When you’re trying to either get shredded or acquire some serious MASSthetics, we know the key factors to do this are setting yourself goals to reach – These could be long term goals, such as weight, strength, size improvements etc. One of the keys to success in any walk of life is being able to track the build up to the goal you’ve set. In aesthetics, this is just as important; and nowadays everybody has logs to track workouts, scales to measure weight and now, we have mobile apps to help us track the ever so important macro nutrient intake. If you are using the LDN Muscle’s newly released Bulking Bible, still concentrating on shredding to obscene levels on the Cutting Guide or, for the ladies, living and breathing the Bikini Guide your food intake is going to have to be carefully constructed to ensure you reach your aesthetic goals.

I think everyone could agree with me here, some will say it’s 70% diet, 30% gym etc, others say you just need 100% commitment to succeed (sure I’ve said this somewhere before!). Either way – the more you track and diarise your food and workouts, the more success you’re likely to have.

So, you’ve got the workouts sorted, you know what supplements you’re taking and have an idea of what your macro intake will/should be. In the past I have attempted using various methods to track my macro intake, mainly through resorting to a log book, which can be difficult and tiresome. BUT, there is a simpler way…

MyFitnessPal has become my go-to for tracking my macros and ensuring I’m hitting my macro targets on a daily basis. Something I & the LDNM lads get asked about a lot on Twitter. It’s great if you’ve just started dieting so want to know your calorific and macro breakdown per meal throughout the day, or even if you’re a pro bodybuilder, fitness model or athlete. You can input all meals and get the breakdown required to ensure you’re hitting the macro targets you’ve set, with minimal fuss on an app that you can use on many smart phones (my iPhone app actually syncs with my online account AND iPad).

How does it work?

Using it is very simple. I must admit, at first I was sceptical, but, it was a major factor in helping me hit probably my peak shred this summer. Take a look at the short guide below:

Once you have you calorific target, or a daily net target/macro breakdown worked out (Instructions in the Bulking Bible will help you work it out, “Fitter Fitness Calculator” is another great and simple way to help you do this), usually you would then enter your targets into the MyFitnessPal (I recommend doing this via the website as it gives you greater flexibility to adjust your targets and macros intake), however, I’ve decided to do this a different way (see my tip below*). Once you’ve done that you’re ready start logging your foods (and exercise, which I personally don’t) in the daily diary provided on the app.

This is very quick and simple, I believe the app holds over 2,000,000 foods and supplement (whey protein for example) records for you to select from via a search function. If it is not there (for me, this has only happened a few time thus far) you can build in that specific food, or meal. You also have the option to use barcode scanning to bring up an item. Logging gets easier the more you do it. The App remembers the foods and exercises you complete most and makes it easy for you to add those items to your diary. In just a few days, logging a meal takes less than a minute.

*Richie Brew tip – rather than inserting your targets on to the app, jot them down, and have your calorie target as ZERO, that way, you have a better reading if your targets are macro based, rather than calorie and I find it easier to work out what I have remaining throughout the day this way, as I would say, this is one of the parts of the app that isn’t “bodybuilder” friendly.

The great part is, it is all broken down for you once logged. Protein, carbs and fats are then split out, along with total calories consumed. I have weekly calorie targets as well as macro targets to hit most days, so this works well for either way you decide to measure your progress.

As for entering exercises, you have two options: cardio exercise & strength exercise. Unfortunately, it doesn’t recognise any calories burnt for strength exercises (d’oh!). MyFitnessPal have told me upon enquiring that this is down to the fact that calories burnt depend on the kind of weights you’re using and the number of reps you’re doing (fair enough!) so suggested to enter “strength training” under Cardio Exercises instead.

All calories burnt through exercise will be added to your daily calorie target to make sure you’re getting the calories needed to reach your goals – especially important when you’re trying to bulk.

It’s also possible to track your progress via the app by being able to log measurements and weight, which can be entered daily and show you a graph over a period of time with the changes you have achieved.

If you’re feeling sociable, you can find friends through a Facebook plug in or link it up with other apps like RunKeeper etc. If you’re not feeling sociable – don’t bother, adds very little.

In summary – MyFitnessPal is a great little app to keep track of your calories/macros/progress and it’s simple to use at home or on the go.Shredding or bulking aboard the LDNM Guides just got easier! Give it a go!