Frequently Asked Questions
1: WHAT DO I NEED IN ORDER TO FOLLOW THIS PROGRAM?
1.) A membership! Sign up and I will get you your starting information within 48 hours.
2.) A smartphone to use MyFitnessPal and send me/post your daily screenshots.
3.) A food scale to weigh and measure your food as often as possible.
4.) A scale to weigh yourself each morning.
5.) A Facebook profile.
*A Facebook profile is not a requirement but strongly recommended. Clients who participate on the page have, on average, a much higher success rate. The accountability and support of the community as well as the ability to ask for guidance from a group of people following the same program is invaluable.
2: WHY DO YOU NEED TO SEE MY DAILY SCREENSHOTS?
On the Macroholics Nutrition Program you will be posting your daily macro and caloric screenshots to our private Facebook group every evening as soon as you are done logging your food for the day. Coach David Barnett will then review them each morning.
Primarily to hold you accountable. Posting your screenshots from two days ago helps nobody. Doing it daily helps keep you on track longer and more often. This is a cornerstone of the Macroholics Nutrition Program. To put it simply, if i am not personally reviewing your screenshots 24/7/365, you aren't on the Macroholics program.
Equally important is the issue that life changes constantly! Maybe you're about to go on a vacation and need help getting more protein. Perhaps tomorrow is your sister's wedding and you want to drink some wine at dinner. I will help you plan your day around making that happen without sacrificing results. I need to see your daily screenshots because it is essential to your success!
Even if you fall completely off course and eat an entire pizza by yourself, you need to log it and I need to see it. Quantifing our failures and looking them in the face not only gives us the necessary data to make your weekly adjustments, it helps us confront our weaknesses and learn how to do better moving foward!
3: WHERE, WHEN, HOW OFTEN, AND WHY DO I WEIGH IN?
Where: At home, on the same scale, every time. Don't use different scales. They can vary significantly and give us inaccurate data.
When: First thing in the morning! At this time of day, our weight is the most consistent. Be sure to log it into MyFitnessPal.
How Often: Every single day. If you're traveling, you can just wait until you get home.
Why: Despite what you may have heard, weight is still the best readily available tool to help us gauge our progress in gaining muscle and losing fat. That said, many factors effect our weight outside of changes in muscle and fat. Water weight, inflammation, the amount of food in our gut, and more all play a role.
Other Considerations: Don't sweat a temporary swing up in weight despite hitting your targets. It's impossible to gain/lose multiple pounds of fat/muscle in a single day. Up to a 2% shift (4 pounds for a person weighing 200 pounds.) in body weight is completely normal. Shifts up and down in weight from one day to the next are normal and expected but daily weigh-ins, in the long run, give us a big enough set of data to track general trends from one week to the next. These trends tell us if our targets are working and how well they are working. From there, we can make accurate and effective adjustments to your daily targets to keep you on track, at the ideal pace.
4: DO I NEED TO WEIGH AND MEASURE MY FOOD?
Yes. It is absolutely essential. With the exception of hitting your daily targets, your level of discipline in accurately weighing (scale) and measuring (cups and tablespoons) your serving sizes is probably the single greatest factor that will determine your success on the Macroholics program. Simply guessing and estimating as a your general approach doesn't work. If it goes in your mouth, weigh it, and log it in MyFitnessPal. Whenever possible, weigh your food in grams. It's the best method for accuracy. I completely understand that some things are going to be estimated and no, I don't ask that you bring your scale with you to your friend's dinner party. (Unless they are also Macroholics of course!) As your coach, I will teach you how to navigate those situations with success. Hit your targets consistently, weigh and measure your food and your goals are all but guaranteed to become a reality!
5: I HAVE BEEN USING ALL OF MY CALORIES BUT I AM STILL HUNGRY AT THE END OF THE DAY. WHAT DO I DO?
The first step is to determine if it's hunger or a craving. If i were to put a plate full of steamed broccoli and boiled chicken breast in front of you with no salt or seasonings, would you scarf it down? If the answer is, "No, that gross. I want some ice cream on a brownie and a meat lover's pizza!" Then you aren't hungry. You are having some cravings and being able to deal with this less than ideal feeling while losing body fat is a necessary part of the process.
If the answer is, "Yes, give me that plate and get a second one ready!" then you're hungry and you have my permission as your nutrition coach to eat unlimited lean meat and vegetables above your caloric target. Just log all of it and include an explanation in your daily screenshot.
Regular and overwhelming cravings/huger are most commonly the product of poor food choices resulting in dehydration and low or absent vitamin/mineral levels. Make sure you aren't getting most of your protein from shakes and/or your carbs from refined sources (sugar and white flour for example). Meats and vegetables are always best!Yes, it's possible to drop significant amounts of body fat while living off of protein shakes and alcoholic beverages but if you have constant hunger or cravings it's time to eat more meats, vegetables, nuts/seeds, and fruit to give your body what it is missing.
To put it all in perspective, I have never had a client who hits their targets consistently by eating whole foods struggle significantly or consistently with hunger while losing weight.
6: HOW SHOULD I HAVE THE MYFITNESSPAL APP SET UP?
1.) Set the caloric and macronutrient targets I emailed to you in your settings.
Make sure you go back and do this every Friday when I send you your weekly adjustments as well.
Your caloric and macronutrient percentages can be adjusted by selecting "More" -> "Goals" -> "Calorie & Macronutrient Goals"
2.) Set your week to start on Friday
When you send me your week view calories/macros it helps me to see your past seven days. Having your full set of data allows me to give you the most accurate and appropriate adjusments to your targets.
To do this, pen your app and select: More -> Settings -> Weekly Nutrition Settings -> Select "Week Starts Friday"
3.) Make sure your app isn't tracking your steps.
Default settings vary but if your app is synced with a fitness watch or your iPhone/smartphone it will track your steps and adjust your caloric target. The targets I set for you already take your activity level, training, and lifestyle factors into account.
To make sure it is off, open your app and select: More -> Steps -> Select "Don't track steps."
4.) Don't log your exercise in the app.
Logging exercise in the app adds calories to your daily target. As explained above, the targets set for you already take that into account. Your targets are set based on the estimated caloric expenditure of the training described in your starting information and the actual exercise you send in your weekly adjustment report. From there, your targets are adjusted based on your calories, macros, and most importantly, your results.
7: WHAT, WHEN, AND HOW MUCH SHOULD I EAT?
I say this with zero sarcasm: Eat whatever you want and whenever you want as long as it fits your targets.
Obviously, this needs to be applied within reason. If you ate nothing but donuts and protein shakes to hit your targets, you probably wouldn't feel great and you'd probably feel hungry all the time.
My point is, it's really easy to overthink this. Concepts like meal timing, supplementation, and small differences in food choices are infinitely less important than hitting your caloric and macronutrient targets with consistency. I understand that learning to do that in different situations can be challenging but don't worry, we are here to help! If you're having trouble with getting enough protein, finding good snacks, or anything else, we will help you address that issue in detail! The majority of the successful people on this program don't hesitate to ask for help!
Where are you struggling? We will give you options to help you conquer the obstacles that life throws in your way!
8: DO YOU DO MEAL PLANS?
Yes we do! We offer a sample meal plan that fits your customized targets at absolutely no additional charge. Don't like something on your meal plan? We will give you another option! Want to work something fun and yummy into your meal plan? We will help you fit it in! The idea is to fit this program into your life, not fit your life into this program.
9: DO I NEED TO PAY FOR THE PREMIUM VERSION OF MYFITNESSPAL?
Short Answer: No. None of the additional features are required to follow the Macroholics system.
Long Answer: There may be benefits for some users which are broken down below.
1.) No advertisements: Adds annoy you? Premium will get rid of them.
2.) Exclusive content: Literally never seen anyone use or refer to this content once but who knows. Could be some good stuff in there.
3.) Macronutrients by gram: Allows you to set goals by the gram. This doesn't apply to our program. We use percentages.
4.) Quick add macronutrients: Mildly convenient. You can just search "carbs 1g" and adjust the serving size to do the same thing with almost no trouble.
5.) Different goals by day: This doesn't apply to our program. If your targets need to be tweaked for a competition or event, I help you do that in detail anyway.
6.) Track Exercise Without It Affecting Your Calorie Target: If you want to keep all of your exercise tracking and food logs in one app, this could be a small bonus.
7.) Home screen dashboard:
Instead of just seeing numbers like this:
It looks like this:
Giving you immediate access to more info and a more better visual of where you're at for the day. You can see these same numbers with one click on the normal app so it is, at best, a minor convenience.
8.) Priority customer support: I've never needed this so I can't speak to the difference but it might be nice if your account got lost or stopped working for any reason.
9.) Data export: If you're a numbers geek, like me, you may enjoy looking at all of your data in a spreadsheet.
10.) Macros by meal: No specific use for this on our program but might help some plan out their day in more detail. For example, if you are working on getting more carbs before training to fuel a training session, this could help you accurately tweak your ideal approach.
11.) Calorie goals by meal: Same as above.
10: HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD I DRINK EACH DAY?
Drink when you're thirsty, stop when you aren't. You can find a strong consensus supporting this stance among scientific and medical authorities HERE. Outdated recommendations like:
1.) Drinking a minimum of ____ ounces per day based on your body weight.
2.) If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated.
Are both generally recognized as false. For more information, see HERE.
11A: CAN I HAVE CHEAT DAYS ON THIS PROGRAM?
We call it a "Reset Day" and not only can you have one, you're encouraged to have one per calendar month if you hit all three of your targets every single day for that calendar month:
One full reset day is not only allowed but suggested.
Eat as much of whatever you want! You don't get a break from logging though. Track it! Then, let's get right back to A+ form.
If you are a few hundred calories over here and there, you go over your max carbohydrate percentage once or twice a week, or go off course a little semi-regularly, this doesn't apply to you. The VAST majority of clients don't need help planning reset days. If this sounds like you, your focus needs to be learning how to consistently hit your targets.
For the less common type-A personality client that hits all three of their targets over 97% of the time, reset days can be beneficial. We suggest they learn to be okay with something less than perfection. This helps them maintain long-term success while enjoying special occasions like Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, and their anniversary without the feeling of failure or shame. As with everything, we require research to support our stance on cheat days. Check out this article and the linked studies.
The best part about this program is it's flexibility so fitting the appropriate serving size of anything into your targets on occasion, while still hitting you targets, isn't out of the question. It's one of the main reasons we have an average weight loss of over 20 pounds per client! The real challenge of this program is consistency.
11B: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A "RESET DAY" AND A "CHEAT DAY" ON THE MACROHOLICS PROGRAM?
A RESET DAY is when you eat as much as you’d like for one day per calendar month and all other days in that month you get an A+ (hit all three of your daily targets).
It would look like this:
Technically, a CHEAT DAY is when you go over your calorie target (by a little or a lot) on any given day if there is one or more days in that calendar month that you did not hit all three of your daily targets.
It would look like this:
12: IS THIS THE RIGHT PROGRAM FOR ME?
This diet CAN BE for anyone who is willing to:
Track their food intake accurately
Limit and tweak their intake to facilitate sustainable fat loss
This diet is guaranteed to work for everyone who applies it consistently and accurately. In my opinion, most need an effective diet that fits their lifestyle as seamlessly and realistically as possible. Most people need to find a way to fit a program into their life, not fit their life into a program.
No food is off limits on this program.
Here's a bombshell of truth: The right diet for you is the one you actually do!
The real question becomes, "What can you do anywhere, always, and forever?". That doesn't mean you have to be perfect to make progress but I do believe this: If your methods are conditional, your progress is only temporary.
If you can ONLY lose weight by following a pre-portioned meal plan that is prepared at home, but always gain weight when you go out to eat or find yourself in a social setting, how do you expect to lose weight and keep it off forever? Is your plan to just live in a bubble the rest of your life? Or do you think that you can only eat at home, for a few months, lose some weight, and then return to a "normal" life? That weight is going to come back. Your methods were conditional and relied on you cooking at home so your progress was only temporary.
What makes this program a great fit for many is that this program has an incredibly flexible application. The guidelines for Macroholics are adaptable to your unique activity, lifestyle, and goals. Over 500 people that are vegetarians, athletes, night shift workers, stay at home moms, paleo eaters, marathon runners, keto eaters, sedentary office workers, grandmothers, and everything in between have seen great success on this program and lost over 14000 pounds in less than 1.5 years.
You'll often see people discussing diets and hear something to the tune of "I tried _____ and it didn't work." The truth, more often than not is that they didn't follow the program long enough, consistently enough, or accurately enough. The diet in question usually works.
Heck, pretty much all diets work! The real challenge at hand with any program is applying it. The mysticism that surrounds nutrition, dieting, and fat loss is tragically and all too commonly used as a tool to manipulate people into thinking they are just missing some silver bullet that will fix their problems.
What most people aren't willing to face is that losing weight is really simple and really hard.
The real challenge isn't finding the right program that works.
The real challenge is applying whatever program you choose consistently and indefinitely.
That's where we focus or efforts on Macroholics. As a team, we help hold you accountable on daily basis and address all of the hurdles that life will undoubtedly throw in your way, one at a time.
13: HOW DO I ACCURATELY TRACK A HOMEMADE RECIPE?
If you've already prepared it, use the 1.25 estimation method described in the below FAQ section. If you'd like to be able to track one of your favorite home made meals with perfect accuracy, follow instructions found in our 10 step instructional video:
14: HOW DO I LOG SOMETHING IN MYFITNESSPAL WHEN ESTIMATING?
To put it simply, if you aren't sure, estimate high. If you find yourself in a situation where you can't weigh your food, I want you to be able to honestly tell yourself, "What I entered is almost certainly more than what I actually ate."
Here's a step-by-step guide to the official Macroholics technique for estimating food:
1.) Find three items in the database that match the description of what you are eating.
2.) Put them in order from most calories to least calories and select the one in the middle.
3.) Increase the serving size by 0.25
Let's give you an example. Say you're on vacation and after visiting a museum your family decides to go to a small family owned deli and you order a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. Obviously they don't have nutrition information available so you're going to need to estimate.
Step 1: Search for a philly cheesesteak and find the three options matching your description.
Step 2: We can easily identify that the three options matching our description are 460 calories, 820 calories, and 690 calories making the Domino's option the one in the middle.
Step 3: Using the app, we adjust the serving size to 1.25
Obviously it can get more complicated than this and you're going to need to use your own discretion or post a picture of the meal to our private Facebook page so we can help you estimate!
Estimating often or too low can easily ruin your results. Use some reasonable discretion here.
If it looks like a really big serving size, it probably is. If you're accurately and honestly tracking, you aren't going to find yourself saying, "I can't believe how few calories that is!" very often.
If what you're eating looks really similar to something you've had at a major chain restaurant, you can enter that and increase the serving size by 25%.
Eat a reasonable serving size of whatever you choose and make it work within your targets. I attribute a lot of my personal success to doing this well. It is why I have alway been able to maintain or lose weight while on vacation. When other people would just log 1 cup of mixed vegetables while eating out, you need to be the type of client who would also log 1 tbsp of butter because you can tell that those veggies were sauteed in butter.
15: WHEN WEIGHING MEAT, DO I WEIGH IT RAW OR COOKED?
Short answer: Meat should be weighed raw.
Long answer: This can get a little bit complicated. It depends but generally speaking, meat should be weighed raw. If you're weighing COOKED meat but logging it using RAW nutritional information, you are underestimating the caloric content of your meat.
To be accurate, you need to weigh the product how it comes. The nutritional information provided is based on the condition in which the product is sold, unless stated otherwise.
Example #1: If you buy a pound of ground beef and the serving size reads "4 oz", then it needs to be weighed raw for accuracy.
Example #2: If you buy bacon but the serving size reads "2 pan fried slices" then you simply need to log these in MyFitnessPal by the COOKED slice. If you choose to use the bacon grease in the pan, that grease would need to be logged as it will be additional calories.
Example #3: If you eat meat that doesn't have nutritional information available, you simply need to use the 1.25 estimation method described above.
1.) In general, beef, poultry and fish shrink about 25 percent when cooked. For example, 4-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast will yield approximately 3 ounces of cooked meat.
Weigh the meat cooked and then multiply that number by 1.25 to get the number you should log.
2.) You can add "cooked" to your search. For example, "90/10 ground beef cooked" and you will get some estimates on the nutritional content by weight. Use discretion here and estimate high when in doubt.
16: HOW DO I MAKE VISIBLE IMPROVEMENTS WHILE MAINTAINING MY WEIGHT?
The mission statement of the Macroholics program is, "Our primary purpose is to help you achieve and maintain a healthy, lean, physique." To start, the vast majority of our clients are focused on fat loss. Once they have obtained a healthy weight for their age, gender and height, we switch to "maintain weight/improve body composition" targets. These clients have achieved a healthy and sustainable balance. Despite that, they often ask, "What now?" and decide that they want even more for themselves. There's a saying that goes, "the road from good to great, is the steepest climb". If you want to move forward from "healthy lean physique" towards "six pack/shredded/ripped" it's going to take relentless longterm consistency and nailing your targets, and a TON of high quality training.
Let me reiterate that...for the VAST majority of people, the bridge between good and great is built by:
1.) Accurately nailing your targets ALL year long.
2.) A high level of quality training for weeks, months and even years.
People don't become something special unless they exhibit longterm exceptional behavior.
Here are two examples.
Example #1- Kristin Tucker:
These photos are 9 months apart and less than a 5 pound difference. Kristin had no cheat days during this time period. She is a full time working mother of 2, in her late 30's. She weighs and measures all of her food. She trains longer, harder and more consistently than just about anyone. This is the level of commitment it takes to go from good to great.
Example #2- David Barnett:
The visible and physical changes while maintaining are very slow and steady but in my opinion, this is where the real magic happens. I weigh 184 in both of these pictures that are just over 1.5 years apart.
The left was October of 2015 and the right was April of 2017.
I improved literally every aspect of my fitness in that time. Literally every single lift has gone up, my conditioning has improved in every aspect, and I am significantly more skilled in my sport.
Training 4 hours a day, 6 days a week for months, looking at progress pictures and seeing little or no difference, stepping on the scale and seeing no difference can be discouraging if you lose sight of the big picture.
Heres a simple truth that can be difficult to hear, "If you want something you've never had, you're going to have to do things you've never done."
For most athletes, maintaining your weight and refining your craft is where the real magic happens.
I am not using myself as an example to toot my own horn, but rather to show you what's possible. I understand where you are, and where you want to go. Maintaining your weight can be mentally tough. Especially coming from a world where every week you could feel your body changing while focusing of gaining muscle or losing fat.
You can see it in the numbers.
You can see it in the mirror.
You can see it in your training.
A lot of people can drop weight and improve their gymnastics/body weight movement.
A lot of people can eat at a surplus and get stronger.
Both are noble pursuits that I am not discrediting. That's said, very few can grind relentlessly on everything with balance. Nutrition, sleep, recovery, conditioning, strength, and skills. All very, very, slowly improving to make the most complete athlete possible that is always in a "ready state".
Most will get ADD and abandon the cause to pursue more short sighted goals like getting their clean to go up or getting that strict muscle-up while other things suffer. Trying to get stronger and more fit at the same time is a different game that only the patient and persistent can play.
17: WHY DID MY CALORIC TARGET INCREASE!? I WANT TO KEEP LOSING WEIGHT FAST!
For those focusing on decreasing body fat, our goal on this program is for you to lose between 0.5%-1% of your total body weight per week.
I take into account all of your lifestyle factors when I adjust targets but generally speaking if you had a normal week, hit your targets consistently, and you lost less than 0.5% of your total body weight or less, I am going to decrease your caloric target. If you were above 1%, I am going to increase your caloric target.
At the end of the day, I don't think you want to lose weight fast. I think you want to get really lean (low body fat percentage) and stay really lean forever. Right?
If you just want to fit into a dress 3 weeks from now or if you don't care about your health, wellness, or performance and you just want to lose some pounds fast, you're on the wrong program. Many will spend their entire lives gaining 10 pounds, losing 7 pounds really fast, gaining another 10 pounds, losing 7 pounds really fast, and repeating these cycles for years and years then still wonder how they ever got to be 300 pounds when they were so skinny in high school. Diets don't work. Sustainability is absolutely crucial. If you can't do your program forever, the results won't last forever. Period.
I want you to lose body fat and I want you to lose it forever. I have bigger goals for my clients than to just take pounds off of them quickly that they are highly likely to regain. Permanent results have to happen gradually. You probably came to me because what you are doing isn't working as well as you'd like. You probably came to me because you have lost weight and gained it back in the past. Stop wasting time looking for silver bullets! Stop thinking you can maintain these extreme and restrictive lifestyles. If you can learn one thing from this program I want it to be this: There are no shortcuts in life that lead anywhere worth going.
18: I'M EXPERIENCING SOME CONSTIPATION SINCE STARTING THIS PROGRAM. WHAT DO I DO?
With increased protein intake, and reduced carbohydrate intake, some clients will experience constipation as a side effect of their shift in diet. This is typically a result of unintentionally getting less fiber.
1: To start, increase your intake of fruits and vegetables to get your regular fiber intake at or above 38 grams per day. Keep in mind that our needs will vary based on our unique situation. Regular intake of even more fiber might be necessary for some to promote regular and healthy bowel function. If you’re averaging above 38 grams a day from whole foods for 2+ weeks and not seeing improvement, let me know and we will adjust your targets accordingly.
*Note: Keep in mind that getting this fiber from processed foods with added fiber doesn’t necessarily have the same benefits that come from naturally occurring fiber in whole foods.
2: For clients who are generally healthy and feeling good we recommend you simply drink water/fluids when you’re thirsty. For those struggling with constipation, we suggest you get an ounce of water per pound of body weight and eliminate alcohol consumption which can cause/contribute to dehydration. For example, if you weigh 188 pounds, you’d want to get 188 ounces of water per day until symptoms improve.
3: Short term assistance from a fiber supplement or stool softener may provide some more instant relief. We suggest not using this as a permanent crutch to mask the symptoms of high levels of refined carbohydrate intake.
19: HOW DOES ALCOHOL WORK ON THE MARCOHOLICS PROGRAM? HOW DO I LOG IT?
Here's a short answer on logging alcohol:
To log alcohol correctly, take the total number of calories and divide by 4. Log that many grams of carbs.