Want to improve? Track yourself

If you want to improve at anything I think there are 3 basic fundamentals:

  1. Accept where you are now.  Swallowing the truth is the bitterest pill.  If you keep deluding yourself you won’t get anywhere.
  2. Make a plan to get from where you are now to where you want to go.
  3. Take action every day.  Follow through on your plan.  Track your progress.

For me, I have been trying to make some changes to my diet.  It’s easy to speak in generalities like:

  • “I probably eat 2500-2700 calories per day”
  • “I get enough protein”
  • “I only eat junk food on rare occassions”

Well, HOW DO YOU KNOW? If you don’t track it, you really don’t.  How much is enough protein anyway?  How can you say a person gets enough or doesn’t get enough when you can’t clearly say how much is enough protein or how much they’re getting?

Well I started using an activity and food log program called Crono-o-meter.  It’s great.  Let me tell you I’ve used a lot of fitness logging programs/apps out there and 99% of them suck.  Crono-o-meter is really easy to use and as far I can tell it’s free (website says “free to try” but I haven’t seen anything on there about paying for it, not sure what’s up with that).  Here is a screenshot of today so far at 11AM

vegan gym rat

cronometer

Results of actually tracking stuff

  • I eat closer to 3200-4000 calories per day.  The more activity the more calories I usually eat.  I don’t see this as a bad thing, but it definitely was a surprise.
  • I beat the USRDA of 50g/day of protein pretty easily.  I set a marginal mass gaining metric that requires 70g/day, I’m not always hitting that.
  • I eat junk food several times per week.

Now that I’m actually tracking things I can hold myself accountable.  It’s easier to see where I’m doing things I shouldn’t be and make changes.  I feel more in control of my health.  And let’s face it, when the software is easy to use, it’s fun to keep track of this stuff.

Final note on protein and a plant-based diet:

As vegetarians and vegans the question we get asked the most is “where do you get your protein?”.  Most people vaguely “know” that vegetarians and vegans don’t get enough protein (this has been debunked several times as a myth) but when asked how much is enough, they usually have no idea.  Get educated, be prepared.  Tracking your food intake makes this question very easy to answer.  You can easily say “well the USRDA is 50g/day and I am getting about X g/day from fruits, vegetables, etc.”  It’s easy to have a wishy-washy argument over hearsay and generalities, but facts and hard numbers are indisputable.

Vegan Gym Rat is a blog about health, fitness, and pushing your limits on a plant based diet. You can get in touch with me via email ironcladben at mailbolt dot com or on twitter @IronCladBen

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About Iron Clad Ben

Just a dude who loves fruits, vegetables and exercise.
This entry was posted in Philosophy, Veganism. Bookmark the permalink.

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