Tracking Your Muscle Building Nutrition By Lee Hayward
There is one key element that can literally mean the difference between making steady progress towards your bodybuilding and fitness goals and making no progress at all...
What I'm about to talk about is very simple, and I know you've heard of it before, but chances are you're not applying it as part of your routine.
It is keeping a journal...
Now just to set the record straight, keeping a journal is not just something for giggling schoolgirls to do in their spare time. But it is one of the best tools you have available for tracking your nutrition and finding out where you can make improvements to move yourself closer towards your fitness goals.
Your nutrition journal doesn't have to be anything fancy or complicated, just a simple notebook will do. All you need to do is each day write down what you eat and when you eat it. You can also keep track of other things like your bodyweight, body fat percentage, etc.
Keeping a journal gives you the data you need to figure out if you're eating too much, or too little, eating the right foods, or the wrong foods. You can track patterns in your eating that you might not otherwise notice.
I recently read a study that showed on average, overweight people forgot approx. 50% of what they ate over the past 24 hours. They either forgot it entirely or they underestimated how much food they ate.
And I've also seen the opposite happen with underweight people who are struggling to gain muscular bodyweight, they often 'underestimate' how much they are eating and then wonder why they can't gain weight.
By simply monitoring your food intake with a nutrition journal you'll have more control over your results then people who try to "wing it" with their eating.
For the first week of keeping a nutrition journal I don't want you to change a thing with your eating routine, just write down what you eat and when you eat it. But try to be as specific as possible...
For example, don't just write down for breakfast at 7:00 am I ate "cereal and toast". Write down what kind of cereal, how much, how many slices of toast, what you had on it, etc. and simply do this for each of your meals.
I realize that this will take some effort and it is a bit of a nuisance, but in order to develop a lean muscular physique you are going to have to keep accurate records of your nutrition. Guessing is not good enough.
After doing this for a full week, simply review your nutrition journal and ask yourself:
"Where Can I Improve My Eating To Move Closer Towards My Fitness Goals?"
It could be something as obvious as:
"I shouldn't have eaten that double cheese burger, with large fries, and a DQ Blizzard for lunch yesterday."
Or it could be something less obvious like:
"I need to eat more quality protein with my breakfast."
When you keep an accurate journal of your eating like this it becomes a lot easier to pin point places where you are making mistakes and where you can improve. Just being conscious of what you are eating will automatically cause you to make better food choices.
The key with your eating is to just focus on making improvements. Don't try to be perfect. But do get in the habit of recording your food intake, and then each week review your journal and pick 1 or 2 areas that you are going to focus on over the next week.
Stick with this week after week, and before you know it following a high quality nutrition plan that moves you closer to your physique goals will become automatic, it will just be part of your normal eating pattern.
A great recourse that I use personally when calculating out nutritional information is: http://www.calorieking.com
This website has a search function that allows you to search for virtually any food and instantly get the calories, protein, carbohydrates, fat, etc. You can even enter the portion sizes and it will automatically add up the numbers for you. It is a great tool that will make keeping your nutrition journal a lot easier.
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