The one thing that most strongly indicates whether or not you’ll success with your fitness goals is whether or not you track your intake. It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in weight loss, building strength, distance running, maintaining mobility, or any other fitness goal, garbage in results in garbage out. The most common way to track intake is MyFitnessPal, and I know that many of us here in GlibFit use it. However, there are plenty of MFP tips and tricks that you may not be aware of.
First, you can adjust which nutrients are tracked in the food diary. This is helpful if you are sensitive to certain micros, sodium for instance. It’s also helpful for macro tracking, which will be covered next week.
Second, you should be familiar with your profile and goal settings.
The information you provide here sets up all of the day-to-day numbers for MFP, including your calorie goal, your macros goals, etc. As you progress toward your goal, it’s good to check back in and make sure that MFP is configured to your life as it is currently.
Third, you should regularly track your fitness. People are notoriously bad at guessing how much food they have consumed, how many calories they have burned, and how much weight they have gained or lost. Even if you are on a purely strength building goal, tracking your progress will give you insights that you couldn’t have seen otherwise. MFP has a report function to aggregate your data.
Mrs. trshmnstr recommends relying on your Garmin/Apple watch/whatever whenever possible for tracking exercise. Most smart watches can integrate with MFP, and the data they provide will be substantially more accurate than if you manually enter the data. However, if you’re pounding the treadmill or doing weights work, your wearable isn’t going to be too much help.
Finally, Mrs. trshmnstr wants me to stress and stress again that what you don’t track, you don’t control! You may be able to make some progress by haphazardly changing your eating habits and haphazardly tossing weight around at the gym, but the pros track the minutae of food intake and of exercise in order to better understand how to best achieve their goals. It’s a bit of a burden to start, but once you get used to it, you’ll reap the rewards.
HIIT training of the week
As always, Mrs. trshmnstr recommends giving this a try 3 or 4 days this week. Also, please don’t kill yourself on these exercises. There’s a different between pushing yourself healthily beyond your comfort zone and blindly pushing your body into dangerous territory. Modify the exercises if you’re not capable of completing them as written.
Set a timer to start counting up from 0:00. Each exercise listed is a 1 minute workout. If you complete it before the minute is up, the rest of the minute is a rest period. If you haven’t completed it by the end of the minute, switch to the next exercise. Each exercise has an alternate for if you are unable to do that specific exercise. These are all fairly common exercises, so search for them if you don’t know them.
5 rounds of:
- 24 dumbbell reverse lunges (alternate: 24 weighed squats)
- 12 pushups (alternate: 12 bicep curls)
- 15 dumbbell thrusters (squat to overhead press) (alternate: 15 shoulder press)
- 14 plank low rows (alternate: 14 single arm bent-over low row)
- 10 burpees (alternate: 30 jumping jacks)
- 10 v-ups (alternate: 10 sit-ups or crunches)
This is a roughly 30 minute workout (5 rounds x 6 one-minute exercises). The goal is to do this 2x for a full workout.
Recipe of the week
This is my (not) secret chicken thigh recipe. I make up a batch for lunches most weeks.
- Roughly 2 lbs of chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on if possible
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp cayenne (i usually add another 2 tsp of red pepper flakes, as well)
- 1 tbsp garlic powder (or 1 clove of minced garlic if you’re feeling fancy)
- 1 tbsp onion powder (or a small diced onion if you’re feeling fancy)
I like to do these on my Weber kettle grill low and slow, but they’d also do fine in an oven.
- combine all of the ingredients in a gallon zipper bag, trimming the chicken if it has too much excess fat.
- mix everything up so that the chicken is well coated
- stick the bag into the fridge for a few hours (overnight is fine)
- fire up the grill and pile up the coals on one side of the grill
- add any smoking chips/chunks (apple and hickory are good) and set the grill up for low and slow (full open bottom vent, nearly full closed top vent on the indirect side of the grill). For chicken, i usually don’t bother with a water pan. I cook them between 275 and 325 for only 2 or 3 hours, so I’m not particularly concerned about maintaining an even temp.
- using tongs, add the chicken to the indirect side of the grill.
- come back 2 hours later and temp the biggest thighs in the thickest part with a meat thermometer.
- Once the biggest thighs are reading 155F at their thickest, leave the lid off the grill, adjust the coals to start burning hot again, and put the chicken on the direct side.
- After a few minutes (depends how fast the coals come up to temp), flip the chicken. You should have some maillard browning as well as a small amount of sugar burn. Pull the chicken when done.