Now that you are familiar with macro counting, in this podcast episode I am going to talk about the equipment needed to start macro counting. Moreover, you don't need to worry about spending a lot, because the products that I recommended and discussed here will definitely be worth your time and money. Let's dive in!
- Review of MacrosFirst App: A Comprehensive Look at its Features and Benefits (06:51)
- “The Benefits of Using MacrosFirst for Tracking Macros” (07:49)
- Exploring the Benefits of Using MacrosFirst for Tracking Nutrition (10:11)
- “The Necessities for Counting Macros: A Digital Kitchen Scale and a Tracking App” (11:53)
- Using Kitchen Scales to Count Macros: A Guide to Accuracy and Efficiency (13:41)
- Digital Kitchen Scales: Understanding the Benefits of Weighing in Grams vs. Ounces (15:00)
- Equipment Necessary for Macro Counting: A Guide to Tracking Your Nutrition (16:47)
- Measuring Progress: Using Scales and Electric Measuring Tapes (22:28)
- Overview of Equipment Needed for Macro Counting (24:09)
- How to Make Adjustments to Your Nutrition and Exercise Plan for Optimal Results (25:42)
Best Food Scale: bicepsafterbabies.com/foodscale1
Best Value Food Scale: bicepsafterbabies.com/foodscale2
Renpho Scale: https://amzn.to/3Rjhs1R
Best Value Scale: https://amzn.to/3wQ1EtL
Renpho Measuring Tape: https://amzn.to/3jigOVB
Best Value Measuring Tape: https://amzn.to/3XRu6HT
Macro Tracking App: macrosfirst.com
Why I Recommend MacrosFirst here
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio Episode 267.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PR's. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife and mom of four. Each week my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise, mindset, personal development and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in. Now, let's jump into today's episode.
Hey, hey, hey. Welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, and today's podcast episode is for those of you who are just getting started counting macros and wanting to answer the question, what equipment do I need? What are the things that I need to go out and purchase? What are the requirements? What are things that I have to have? And then maybe, what are some of the things that might be nice or would be helpful to have? Now, if you've been counting macros for a period of time, you may still find this podcast episode helpful because I may mention some products that you didn't know about or that could make things a little bit easier for you. And I also want to let you know right away that I will be talking about some specific products and I have some specific product recommendations and I will link all of those up in the show notes for this episode. So if you go to bicepsafterbabies.com/267 just the episode number, so it's bicepsafterbabies.com/267, then I will have all of the product recommendations that I'm going to talk about on this episode, link there to make it really easy for you to go and purchase if that's what you decide you want to do.
A review of macro counting 02:01
Okay, so just briefly, what the heck is macro counting and why do we even need any equipment for it? I have a lot of podcast episodes that talk about macro counting. If you're brand new to macro counting, the best episode I recommend for you is episode 181. That's going to be the very first episode I recommend that you listen to because it goes an overview of what macro counting is, why it's valuable, and why it can be a game changer when it comes to hitting the physical goals that you've set for yourself. I also talked in last podcast, episode 266, about the four phases. I dive deeply into this topic that I feel very passionate about, about this idea that macro counting is not just about weight loss, but really it's a tool to be able to align your nutrition, the foods that you're eating with the goals that you want to set. We all know that nutrition plays into our physical performance, our physical aesthetic, everything that our body does, our nutrition contributes to that. And when we are more intentional about our nutrition and making sure that the food that we're putting into our body actually is supporting those goals, we're going to get better results and better outcomes. And that's what macro counting, the tool of macro counting allows you to be able to do and how it allows you to be able to get better results when it comes to whatever physical goals you have set for yourself. And that includes weight loss and fat loss. I make that distinction because weight loss and fat loss are not the same thing. But a lot of you guys say, I want to lose weight, what you really mean is I want to lose fat. So macro counting can be really helpful for losing fat, but it also can be really helpful for gaining muscle or improving your performance, or improving your relationship with food, getting away from binging and restricting. There's a lot of ways that macro counting can support the physical goals that you have set for yourself. So when you get started with macro counting, though, there's a couple of first steps that you need to go through in order to start to utilize this tool. And I go over a lot of those steps in episode 181. So again, if you're brand new here or if you're brand new to macro counting, I highly recommend you go and listen to that podcast episode because I give you a full rundown of how to get started with macro counting. But one of the things I didn't include in that episode that I wanted to create another episode about was some of the equipment. And this is often a question that I get because, you know, people know that there's probably things that are going to make their lives a little bit easier when it comes to the equipment that they need to get when we start to track and count macros. And so I wanted to record a podcast episode to kind of go through that equipment, what I feel like is absolutely necessary and you absolutely need. And then some of the equipment that I have found has made my clients lives a little bit easier, a little bit better. And you will see as we go through this that there actually isn't a ton of equipment that you really need when it comes to macro counting, the investment that you're going to have to make is very low. I actually think that you could get started for less than $40. So I'm going to link some products that are more than that because they're some of the products that my clients love. But if you're on a budget and you're just wanting to do this the cheapest way possible, you can absolutely get started for less than $40. And I'm going to tell you how to do that.
First Equipment: a Tracking App – MyFitnessPal vs MacrosFirst 05:11
Okay, so what is some of the equipment that are like, a must have, that are absolutely necessary? The first one is going to be a tracking app. And the cool thing about tracking apps is that, you know, MyFitnessPal I think, was kind of the first tracking app out there. And a lot of other tracking apps have been kind of trying to play catch up and get into the industry and kind of trying to take a chunk of the industry from MyFitnessPal. And I've used MyFitnessPal for years. In fact, it was the app that I recommended for a really long time to all of my clients. It had like the most robust database and the free version was pretty robust and you could do a lot with the free version. That all changed in October, because in October, MyFitnessPal came out and said, hey, we're going to take away the ability to scan barcode labels from the free version from MyFitnessPal. And that was a big deal. Scanning the barcode of an item and having it pre populate with the macros for that item saved me a lot of time. And knowing that that was going to now be behind a paywall and people were going to be required to pay for that feature and have a premium version if they wanted that feature made me go and start to search around and test out a ton of different apps to see if I could find the one that I was going to start to recommend to my clients because I wanted to be able to recommend an app to my clients that was free and that had all the features that they really needed to be successful in the free version. Because I know a lot of people don't want to pay any more money when they're starting on their fitness journey. So I was really aware of that and I did a lot of research. I downloaded a ton of apps. I had my team download a ton of apps and we just played around with them. We tested them out and we tracked in them and we tried to figure out which one I was going to recommend and there was a clear winner. And if you follow me on Instagram, you've seen me talk about it, but the winner that came out of that was absolutely MacrosFirst.
The Benefits of Using MacrosFirst for Tracking Macros 04:14
And I am in no way sponsored by them. They're not paying me to say any of this. I just really loved their app. It was clean, it was easy to use. The barcode scanner was free. There's an ability to create recipes. I feel like their interface is actually even easier to use than MyFitnessPal. One of the most complicated things about MyFitnessPal is that, yes, the database is really, really large, but that also became really confusing for people. Because if you would search for, let's say, chicken breasts, there would be like 20 options for different chicken breasts to choose. And that became really confusing for people. And it's a lot more streamlined with MacrosFirst. The other thing that I really loved about MacrosFirst, that actually MyFitnessPal does not even have is there's there's two big features. One is the ability to if you scan a barcode and they don't have that barcode in their database, there's a really awesome feature that they allow you to use your phone camera and scan the nutritional label, right, so you just like, basically like, take a video of the nutritional label and their AI will pull out the nutritional information, it will pull up the calories and the macros and it will pre populate it into the fields. Super, super cool. I love that feature. It has a lot of barcodes in its database, but if it doesn't, that feature that it allows you to, like, take a video of it is is awesome. The second thing that I really love is that they allow a much easier conversion between the serving size and the macros. So in my fitness pal you could log. Let's say you ate two servings of something. Or let's take, like, turkey breasts, for example. Let's say you ate 2 slices of turkey breast and you know that populates the macros but you're looking at it and you're like, oh, dang, that's only 7g of protein and I actually need to get 20g of protein. So how am I going to do that? The really cool thing about MacrosFirst is that you can actually tap the protein. You can change that 7 to a 20. And MacrosFirst will reverse engineer and tell you how many servings you need to eat to hit that 20g of protein. And this is super awesome when you're building out your day and trying to hit your macro numbers to be able to say, hey, I just want to eat enough turkey to be able to hit 20g of protein. How much turkey do I need to eat to hit that? You can put that in and it will reverse engineer that and tell you how many servings you need to be able to get that. That's freaking cool. That's super helpful when it comes to tracking macros. So I know this sounds like a paid advertisement for MacrosFirst, I assure you I wish they were giving me money. Will you please give me money MacrosFirst? They're not. I just, I really love their app. I think the user interface is just great. Most of the features are free. You can absolutely get by on the free version of MacrosFirst. And I just think it's a really, really quality product. And we've even moved all of our recipes that we give our clients and that I have on my website. We've moved it into MacrosFirst. So they're in the MacrosFirst database and you can log that. And I know for a fact that a lot of you guys follow Elise, Alice and Lily and some of the other big names in the macro counting world. And I know for a fact that all of them have also moved their recipes over to MacrosFirst. So anyway, that's a really long story to tell you about the app that I recommend, but that is absolutely my recommendation is, don't mess around with MyFitnessPal. Go straight to MacrosFirst. It's free and it is incredibly robust.
All right, so you need a tracking app. Why do you need a tracking app? Because that is a much easier way to keep track of how many calories and how many carbs, fat and protein that you've eaten throughout the day than it is to try and log it in like a book, like a notebook. Funny story like, I actually remember I told this story a couple of episodes ago back when I was trying to lose weight back in college. I actually remember having like a notebook and writing down my food and how many calories it was and then adding it up throughout the day. I guess you could do that. It's going to be a whole lot more work and you might as well let a computer, like, add up all those numbers for you. And so when you have a tracking app and you're able to log your food and say, hey, I ate one apple, or I ate three slices of turkey or I ate an enchilada or whatever, you're able to actually log that into the tracking app. It's able to calculate the carbs, fat and protein for you. It's able to add those up over the day, tell you how many you have left to be able to eat. It just makes macro counting so, so much easier to have a tracking app to be able to do all those things for you. So a tracking app is absolutely a necessity and it doesn't cost any money, so it's completely free.
Second Equipment: a Digital Kitchen Scale 12:01
All right, the next thing that is mostly a necessity. I would say you can get by without this, but it's like $15 investment, and so I think it's completely worth it. And that is a digital kitchen scale. So can you use teaspoons and tablespoons and measuring cups and count macros? Absolutely, 100%. So if the idea of getting and weighing your food is like a non-starter for you and that's like a hard stop, not willing to do that, you can still count macros and use cups, measuring cups and measuring spoons, for sure. The reason that you'll see most macro counters using a digital kitchen scale is simply because it is more accurate, it is more consistent. 100g of grapes is always going to be like, if I weigh out 100g of grapes, it's going to be the same amount as if you weigh 100g of grapes. If we tried to both do a cup of grapes, there's going to be a lot more variety in that, right? Do you have to keep all of the grapes underneath the level of the cup? Can some of them go over? How tightly do I squish those grapes in? If I got a cup of grapes and you got a cup of grapes, there would likely be some difference in the amount that we would get. So you're just introducing more of a margin of error into your amounts. However, it's not the end of the world. So, again, if it's a hard no for you, you're like, I do not want to weigh my food. That is, like, something I'm not willing to do, can I still count macros? The answer is absolutely yes. It may be a little bit more inaccurate, but it's not that big of a deal. And honestly, I'm all about the 80-20 rule, right, Pareto's principle, where it's like 20% of the things that you do produce 80% of the results. And so let's not get hung up on it having to be perfect or exact. This is actually one of my big beefs with people who do macro counting is it sometimes starts to bring out the type A personalities, like the perfectionistic parts of ourselves. And I think that's actually not really that helpful. So can you count macros and just use measuring cups and measuring spoons? Absolutely. However, it is going to be slightly more accurate, and it's why you will see most people who count macros using somewhat of, like, a digital kitchen scale. So I've linked two of my favorite scales in the show notes of this episode. I've given you one option that's like, what I would consider the best value. It's about 15 ish dollars on Amazon, and it's awesome. I've had it for years. It works just fine and it's going to get you started and do everything that you need to do. I've also linked, like, my favorite scale, which is a little bit more money, but has some more features. It has a higher range for how much it can weigh, which becomes helpful if you're doing lots of recipes and having to weigh pots and pans and then food in the pots and pans, it also has the ability to pull the display out.
So, again, when I'm doing recipes and I make a casserole in a 9×13 and I want to weigh that casserole, and then I'm going to subtract out the weight of the dish so I can find out actually how much the food weighs. Sometimes when you have just, like, a little bitty scale, it's like you have to kind of try and peek under the scale and see the weight. With my favorite scale, you're able to pull out that display so that you can still see it, even if you have something large on the scale. So, anyway, I've linked two of those up for you. One is like, if you just want the cheap get me started version, there's nothing wrong with the best value scale and then the scale that I use and have and use most of the time, which is a little bit more of an investment. But a digital kitchen scale will be something that will start to become your friend, because again, you're going to be more accurate if you're weighing things. And typically, you will see people weighing things in grams versus ounces. Why? It's simply because grams is a smaller unit of measurement, which means it's going to be a little bit more precise and a little bit more accurate. So ounces are a little bit larger unit of measurement. And so the difference between when the scale toggles from 3oz to 4oz is there's a wider variation there than when the scale toggles from 100g to 101g. It doesn't mean it's wrong to weigh things and ounces. It doesn't mean if you've been weighing things and ounces that you're doing it all wrong. Again, it's like good, better, best. Let's not get hung up on having to be exact and perfect and all of those things. So if you're weighing things and ounces fabulous, you know, it's not the end of the world. But that's why you will hear people tracking things in grams because it is just a little bit more accurate.
Third and Fourth Equipment: Weight Scale and Measuring Tape 16:47
Okay, so we have a tracking app. We have a digital kitchen scale. The last two things that are absolutely 100% necessary, in my opinion, are a body weight scale and measuring tape. And the reason that these are so important is because when you're counting macros, you are tracking the things that you are putting into your body, right? You're tracking your nutrition, what's going into your body. We also need to track how that's impacting your body. We need to track the effects of that. We need to track the feedback that your body is giving us so that we can kind of look at those things and say, hey, we put this in and this was the result. What do we need to change? What do we need to adjust to be able to make sure we're driving towards the result that we want? And so in order do that, we need to make sure that we're getting those data points from our body. And some of the most important data points that you want to be getting are your weight as well as measurements. And I make a big stink about this a couple of podcast episodes ago in episode 265, that you cannot just use the scale weight to figure out if your body is responding or not. If you're looking at the scale weight as the only data point, it is an incomplete data point. It's not telling you what you think it's telling you. And we need to include that with multiple data points to really figure out what's going on with your body. And so some of those data points you need to be taking are measurements. I also talk about progress pictures as well as some of the non-scale victories. So equipment that you need is absolutely to have a scale weight or a body scale, and as well as a measuring tape. So in the show notes, I've linked a body weight scale that is a little bit more affordable and again, something that can just get you started. I've also linked just a basic fabric measuring tape that you can use for your measurements. And honestly, that's kind of it. That's the things that you need. You need a tracking app, you need a digital kitchen scale, you need a body weight scale, and you need a measuring tape. And that is enough to get you started with macro counting. And honestly, the only thing that I ever used in any of my macro counting journeys.
Measuring Progress Using Scales 18:57
Now, what are some of the things that I have had clients talk to me about or share with me or say that they have found helpful? Maybe some of the more advanced equipment, if you're like a little bit more techy or you want a little bit fancier stuff, things that I would recommend. One of the things that I've heard over and over and over again from my clients that they really, really love it is what's called the Renpho body scale. So this is a scale for measuring your body weight. And it's honestly not that much more expensive than the best value one that I linked. It's maybe like $10 more expensive. But the cool thing about this scale is that it's bluetooth enabled and that it can connect to an app. And people really like this because one of the things you're going to be doing is going to be monitoring your trends and being able to have averages over a period of time. I really highly recommend that you don't just take your weight once a week, but that you actually take your scale weight daily at the same time each day and then average it over the week and compare those numbers week over week. And so having an app that kind of helps you to do that, people really like that. And again, like this scale, I looked it up on Amazon. It's like $10 more than the other scale that I linked. So that I think is a really good buy, especially if you're someone who is a little techie and you want an app and you like to have all the data points put into one thing that can be really helpful. Now, my one caveat to this is that more data points are not always more helpful. And this is what I mean, is that sometimes these scales try to give you so much data, right? They're trying to measure your body fat composition and how much muscle you have and how much water weight you have and how much bone you have and blah, blah, blah, blah, like so many data points that it almost waters everything down, and it gets really hard to figure out what's going on.
And it's really important to understand that all of these data points, anytime you're having a scale measure your body fat composition or how much water is in your body or how much bone mass you have, you have to remember that there is a somewhat large margin of error with those numbers. Just because your scale says that you are 23.42% body fat percentage does not mean that you are 23.42% body fat. Now, because there is a margin of error, what most of those equipment is doing is trying to send, like, a small electrical impulse through your body. And then they're measuring the resistance. They're measuring how fast it goes through the body, because different tissues allow electrical current differently at different speed. So they're trying to do all these calculations and all these measurements to try and estimate it. But just understand, there is a rather large margin of error on that number. So I always recommend, especially if there is a scale that is measuring your body fat composition, that you are using that to look at trends rather than the actual number. Meaning if you step on the scale and it says you're 30% body fat percentage, you may be 25% body fat percentage or 35%. That's how large the margin of error is. However, what you can do is look at the trend over time. Meaning if that 30 is becoming a 29 and a half, is becoming a 29 is becoming a 28 and a half, you're probably losing body fat. It may not be the exact amount that the scale is saying, but if that trend is going that direction, that's something that you can kind of watch. And if the trend is going up, that's something that you can kind of watch. So I like those numbers for trends to watch as trends, but don't use them as gospel truth. And the biggest mistake that I see people making has to do with trying to tease out body fat loss versus muscle loss versus muscle gain versus fat gain. And people get really stuck in saying, oh, well, my, like, scale says that I've gained 3lbs of muscle and I've, you know, lost 2lbs of fat. And just remember that those numbers, like, there's just a margin of error. So look at the trend. If the trend is going in the right direction, that's great. But looking at the actual numbers themselves, they probably aren't going to be super accurate.
Measuring Progress Using Electric Measuring Tapes 22:38
Okay, and the second thing that a lot of my clients really like is an electric measuring tape. So a lot of times people get really up in arms about feeling like, measuring, like doing measurements, right? Measuring your arm or measuring your leg or your waist is really inaccurate because they’re like, am I always measuring the same place? How tight was the measuring tape last time? Is it looser this time? Using an electric measuring tape takes out a little bit of that guesswork. It makes you feel like you're a little bit more accurate, but I also want to remind you because these measuring tapes will go to like the 10th or even the 100th of an inch. And so they'll give you a measurement like 36.12 inches, and then next week you're 36.11 inches. And so it can feel like, oh my gosh, they're like super specific and super accurate. And I just want to remind you that they are not accurate to the 100th or even the 10th of inch. And so again, use them as trends, use them as moving in the right direction, but there is a margin of error with an electric measuring tape as well. So I've linked in the show notes the Renpho measuring tape, which also connects to the Renpho scale, which also connects to the app. And again, a lot of our clients really like that because they can have all of it, all their measurements and all of their data in one app, and they find it really easy to be able to access. But I just always want to give that caveat. Just because it feels like it's more accurate, because it's giving you a very accurate number, doesn't actually mean that it is that specifically accurate. And so, again, we're really looking at trends. We're really looking at the overall movement that's happening in the body and not so specifically down to the hundredth of an inch, how your body is changing.
Overview of Equipment Needed for Macro Counting 25:09
So that's really it. There's not a whole lot of equipment that you need in order to get started with macro counting. It's something that anybody can do. You don't have to be able to do a lot of math. You don't have to be really good with numbers. The tracking app takes care of all of that for you. You just have to have some pieces of equipment that make your life a little bit easier, allow you to track the food that's going in, allow you to track the results that are coming out. And then the beauty of macro counting is that once you have those two pieces right, you have what's going into the equation, you have what's coming out of the equation. We can then make adjustments and tweaks to your plan to be able to get the results that you want. This is what I teach people how to do inside of Macros101, is once you have what's going in, once you have what's coming out, we figure out how to analyze and read that feedback and data from your body. And then I teach you from that feedback and data from your body. How do you make adjustments to your plan? How do you make adjustments to what you're doing? How do you make adjustments to your macros, to your workouts to be able to drive you towards the results that you want.
So if you want help with that, definitely get on the waitlist for Macros101 where we will be opening doors on April 3 for our next round. You can get on the interest list at bicepsafterbabies.com/waitlist and that is a great place to learn more about macro counting and how to really become a macro scientist, how to read and analyze data so that you can start to get the results that you want in an enjoyable and really effective way. So I hope that this episode was helpful. I hope that you learned a little bit about getting started, feel a little bit more equipped to be able to have the equipment that is going to make it a little bit easier for you. Again, all the products I have talked about, I've linked up in the show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/267. I have Amazon links to all of them. Yes, they are affiliate links. I get like a tiny, tiny commission if you use those links or you can just go search them on Amazon if you aren't a big fan of affiliate links. But I've linked them all there to make it a little bit easier for you. Thanks for listening. That wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber. Now go out and be strong, because remember, my friend, you can do anything.
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