Why Protein is the Only Macronutrient I Bother Counting

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Don’t Become a Neurotic Food Weigher

Too many books written, too many debates fought, too much time wasted arguing about the most ideal amount/percentage of macronutrients and calories to achieve the most optimal natural muscle growth. For me personally, if I had to count and weigh all the food I consume on a daily basis, I would literally go insane and become clinically OCD about it.

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I only weigh cows

I think it makes sense for somebody starting out on a new way of eating to know what they are eating by weighing/counting their food. When I first started with this whole nutrition and fitness stuff back in early 2012, I would track my calories and macros in the MyFitness Pal App. However, once you have done that for a few weeks, you will quickly get a hang of what macros and calories are contained in the foods that you eat.

Once you are at the point where you have learned to correctly estimate your macros, I don’t see any reason why you would want to mentally stress yourself with weighing and counting foods.

Nevertheless, to this day the only macronutrient I bother counting is protein. I am not going crazy bonkers on my protein consumption by shooting for 300 grams of protein per day. I haven’t read a lot of research on what protein intake is most optimal for muscle growth – I let others do it for me HERE. Paul Carter has gone through a lot of published literature on what the most optimal protein intake is and has repeatedly found a common thread in many studies which he concludes as follows:

    • Most of the benefits of protein top out at around 2.2 – 2.5 grams per kilo of bodyweight.  For Americans that’s the standard of about 1 gram per pound of bodyweight, or just slightly more.

    • If you’re dieting you may need a little more than this.  Perhaps 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight.

 

My Protein Intake Formula

There you have it! It doesn’t have to be all so complicated. I am sticking to the following protein consumption formula:

0.75 g protein per pound of bodyweight

0.75 g x 192 lbs = 145 g protein/day

Based on this daily protein goal I want to hit, I will track my protein intake on a weekly basis. I started this practice back in November 2014, and below you can see my protein intake during the first week:

  • Monday: 160 g (+15 g)

  • Tuesday: 100 g (-45 g)

  • Wednesday: 80 g (-65 g)

  • Thursday: 210 g (+65 g)

  • Friday: 250 g (+105 g)

  • Saturday: 185 g (+40 g)

  • Sunday: 160 g (+15 g)

You can see that when I started out with this habit I didn’t always hit my goal. These days, there is hardly a day I fail at this because it has become a natural daily habit. I don’t do this tracking every week but I will do it every other week to make sure I am being consistent and hitting my protein goal I have set for myself.

Don’t fall into the trap of becoming neurotic about counting and weighing your food. Instead, do it for a weeks to reinforce the new habit. After that, being consistent 80% of the time will give you the bangest bang for your buck.

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  • Arthur

    I actually find typing a few digits on my smartphone less stressing than mentally calculate how many calories I’m roughly eating.

    Plus, there’s one thing on MFP that I like very much: it counts how many consecutive days I logged my food. This is somewhat motivating.