24

Tracking Marcos Sucks: Why You Should Use Macro FLEX Tracking Instead

24 Comments | Diet

iifym tracking macros

Counting your macros (macronutrients) is like the older, more mature version of just counting calories.

When you’re counting macros, you’re tracking your 3 different variables (proteins, carbs, fats) and told to hit a specific amount based on whatever formula you’re using.

A lot of people like to call this IIFYM (if it fits your macros) or flexible dieting.

On the other hand, when you just count calories, you’re only tracking 1 variable (the overall amount of calories).

But tracking macros is highly recommended over only tracking calories since you could make your entire daily calorie intake consist of Cool Ranch Doritos, and while you could technically lose weight doing this, it’s a pretty stupid thing to do.

Hopefully I don’t need to explain why.

But when you track macros, you might to be told (for example) to get:

  • 180 grams of protein
  • 300 grams of carbs
  • 50 grams of fat

So in theory, as long as you “hit your macros,” you’re good to go and on your way to looking like a shredded motherfucker.

You even get to fit in more “fun” foods like cake and ice cream as long as you account for them in your macros.

So all you need to do is hit my macros and I still get to eat and enjoy my favorite foods.

It sounds like a pipe dream, right?

Yeah…not so fast.

The “dark side” of tracking macros that no one talks about

dark side diet

Tracking macros is great. It’s one of the hottest trends in fitness.

But I find very few people talk about the hidden, “dark side” of macro tracking.

All these guys talk about IIFYM like it’s the greatest thing in the world and how they’re able to eat foods like cookies and pop-tarts on a daily basis…

But if you take a deeper look into how they actually live their lives, it gets pretty crazy.

Obsession & the lack of flexibility

A few years ago, I was obsessed with video games.

Call of Duty, Halo, Skyrim, Assassins Creed….

I played the shit out of those games. Every waking moment of my life was spent playing my Xbox.

Don’t get me wrong, I still play games, just not as much and it’s not something I think about every waking moment of my life.

But this is how I feel a lot of “if it fits your macros” guys are with their diet – obsessed.

They’re obsessed with hitting their macros exactly “on the dot.”

They bring food scales to restaurants so they can make sure they’re getting exactly 300 grams of chicken breast.

They turn down social events because they don’t want to go over their macros.

Is this really a good way to live?

Sure you might not be eating brown rice and chicken 6x per day, and sure, maybe you can fit in a cookie every now and then.

But at what price?

Is the obsessive compulsive nature of tracking macros down to the exact gram really a way of living?

Introducing Macro FLEX Tracking – The (even more) flexible approach to tracking your diet and macros that you’ll actually enjoy

tracking macros

Use MFT and you’ll spend less time obsessing about your diet and more time to do whatever the hell you want.

Macro FLEX tracking (MFT)  takes the underlying concept of IIFYM, strips it down to its core essentials, while maintaining its overall effectiveness.

It’s incredibly flexible (yes I know people say tracking macros is flexible, but this is even more flexible).

It doesn’t require you to bring food scales to restaurants and look like a freak.

It actually lets you live like a normal human being and enjoy your life like I teach with the non-fitness lifestyle.

MFT tracks overall calories and protein

With MFT, the only 2 numbers you’ll be actually be tracking are your overall calorie and protein intake.

This is 100x easier and more flexible than trying to track protein, carbs, and fats and trying to make sure all those 3 numbers line up at the end of the day.

I put the emphasis on protein because it’s one of the main factors that determine whether someone maintains or gain muscle. Aim for a minimum of 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight.

MFT ballparks your carb and fat intake

Yes I know the term “ballpark” is incredibly vague and subjective but hear me out.

When it comes to macronutrient ratios, I always recommend a balance of protein, carbs, and fats. If you go too high or too low in any one the macros, you’ll definitely experience some sort of backlash.

Go too low in protein? You lose muscle.

Go too low in carbs? You feel like crap and workout performance will suffer

Go too low in fats? Testosterone levels drop.

But what I find to be incredibly true for people who have used the MFT system, is that when you focus on hitting your protein numbers and just ballpark/eyeball the rest of your calories to include a healthy balance of carbs and fats, you end up doing just fine.

If you struggle with tracking all 3 macros, I definitely suggest giving MFT a shot.

MFT still places an emphasis on whole, nutritious foods

diet food

MFT is not a “eat whatever the fuck you want” buffet.

You still need to be mindful of what you’re eating and try your best to eat mostly whole, nutritious foods.

And no, this isn’t the little hippie inside of me saying you need to eat clean and all that bullshit.

Point is, if you want to maintain optimal performance (both mentally and physically), and just be healthy human being, then you should be eating a lot of whole foods like potatoes, fruits, veggies, nuts, and lean meats.

I’ve tried MFT while just eating Burger King, Sour Patch Kids, and chugged protein shakes to get my protein. It works but I feel like crap EVERY SINGLE TIME.

MFT lets you enjoy life again

I always like to come back to the concept of enjoying life.

This is something I feel a lot of people have “lost” as they enter this whole fitness journey thingy.

We become obsessed with the gym.

We become obsessed with our diets, eating healthy, and tracking macros.

But what’s the point of all this crap if it takes over our lives.

My goal with MFT, the non-fitness lifestyle, and my course Superhero Shredding is to change that, to let people know that it’s okay to relax a bit and that it’s absolutely possible to get a great body without being obsessed with tracking your diet.

Do you track macros? What do you think about IIFYM vs MFT? Let me know in the comments below.

Robin Hink - July 30, 2017

Hi Keith

If I weigh 230 what should my Marci be I’m new to this
Thanks

Reply
    Keith - July 30, 2017

    If you’re following MFT< then you just need to ballpark fats and carbs like i outline in the post. Protein can start at approx 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight.

    Reply
3tw. - June 12, 2017

Excellent post.

This is something I have been doing for about a month now, and it really works.

As you quite correctly say, you it isn’t an eat-all you want buffet, and i still track my carbs to make sure I’m keeping them lower on non-training days, just simply to maximise fat loss, but it does leave a lot of flexibility.

This is the eating program that should be trending right now.

good to see it in writing!

Reply
    Keith - June 12, 2017

    Ya it’s all about maintaining some sense of balance, and never taking things to any crazy extreme.

    Reply
Phyllis stein - January 3, 2017

So in a nutshell if i wa.nt to eat one meal a day it should be protein carbs and a fat source. A steak baked potao salad and ice cream..that is doable

Reply
    Keith - January 3, 2017

    Yes, basically. Though u still need to watch calories.

    Reply
Cai - October 19, 2016

I am 165 pounds. A female. So you’re saying to lose weight I should eat 1,650 calories a day!? That just seems way too damn high. And then I have to add on an additional 528 calories to meet the 132 grams of protein a day goal? That’s a total of 2, 178 calories — for a female. Trying to lose weight. While keeping muscle in hopes of eventually building some more once the stupid fat is gone. Either I’m doing this wrong, or something isn’t adding up.

This is my way of asking for help, in case you were confused.

Reply
    Keith - October 19, 2016

    No you’re not adding the protein calories on top of your total calories.

    You need 1650 calories. The protein is already a part of that.

    Reply
Brad - May 7, 2016

So you said MFT is basically keeping track of calories (body weight x10-12) and protein (body weight x.8-1) and eyeball the other 2. But you never really explained what that means or how much that should be.

Reply
    Keith - May 7, 2016

    Basically it means not going out of your way to eat exclusively eat all carbs or all fats. No extremities.

    but if you want to get more technical you follow a more typical IIFYM style diet can start by aiming to get 20-25% of your cals from fats and fill in the rest from carbs.

    You can do this for a few weeks to see how the portion sizes play out then learn how to eyeball those amounts.

    Reply
luc - April 5, 2016

You m3ntioned the balance of carbs fat and protien. I am about 195 lbs so if i eat about 156g of protien carbs and fat each day (.8 × 196) is that the right way of doing it?

Reply
    Keith - April 5, 2016

    156 seems very low….how do you feel energy/performance wise?

    Reply
      luc - April 6, 2016

      I havent tried this yet i just wanted more clarification on how this system worked. I multipled .8×195 and it came out to 156

      Reply
Uma - March 20, 2016

Hi keith.. Just read ur article.. Very intresting.. Am among one of those ppl who followed strict diet exe and at last left all those due to stress… This time ur article is ma boost as i was thinking why i left the diet exe path..

Reply
Nikhil - October 9, 2015

Hi Keith,

I am a huge fan of yours because you help people like me achieve my fitness goals with the knowledge you share. You are my inspiration and I look forward to reaching my goals very soon.

Thank you for sharing so much information.

I am sure most people do not even know how valuable the information you are sharing is, but trust me, I know it is pure GOLD!!!

Thank you again !

Reply
    Keith - October 9, 2015

    thank you Nikhil, always appreciate these comments.

    Reply
Alan Baskerville - August 8, 2015

Been listening to what you have to say about fitness and all, ever since I started going to The GYM (Dec. of 2013). Has been the most legit and not-brain-shredding advice I’ve heard, really. I only really keep track of protein and calories, and everything else falls in it’s place. At this point, I don’t really feel like I need carbs (no one does, but apparently we do…mentally?).

Reply
    Keith - August 8, 2015

    Thanks Alan.

    Uh technically, you can survive without eating any carbs but I never recommend going zero carb. It’s just not a realistic way of living,

    Reply
David Prater - August 7, 2015

yesss hit the nail on the head with this one. ever since i started tracking macros, i’ve only ever really tried to reach protein and stay within my calories. meanwhile, there are dudes weighing their quest bars to make sure they land on the dot or “within shooting distance of each macro”. wtf. i always fall short in fat and go over in carbs based on my “goals”, and if i feel like shit i just flip the script for a couple days. works like a fucking charm. loving the new feel to this place, can’t wait to see SS2.0!

Reply
    Keith - August 7, 2015

    Haha never seem someone weigh a quest bar.

    Thanks David, SS 2.0 will blow 1.0 out of the water.

    Reply
Cory Wagna - August 7, 2015

I like tracking macros b/c it helps me stay on track but I can see the point you’re trying to make. Respect.

Reply
    Keith - August 7, 2015

    Thanks cory.

    I know in the end tracking all 3 macros is more “accurate” and if you’re competing on stage, then it can definitely be beneficial especially once you get down to that super shredded level.

    But for the average joe who just wants to look good naked, I don’t believe it’s necessary.

    Reply

Leave a Reply: