Do you know how much food you eat during an average day? Do you know how much protein you get? How much fat or carbs? We don't focus on these numbers that much because our first nutrition goal for all of our athletes is to get rid of all the highly processed (non) food in the typical Western diet.
For most people, that one change will be enough to give them the energy, workout performance and waistline that they want.
But those who want more...better performance, more muscle & less fat...AND who are getting good quality sleep every night AND paying attention to their recovery and mobility, it may be time to start looking at your overall caloric intake and your macros.
A calorie is a measure of energy provided by the food you eat. Your macros (short for macronutrients) are a measure of the protein, carbs and fat you consume. Knowing both how many calories you take in and the percentages of protein, carbs and fat you eat is the next step to a higher level of health and fitness.
Too often, we see athletes embrace clean eating and trade calorie dense, nutrient poor foods (e.g. doughnuts) for calorie poor, nutrient dense foods (e.g. broccoli) without accounting for the caloric deficit they just created. We've been led to believe that losing weight is all about taking in less calories than we burn.
And, it's true, a small caloric deficit will lead to lasting weight loss. The issue we see is when a large deficit is created whether for the express purpose of losing weight or by consequence of eating clean but not enough.
A large deficit leads to lower energy levels, poor recovery and a catabolic state (i.e. the body breaks down muscle tissue for energy.) These things lead to a slower metabolism which results in the plateau that many chronic dieters hit. The slower your metabolism is the harder it is to lose weight, so you cut your consumption even more which slows your metabolism even more, and so on in a downward spiral. This is also why it's so easy to put all the weight - and then some - back on once you start eating normally again post "diet".
Finding your ideal calorie and macros prescription is individual and goal-based. To go at it without a solid plan and specific end-state is at best frustrating and at worst creating metabolic derangement that is hard to recover from.
If you need help figuring out where you need to be, talk to a coach, start keeping a food journal (you know who you are) and share your journal with your coach often. We're here to help.