'm just upset that I didn't catch this much earlier and I now realize I have been doing this wrong for 60 days :( I didn't want to believe I was wrong lol!! I still have good results, but likely could have been better. Going to finish it up right and next round will be even better! Being 5'11" i'm going to try 1900 cal a day and see how that goes. No more eating part of my calories burned! Thanks
You've got it Chris! Don't worry about it. Give these final 30 days your best and you'll still do awesome!
Hey Wayne, A little off subject, but how do u know how many calories you burn when you say that you log it for each workout? Do you wear a HR monitor? If so, what kind and how accurate is that? Thanks in advanced
Hey Ryan, yes, I've worn a HRM for every single workout a few times and have a list of what I burn on each (typically). I no longer wear a HRM on lift days, but I still always wear one on cardio days to be sure I'm pushing myself as hard as I know I can. I have an Ironman Road Trainer, and I've written a review on it (albeit it was from a while back, but it gives a good review) in the article "My new toy - HRM".
Coach, Maybe i'm completely dense here and not catching the point...but the part where you say "Do you eat an extra 600 cals to get back up to a net of 1800 cals? Or do you just eat 1800 total cals and then burn the 600 working out, thus leaving you with 1200 of net calories?" I guess i'm looking for the answer to this part. If in fact my calorie requirement is 1800 and burn 600, 1200 net seams awfully low. When you were on your 1900 cal diet, did you eat only 1900 all day, burn 600ish and net 1300? I'm guessing that this is what you did. Please help clarify!! :)
Exactly Chris. I ate 1900 total calories per day. I thought I DID go on to explain the answer to that question in the subsequent paragraphs.
Hi doc, My buddy at work is just about done with his 1st round of P90X. However he's extremely frustrated. He's going through a bitter divorce and was prescribed Pristiq to help him cope with his depression prior to starting the program. It has held on to his weight, the scale hasn't budged and has noticed little results. He's toyed with his calorie deficit back and forth. He's seeing a nutritionist for help and is following the fat shredder diet to the smallest detail. All of this has actually worsened his depression and is on the verge of giving up the program. Knowing that antidepressants are notorious for weight gain. Is there any advice I can give him to aide in his fitness goals so he can see the results he wants while continuing his therapy? Thank you sir : )
Hey JR, are you sure he's sticking to a calorie deficit fat shredder without cheating? I'm not very familiar with how an antidepressant affects metabolism, but unless the medication actually slows his metabolism way down, it shouldn't affect his daily caloric requirements. I suppose his nutritionist and doc will know a lot more about how the medication affects his metabolism. But if it's affecting his appetite (thus causing him to cheat on the diet) that would make more sense to me. Because we all know cheating will crush results.
Good article Wayne. I too find it confusing to track my workout on MFP so I track it like you, using good old fashion pen and paper. Keep pushing play!