5 Tips for success when tracking macros

1.Above all else be consistent 
Progress is sometimes slower than desired, you will not see change overnight. The only way to see change is to be consistent day in a day out let go of the outcome and commit to the process. Then all the sudden, you will see change. Suddenly clothes fit different, people start commenting on your change, and you will notice subtle changes in the mirror. 

2. Prioritize your protein
Protein is a little tricky, this is a nutrient that you need enough of, but not too much of. If you are looking add muscle or reduce body fat specifically, you must at least be able to eat your LEAN BODY MASS amount of protein in grams. This is typically something we look at during the InBody scan. If it says your lean body mass is 110 lbs, then you must eat no less than 110g of protein per day! If you eat less than this, and are losing weight, the weight loss is likely coming form muscle AND NOT BODY FAT. Weight loss and fat loss are two different metabolic processes. Many people do not understand this difference as the main stream media nutrition guidelines do not highlight this. The only predominant message is “reduce calories” and “increase exercise.” But those of us who track macros know intimately how this is not the full truth. Sometimes people need to eat MORE, -especially from protein- in order to reduce body fat. 

If you do not like eating protein because you have a hard time digesting it, there is something wrong with your digestion and we need to work on improving that. Sometimes people avoid protein because they feel like it just “sits in the stomach” and does not go anywhere. Often times poor ability to digest protein is actually lack of stomach acid (hypochlorhydria is what that condition is called).
Adding in digestive support may be a low dose exogenous “stomach acid” called betaine hcl. For sensitive individuals, you may need more gentle, such as the bitter herb Gentian

3. No need to consume protein in EXCESS amounts
If you are exceeding your protein target by a long shot, you’d be better off using those extra calories for your carbs. Exceeding your lean body mass of protein offers little additional benefit. In other words, there is a protein optimal zone,and by excessing that number, you don’t get any additional benefits. It’s far better to use the excess protein towards carbohydrates, as they will fuel your workout, provide MORE recovery and help you have more energy throughout the day. 
Muscle is composed of protein, but is saturated in the stored form of carbohydrates called glycogen. If you want to grow your muscle, you must to some degree feed this form of stored carbohydrate, glycogen. Otherwise, the muscles cannot repair and build back bigger. Exactly how many carbs you should be eating is determined through your initial visit, and each check-in that you send. Some factors that go into determining your carbs are, height, weight, muscle mass, how many calories and carbs you’ve been eating, and how hard you are or will be working out. Your thyroid status will also play into your metabolic rate and will effect how much you can eat. For this reason I encourage everyone to get a thyroid panel drawn. To thoroughly evaluate your thyroid function and ability to lose body fat, you need more than just a TSH drawn. My minimum recommendation for a thyroid panel is: TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3.

T3 is perhaps the most important for fat loss and body composition change specifically, therefore having this is in the optimal range is extremely helpful for your fitness journey. Some practitioners consider the optimal range for Free T3 of 3.3 – 4.5 pg/mL.

4. Recovery 
If you are on my clients list, congratulations I consider you an athlete. Exercise is required for a physique transformation, esp in the form of weight liftingThe macros will not work if you are not exercising. Most my clients already understand this concept and actually have a harder time taking rest days than they do getting in the workouts. If you are not taking your rest days, you will not be recovering from your workout, and you will not be building muscle to the full extent that you could be. Even if you feel like you have adequate energy, you still must take your rest days. 1 rest day if you are doing mostly cardio should be adequate, but if you are lifting heavy weights and really pushing yourself in the gym, 2 rest days is mandatory. You may not enjoy your rest days, you will feel like you are being “lazy” or unproductive. This is far from true. Additionally, you may notice food cravings are HIGHER on your rest days, other reason why people don’t like taking them. This is something to be aware of and work through. It is not an excuse for skipping rest days. People often NEED take rest days if they are constantly struggling with over eating. After your rest day, you may notice appetite comes back down and resets. 

5. SLEEP
I never realized I would have to talk so much about sleep! But so many people these days sleep so poorly and so little and they have no idea what this is doing their body and how this is killing their gains and stalling their ability to lose body fat. 

 If you sleep poorly you are not going to be building much muscle. Recovery happens at night and on rest days. If you have insomnia, or wake up too early, or wake frequently during the night, or wake up feeling like you didn’t sleep well, 1 rest day is not going to be enough. You must find a solution to your poor sleep. If you have insomnia you must let me know in your check-ins. Some starting places for better sleep: Powdered magnesium, esp Magnesium L threonate, magnesium chelate. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON POOR QUALITY SUPPLEMENTS SUCH AS MAGNESIUM OXIDE. Tablet forms of magnesium are often not as effective as powdered form. Another absorbable form of magnesium is TRAACS Magnesium Bisglycinate (chelate). These forms of magnesium minimize GI distress. Magnesium citrate is often used to relieve constipation and can cause loose stool, which is not ideal when taking large doses of magnesium as is often needed for athletes.

There are endless benefits to taking magnesium, not just for sleep purposes. It helps with muscle recovery, (hello bigger gains), reduces stress, and optimizes brain and THYROID function. Most people don’t realize the role that magnesium plays in building thyroid hormones.

Have you ever felt like you work super hard in the gym but don’t see much results? Magnesium is your secret weapon. Dosing is sometimes dependent on how hard you exercise, but standard dosing is 400mg daily. Some people need double this amount while repleting their stores.

How do you know if you are magnesium deficient?
It is estimated that 80% of the general population are magnesium deficient. Athletes are almost always magnesium deficient if not extremely intentional about supplementation. 
If you have labs drawn recently, look at your Alk Phos value – if it is on the lower end, around 30s-40s, you are likely in need of additional magnesium or higher doses of magnesium.
If you have muscle spasms or muscle cramps, this is likely a magnesium issue. Potassium is often thought of as the go-to electrolyte for muscle cramps, but its far more likely to be a magnesium deficiency as potassium is more available through diet. 
Do you have a slow or hypothyroid
Magnesium if needed for adequate thyroid hormone production (among other nutrients). 
Do you get stressed easily? 
Magnesium is a calming mineral, and people often take it at night to help them wind down before bed. 
Do you have constipation
Magnesium relaxes smooth muscle and helps move food through the intestine. 

For those with actual insomnia, magnesium may not be enough. I have had the best results with Cell Core’s Advanced Tudca. Tudca is a product that is actually a liver support supplement and has been used by body builders and others for many years. Cell Core has added additional detox products called humic and fulvic acids to their Tudca to gently pull toxins out of the liver cells. The overall net effect of detox is that it makes people tired, and removes that feeling of being “amped up” whether from cortisol or from too many stimulants like caffeine and sugar (pre-workout anyone?). 

The benefits of Tudca and have been documented in many literature articles. It is safe to take with any medication and is also helpful for constipation because it stimulates the liver to release bile. Adequate bile secretion is needed move food through the intestines. Inadequate bile secretion is often one of the root causes of constipation. Some additional benefits of Tudca include lowering liver enzymes, lowers total and LDL cholesterol (I’ve seen both these things happen in my labs), protects the liver from things like alcohol and drugs and will help the liver remove things like excess estrogens which promote weight gain and anxiety. The benefits of Tudca are too numerous to add in this short post, but some additional resources regarding Tudca can be found here:
https://www.lvluphealth.com/what-is-tudca/ 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030606/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boTzigj646Q
 
https://www.alzdiscovery.org/uploads/cognitive_vitality_media/Tauroursodeoxycholic-Acid-Cognitive-Vitality-For-Researchers.pdf

***Please note if you are using Tudca to improve your sleep, I have only found Cell Core Advanced Tudca to improve insomnia due to it’s detox effects. Other forms of tudca will improve liver function, but I have not found them to be effective for sleep specifically.***

Cell Core’s Advanced Tudca is only available through their website (they currently do not allow it to be sold on amazon). You need a “patient direct code” in order to create a login and make a purchase. Please email me for your patient direct code.  

InBody results and sleep. I have the ability to scan myself daily for experiment purposes. My lean body mass will go way down after even only ONE night of poor sleep. If you suspect you may have poor sleep you must prioritize this for better physique results. 

5. Good compliance with macros is necessary for progress 
If you have never tracked your macros before, it may come as a shock to find out just how little protein you are eating. If you are at least 5 ft tall, you will most likely need minimum 100g of protein daily (if you are a 6’1″ male imagine how much protein you will need!). Prior to starting with me people are often eating only 40g of protein daily. This is nowhere near the amount needed to make a difference in your physique and is often the reason people carry excess amounts of body fat. 


On the other hand, sometimes people who don’t track their macros find it a shock when they realize they are grossly overeating. Usually they are overeating carbs and fats (not typically protein). People who track macros have the advantage of knowing exactly where their intake is at. Even if you track daily and slightly overeat – that’s often still far better than the average person who does not track at all! 

Compliance with your macro plan does not mean you are eating perfectly every single day. That is completely unrealistic and will only set you up for failure. I never expect perfection, only progress. 

On the note of progress, if you are someone who is not sending check-ins, I do not expect that you will make good progress. It is perfectly fine to miss check-ins here and there, I totally understand busy lifestyles, vacation etc. If you’ve been with me 6 months or longer check-ins each week become less relevant as we typically keep in touch over text message or though Instagram. (I love connecting with you guys on Instagram, it helps me understand when you are on vacation, if you post food pics, it helps me get an idea of your lifestyle and is a great adjunct to the weekly check-in emails. If you do want to connect on instagram please introduce yourself, I often cannot tell who you are as people use different names or may not post photos of their faces.) 

If you are consistently failing to send check-ins you are wasting your money. I do not enjoy working with this type of client. I enjoy working with action orient people who want to get results. 

I am heavily dependent of my clients getting results. Without your success you will not refer me new clients. I am probably more motivated even than you to get your results because I know that my business depends on it. Therefore, if someone is completely disregarding my feedback, grossly overeating the macro plan, and failing to send check-ins, I do reserve the right to discontinue the relationship. I am well aware that sometimes it’s simply not the right time for you, and this ok. You are more than welcome to pick up coaching again when the is right. I have had many clients take a pause and come back when they are truly ready. 

I hope these insights help you on your fitness journey! I always do my best to deliver actionable and effective information without the fluff! I am results oriented and want to get to the heart of the matter as quickly as possible.

Each person’s plan will look a little different, and that’s a good thing! Again, I never expect perfection, only progress. And most the time lasting progress is best sustained by taking baby steps. When in doubt, just follow your plan to the best of your ability and you will get the results you want. 

With love,
Hilary 

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