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  1. #1
    Registered User Forever20Plus3's Avatar
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    Do you count your calories?

    I started a fairly intensive training program when I was 19' and I stated counting calories then, mainly to get enough nutrients, grams of protein, and carbs, as well as calories, in order to build muscle (I've always been on the thinner side). I'm now 23 and I'll eat out socially a few times a month for work, and I'll grab other things while I'm out, namely healthful options, like chicken or salmon salads. I haven't gained weight, I've gotten God at eyeing portions, but, I'm wondering if it's still necessary to count calories at this age or if it becomes obsessive.
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  2. #2
    Registered User SubWooferCooker's Avatar
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    No, it takes far too time and effort for my liking plus i suck at maths no way i am counting every calorie every single day, sod that, i let myfitnesspal do all the counting for me much much easier.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Bean100's Avatar
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    I don't think it's necessary unless you have specific weight goals in mind. But the average, healthy person doesn't count calories. They eat when their body is hungry, stop when their full, and enjoy a variety of food which includes treats/lower quality nutrients.
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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Counting calories is great for troubleshooting purposes if you are not progressing as you wish to without counting. If you are happy with how things are going and you are not counting calories then there is no need to start.

    I keep a running general total in my head throughout the day personally. Sometimes I'll track back and calculate everything rigorously at the end of the day if I'm curious for some reason.
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  5. #5
    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Not anymore, no. I know enough about food and nutrition to never track again... but it's a new thing for me. I became obsessed and and now trying to recover.
    The power of carbs compels me!
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  6. #6
    Registered User DougyF7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SubWooferCooker View Post
    No, it takes far too time and effort for my liking plus i suck at maths no way i am counting every calorie every single day, sod that, i let myfitnesspal do all the counting for me much much easier.
    haha
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  7. #7
    Registered User juggernaut74ia's Avatar
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    I did when I started, but I don't specifically track them any more. I've gained enough insight over the last 4-5 years that I feel like I have a pretty good feel for how many calories, how much protein, etc I am eating at any given time.

    That said, if my results ever start deviating significantly from what I think they should be, I'll be right back on the counting train again.
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  8. #8
    Registered User DougyF7's Avatar
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    I've been counting for the past year and I think it's definitely been helpful and insightful to me. It's also pretty easy and takes me almost no time. However, I'm thinking about taking a break from it soon though and just eating intuitively. I'm not sure I see it as a long term solution so I don't want it to turn into something I rely on. I've gotten into great shape earlier in my life without counting calories so I know it's possible without it. I think it's most beneficial when trying to cut down body fat to low numbers so maybe i can use it as a tool down the line say before summer starts or something like that.
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  9. #9
    Registered User rydin4life's Avatar
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    I was morbidly obese for a long time and initially dropped weight going to Weight Watchers. After stopping that program, I just ate sensibly and put on about 35 pounds over the course 6-7 years. While that's certainly not horrible and could have been worse, I'm back to counting calories and lost those 35 pounds, plus 30 more. I'll definitely keep to tracking calories for the foreseeable future, and if I do stop, I'll keep a good eye on my weight as to not let it get out of hand.
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  10. #10
    Registered User Oatmealman99's Avatar
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    I don't track my calories or weight due to obsessive issues.
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  11. #11
    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Oatmealman99 View Post
    I don't track my calories or weight due to obsessive issues.
    Same. For people without obsessive tendencies I'm sure it can work... but for me, any lean in the direction of control, for now, seems to cause too much temptation. No food scale for me.. no counting..
    The power of carbs compels me!
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  12. #12
    Banned splattenburgers's Avatar
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    It's impossible not to. I have made a few attempts at not counting calories and every time I start gaining weight again. It's so easy to eat too much by accident that if you want to control your weight you have to do it.
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  13. #13
    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by splattenburgers View Post
    It's impossible for me not to. I have made a few attempts at not counting calories and every time I start gaining weight again. It's so easy for me to eat too much by accident that if I personally want to control my weight I have to do it.

    fixed
    The power of carbs compels me!
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  14. #14
    Bootless Errand ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Forever20Plus3 View Post
    I started a fairly intensive training program when I was 19' and I stated counting calories then, mainly to get enough nutrients, grams of protein, and carbs, as well as calories, in order to build muscle (I've always been on the thinner side). I'm now 23 and I'll eat out socially a few times a month for work, and I'll grab other things while I'm out, namely healthful options, like chicken or salmon salads. I haven't gained weight, I've gotten God at eyeing portions, but, I'm wondering if it's still necessary to count calories at this age or if it becomes obsessive.
    Any activity can become obsessive for someone with OCD tendencies; counting/tracking calorie intake is no exception. If you are able to reach your particular goal without doing so, then continue to do whatever you're currently doing. If that's not the case, and you can't make progress, you need to evaluate what it is you're trying to accomplish, and exactly what it is you need to do to get there.


    I count my calories and macros, and have been doing so for years because as hard as I work in the gym, I don't intend to leave such an important part of making progress up to guesswork. As in all things bodybuilding-related, YMMV.
    No brain, no gain.

    You can't out-train bad nutrition.

    Where the mind goes, the body follows.

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  15. #15
    Registered Idiot AlexTheNewbie's Avatar
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    Started over a month ago with myfitnesspal and tracked very accurately! I made more progress than the past half year lol. I'll never stop counting.
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  16. #16
    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AlexTheNewbie View Post
    Started over a month ago with myfitnesspal and tracked very accurately! I made more progress than the past half year lol. I'll never stop counting.
    So when you're 90 years old you're going to pop open MFP to measure your grape nuts? SMH...
    The power of carbs compels me!
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  17. #17
    Registered Idiot AlexTheNewbie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    So when you're 90 years old you're going to pop open MFP to measure your grape nuts? SMH...
    Of course mate! I'm in it for the loong run. I'll be that jacked grandpa at the park looking damn good in fit clothing.

    Just kidding. As long as I lift, I'm pretty sure I will count macros.
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  18. #18
    Banned JacobVR's Avatar
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    absolutelly agreed with Bean100
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  19. #19
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    Yes and No. I used to pretty accurately but once school started I has absolutely no for it. However, I do find it important to keep an eye on the rough amount your intaking on a daily basis to make optimal progress. So, I kind of just guesstimate everything i eat, make sure I'm somewhere slightly above my maintenance and move on.

    You'll do fine just giving estimates and moving on OP, you not a pro bodybuilder gearing up for your next NPC show.
    My log:
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=169888683&p=1429732191#post1429732191

    5'10 137lbs
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  20. #20
    Registered User Beau168's Avatar
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    Over a year I've got used to eye balling macros pretty well, and even if I'm off, it doesn't matter. Once you establish a point of maintenance calories working with the weight/scale, it's easy to then work upwards or downwards off that based on what you eat. Most people eat the same kind of foods on a daily/weekly bases so it doesn't take long to establish some kind of starting point.

    Personally I just don't have the time, mind or patience to track macros that sharply. Kudos to those who do.
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  21. #21
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    Other than protein, I don't really track.

    If performance suffers, or I've missed a few days of eating. (or during a cut) I'll track.
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  22. #22
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    I totally track my calories and it works great
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  23. #23
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    There's an interesting dichotomy going on in this forum.

    On one hand, threads providing links to studies done on various nutrition topics showing miniscule, if any, difference in real-world results are constantly posted, and such threads usually run several pages as many posters weigh in on those study results and their implications. Many such threads get resurrected on a regular basis as new and even old regulars point to those studies, and further discussion attaching importance to such minor details is often mentioned.


    Then on the other hand, there is a fairly regularly expressed sentiment here that trainees need not bother to tightly track their calories and macros, or even to not track them at all, but rather to just 'estimate' one's intake.








    Just an observation of a trend I've noticed in this forum, mostly in this past year or so.


    Carry on.....................
    No brain, no gain.

    You can't out-train bad nutrition.

    Where the mind goes, the body follows.

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  24. #24
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    Originally Posted by ironwill2008 View Post
    I count my calories and macros, and have been doing so for years because as hard as I work in the gym, I don't intend to leave such an important part of making progress up to guesswork. As in all things bodybuilding-related, YMMV.
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  25. #25
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    Yes - to within maybe +/- 200 calories. Given my belief that recomping is a worthwhile thing to try doing, it seems logical that you could be in an even higher range of numbers and still make progress towards body composition goals (maybe -500 to +300)

    I take about 2 minutes per day to plan this on a spreadsheet

    Protein and dietary fat are high enough based on my usual food choices (although this is something I have made sure to check in the past)
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    Originally Posted by ironwill2008 View Post
    Just an observation of a trend I've noticed in this forum, mostly in this past year or so.
    Great observation and worthy of its own thread, I believe. I've noticed this as well. Also, when people discuss the studies they generally talk about the average values determined and rarely comment on the individual variability seen within the studies.
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    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ironwill2008 View Post
    There's an interesting dichotomy going on in this forum.

    On one hand, threads providing links to studies done on various nutrition topics showing miniscule, if any, difference in real-world results are constantly posted, and such threads usually run several pages as many posters weigh in on those study results and their implications. Many such threads get resurrected on a regular basis as new and even old regulars point to those studies, and further discussion attaching importance to such minor details is often mentioned.

    Then on the other hand, there is a fairly regularly expressed sentiment here that trainees need not bother to tightly track their calories and macros, or even to not track them at all, but rather to just 'estimate' one's intake.

    Just an observation of a trend I've noticed in this forum, mostly in this past year or so.

    Carry on.....................
    I think it also depends on how varied your diet is though. Personally, I know what a cup of oatmeal contains, how much whole wheat bread contains, what an average banana contains, etc. So, if I adhere to common foods that I'm familiar with 90% of the time, any small variance wouldn't cause a significant shift in either direction.

    This is, however, moreso the case if you're trying to gain mass and you at least monitor (visually or on the scale) your bodyweight/composition over time. Drastic changes aren't just going to happen overnight.

    Additionally, because the weighing of foods and their nutrition ALSO has an accepted margin of error, even if you 'track' you're still dealing with averages. A cup of oats from one grower/plant might have 10% or so variance in one direction, etc. So again, regardless of whether you track, you're still just guessing... you're just using the scale to set the measurement instead of your eyes or a measuring cup.. but the margin for error is there.

    That is why, in my opinion, the amount of mental focus and planning it takes to enter foods, pack meals based on a preset structure, just isn't worth it... at least if we're talking about weighing everything out to the gram. Ballparking, in my opinion, is totally normal. I'm sure tracking/weighing isn't as exhausting to people who don't have other mental control issues around food, but I still liken it to other aspects of life where, really, the goal is to master the science/art of your skill and then not have to refer back to the text book unless you're dealing with a specific case.

    For example, most doctors don't have to consult their desk reference for every single patient; they make judgement calls based on their experience, their memory, etc. Sometimes, though, they are confronted with situations that require a detailed reference because it's impossible to even ballpark on their own.. that is how I see tracking food/calories for most people... So If you've been tracking for years and you know what common foods contain, I imagine you should be able to remember what you've eaten, make general calls about 'good' vs 'bad' choices, and once in a while (for specific situations) go ahead and track, like if you're going out to eat and you really want to maintain a calorie level but have no idea where to start.

    Cutting, however, depending on the need for the cut (ie - are you obese or are you trying to cut down for a show?) will likely benefit from tracking more meticulously as you lean out because you'll need to maximize your energy levels and maintain as much mass as possible.

    But, and this is just my opinion, the vast majority of people should be able to get down to 10% bodyfat or so if they've been tracking foods for years and understand how to respond to hunger and performance issues. Newbies are different, but that's why it's good for everyone to track temporarily until they get the hang of it.
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    It depends how much discipline I need for my goals. Like you said, once you've been doing this long enough you can look at food and know how many calories are there. I count sporadically just to double check myself.

    I only count religiously if I'm prepping for a show.
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