Cori (00:27):
Hey guys, this is Cori from Redefining Strength. Welcome to the Fitness Hacks Podcast. This is the show where I share all my free workout and nutrition tips. I’m not going to ever fill this episode with sponsorships or ask you to buy anything. All I ask in return is if you’re enjoying the podcast to leave a review or leave a five star rating or even better share with somebody you think it might help. This will only take a few minutes and would mean the world to me and possibly change the life of someone. So let’s jump right in.

Cori (00:28):
Hey guys, it’s Corey and Michelle from Redefining Strength, and today we’re going to talk about 13 tips to rock your macros like a pro. And in listing out all these different options, I have to admit, when we were brain vomiting them out, it came out to a lot more than 13. Don’t know the exact number, but over the years I feel like you accumulate a lot of different hacks to help you hit your macro ratios, make it more sustainable, really create that lifestyle balance. So Michelle, thank you for being here. Super excited to jump in. You want to kick us off with one of your top macro hacks to rock those macro ratios like a pro.

Michelle (01:04):
So I’m going to start with first investing in a digital food scale. It just makes things a lot more simpler when you’re trying to actually figure out the portion sizes and the macros or nutrition content of any of those meals that you mix or that are mixed meals. So simply just weighing your ingredients as you’re cooking and then being able to divide it at the end makes your life a lot simpler.

Cori (01:27):
I love that. And if you are lazy like me and you used to use measuring cups and teaspoons and tablespoons and all those different things, it saves on a lot of dishes because basically you take that bowl, you put it on your scale, and as you add things you just make sure that you tear it each and every time and it allows you to get the exact measurement of each ingredient as you put it in. So you can log into your tracker, you can then enter it to create the recipe or one of my other little hacks I mentioned is creating the meal. So while I do like creating recipes that I make as is a lot because then you can save them, you can save the portion size, it allows you to easily enter them, sometimes even having them as a meal so that you can easily adjust portions of things can be really helpful because when you have meals like a salad that you make, if you make little tweaks of specific things, having it as the meal, you can easily that you take one thing out and then you can put one thing in, sorry, I heard some background noise, got a little distracted.

But you can then easily make sure that you’re adjusting things based on the macros that you have for that day. So if you know that a meal earlier is higher carb, you can lower the carbs in that and make it more of a salad versus more of a burrito bowl. I love that though. Next tip, what were your thoughts?

Michelle (02:36):
So this one I think is huge and I know it sounds boring and it may not be sexy, but plan ahead. And when we say plan ahead, yes, pre log those mills, that’s going to help that Ashley even look at your week, what do you have going on? So if you have a busy day, don’t plan on making a meal that’s going to take a little extra time, time. Make sure you’re going to plan a meal that’s going to be very simple. Have very little prep work and that you can kind of get in and get out because oftentimes that’s really where I see the downfall is people create these really great sounding mills but then they run out of time to actually prepare ’em.

Cori (03:16):
I think planning ahead is one of the most important things, especially starting out because if you think about it, when we’re coming into macros, the reason you feel like you can’t hit them is because you are simply logging what you’ve always done. And if your ratios were naturally hit them, hitting them and your portions were naturally hitting them, you would then see the results that you want. So coming in, you are not hitting the ratios, therefore if you do what you’ve always done, you’re going to get the same result. So planning ahead allows you to see where there might be areas to make some tweaks. And I can tell you I’ve been tracking macros for a decade and maybe even a little bit longer, but I still plan ahead. I still have meals I know will all work together or simple ways I know I can adjust those different things.

But in planning ahead too, it allows you to make that grocery list to make sure that you always have things on hand that you can use to hit it. Planning ahead allows you to map in those meals out so that you have options out if you’re in a pinch, it allows you to really have the flexibility to do things quickly. I think that’s something that comes up a lot too. I don’t have the time and a little time to plan ahead. Saves you a lot of headache, a lot of time later trying to MacGyver things because things aren’t adding up planning ahead, definitely not the sexiest tip, but so important off of that. I mentioned this to you, the five by five meal plan builder is what I call it, but it’s taking five ingredients and then figuring out five different ways to mix and match those things, whether it’s using different sauces, different ones of each, so maybe you don’t use all five and everything, but with doing that you can pick chicken, you can pick a vegetable, you can pick potatoes, rice, some staples that you know always have around and then you can get different sauces, whether it be buffalo chicken or buffalo for the buffalo chicken or teriyaki or whatever else.

And then you can combine those things in different ways, but you have those few staples. How do you go about planning your meals, Michelle?

Michelle (05:04):
So actually very similar to that, I have my go-tos and then I just know that I’m going to kind of create multiple recipes based off of those main proteins and I tend to focus on the protein. I tend to build around whatever the protein’s going to be, so it makes it easier to swap. And as we mentioned, the sauces are a great way to add variety, mix things up so you’re not getting more, but I find that this also really lowers the mental energy that you have to input and things. I think we talk a lot about time, like time and preparing food time and kind of sitting down and pre logging, but there’s also that mental load that you kind carry with you when you’re actually constantly thinking, okay, how am I going to hit my macros? What can I do? And I think this really helps level that down because all of a sudden you have your go-tos that what you’re going to swap and it makes it a lot easier when you’re grocery shopping even because you know need to pick and pick those up and kind of refill those staples.

Cori (06:05):
And I love that you mentioned planning around your protein first because often if we think about that protein portion and then plan the meal around it, we’re going to hit our protein store, not just chopping down a chicken or canned tuna. I saw that joke in the group the other day where it was like, oh, at the end of the night trying to eat the can tuna to make up the protein. I’m like, you don’t have to do that because if you plan each meal to be around that protein, you can make something delicious, but that includes it. Which brings me to another hack that I think is very important. It’s the bulk prepping a protein. If you have a lot of protein already bulk prep, you can throw it into a lot of different things very easily. Even if you really need to eating it on its own but bulk prepping it, you can then even freeze and you have it to really quickly grab and go. I think so often cooking the chicken, cooking the ground beef, cooking something from scratch, that takes a lot of time and if you just have it there to throw in a soup, to throw in a salad, to throw in a wrap, a sandwich, whatever else, it makes things a lot easier and then you can even freeze that to have on hand when you know you’re going to be busier.

Michelle (07:05):
And I’m going to jump on that because I know I’ve shared this quite a few times. While I can do certain types of proteins prepped, I’m not the person that’s going to reheat and keep eating the same protein throughout the week. I just can’t do that. So for me, bulk prepping my protein means taking the workout. So as you mentioned, if I’m going to be prepping and throwing something into a sauce, I’m going to freeze it so that I can pull it out, toss it into a slow cooker and then have that to kind of eat without having to worry about reheating it all the time and feel like I’m eating it the same thing throughout the week and the same even you can do that cooked and this is really where the sauce is. Making things shredded so that you can add more moisture back into it when you’re reheating is really going to be useful.

Cori (07:48):
I love that you brought up to the bulk prepping and freezing stuff because I think that is a great way to add in diversity. Not only can you buy ingredients that are already frozen because then you can use them whatever you need, you can add more diversity to your diet. It’s easier because the fruits and vegetables won’t go bad and they’re generally peaked at the peak of ripeness, so they actually are very micronutrient dense as well. But you can have all those things on hand to easily be able to pull out when you need, but also by bulk prepping some of the stuff, not only is it ready whenever you need it basically, but you can add in more diversity because you can freshly cook something, have that leftover that you freeze and then make something else new if you don’t have a busy week and then have these two different leftovers to even eat later in the week or the next week to add in diversity to any new meals you might add in. So it’s like you can sort of build up your own meal prep that’s frozen based on having those leftovers where you don’t have to eat the same thing day after day after day. Of course if you don’t like reheating meat, you might not want to do it with meat, but you can do it with different things to have those things to add in diversity to later even.

Michelle (08:49):
Yeah, I think there’s really this misconception that if you are prepping it’s because you are very prepared, you’re very organized, you have a plan. For me prepping is because I’m lazy, I’m just going to double whatever I’m going to make. And so I have it for a later use

Cori (09:07):
Off of that. Being lazy, wanting to hit macros. I thought of another hack that I think is a big game changer but very odd and you guys can tell me if this is really weird, but I like to buy the same thing but different variations of it. So in order to make it easier to hit my macros so that I have a little bit more flexibility in my day, I will get three different brands of yogurt. And I say this because you can get different brands that have different macros. There’s the ratio brand that has a lot of protein or I might get a higher fat one that has higher fat but lower protein, but I’ll get different options to be able to hit whatever macros I need for the day and still be able to have my Greek yogurt parfait at the end. I’ll have different options in terms of different nuts, statin and different fruits because amazingly, while it might be small mangoes versus pineapple versus mixed berry all have different macro breakdowns that you can use to your advantage to hit what you need to hit. Just like if you do red potatoes versus sweet potatoes, white rice versus brown rice. Some of these differences can be small, but the more options you have frozen, canned, non-perishable things, even the better off you’re going to be to be able to adjust if something does pop up during your day. Michelle, am I weird? Do you do this too? Is this not that cool a hack or do I just think it’s really cool?

Michelle (10:23):
No, I do do this. So I have right now I actually have three different yogurts in my fridge for that same reason because some are a little bit higher in fat, some are going to be higher in protein, so it really makes it so I can grab what I actually need at the end of the day. And it’s the same with fruit. You have to have variety just so that you can kind of play with your numbers and not feel stuck. And I also think we’re just creatures of habit. We tend to grab the same thing over and over and over again, which is why even having someone with an outside perspective be like, Hey, you can swap that 1% for 2% and all of a sudden you’re getting a little bit more fat intake. And the same thing with even cuts of meat. Meat, there’s a wide variety of what percentage of fat to protein you can actually get based on what type of cut you are getting. So it’s really just kind of taking those things into consideration and being able to change those out fairly easily.

Cori (11:21):
It’s seeing opportunity in all the different options like ground Turkey, you can get leaner ground Turkey or fatty or ground Turkey, ground beef, same thing. And so it’s using those things to your advantage but also recognizing in doing some of this and having those different options, you get different things that you can make. You might make the Greek yogurt parfait one time with fruit and nuts or you might add granola one other time or even in having the different fruit options there, you’re getting a micronutrient diversity by being able to swap those things in very easily and in a way that you don’t also have to reinvent the wheel. I think that’s the thing we can get bored with meals, but we also don’t realize the little changes that add up swapping in sweet potatoes for your red potatoes or even potatoes for your usual rice.

These little things can make the meal feel new and different along with even just a different sauce which you can easily have on hand and they usually have a longer expiration. You can even make some great ones out of Greek yogurt just by the seasonings you add, but you can get a lot of diversity and keep your meals interesting, but without having to work really hard. I know I’m lazy, so if I can do something that’s still a protein vegetable and a star, your carb source that for me is going to be great or starchy vegetable, that’s going to be great. So I’m going to want to say, okay, I can have my chicken and now I have two different vegetables frozen and I have two different carb sources or higher carb sources, the starchy that I can add in and I’m going to then have that same thing and I can add two different sauces and make it two completely different meals and that’s going to be freaking fabulous and a lot of diversity but not a lot of thought and very easy to have planned in. Again, going back to even one of the hacks I mentioned instead of even the recipe where if you do have a complicated recipe, you enter it as that if you’re not going to change it, but a meal that’s simpler if you have all those portions already listed out, you can easily just save the meal, put it in, and then swap one thing and it makes logging so much quicker.

Love that. As I say, jumping onto another topic, and this one was another one that I think is very fun as a way to hit your macros but also add in that diversity and allow your family to be involved too. And it’s creating the build your own family meals. So I was thinking about this as I always loved growing up the taco bar or the build your own salad or the build your own pizza type things. And with this you can have a lot of fun creating very macro friendly meals for yourself, meals that encourage your family to eat even more macro friendly and for their health and maybe they’re not looking to have an aesthetic goal, but also allow them to enjoy the foods they love because you can have a lot of diversity. You could have the tortilla pizza crust versus maybe they use a pizza dough versus you even bake it into a salad for yourself if you really want. Or with the tacos you can add the amount of meat for the amount of protein you want. So I like that build your own meal where you’re not having to prep different meals for everybody, but you can then customize it to what you need easily without even looking like you’re doing something that’s hitting your macros, which could also be good for a party as well, I would think. So how do you work around that family life to make sure you’re not just having to cook bazillion different variations, Michelle?

Michelle (14:17):
Yeah, I actually love this tip because this is one of the things I get often from moms is that they don’t want to be cooking more than one meal. I’m like, you be, this makes it very easy to be able to do that. So this is actually something that I do as well. We’ll do taco night and sometimes depending on what I’m doing, my taco is really just a taco salad or I’m going to beef up my protein and whatever I’m doing. But I do think that keeps it very, very simple. And the other thing is, again, it comes back to if you are pre-planning your, you can plan around your dinner if that is something that’s important to you is to make sure that you are going to have your family dinner and it’s the same meal, start there, make sure that that’s actually logged so that you can adjust the rest of your day to allow you to be able to eat whatever it is that your family is planning to enjoy that night.

Cori (15:13):
That is one of my top hacks and I even sort of take that out to mean anything that I really want that day. So yeah, if you want that family meal, if there’s a specific thing that you guys are eating and you’re like, well, I’m cooking this and it’s not going to be macro friendly work the rest of your day that you can control around it. Same thing goes if I want dessert, if I know I’m going to have a meal out, if I know I’m going to a party, I always plan that in first. And yeah, sometimes you don’t know the exact macros or you don’t know exactly what you’re going to have, but then you can still plan ahead by saying, okay, I know it’s probably not going to be that high in protein or it might be more calories, therefore I’m going to go higher in protein and lower in calories early in the day to account for it.

But you can have an idea of planning around whatever you really want to work in. It’s just again, goes back to that planning ahead. So often, and I know this is really not sexy, but so often we just don’t plan ahead to help ourselves make a change because in making a change, it’s going to be going against a lot of the ways we’ve always perceived things and always done things and it’s going to take ingraining that new perspective. I can tell you even when I go to a different macro breakdown than the one I’ve been doing, even if it’s technically one that should be easier, there’s more carbs and fat, I’m still like, oh gosh, I’m looking at portions in the way that I had been looking at them. So it’s still hard to now hit that new ratio. So off of this jumping into more tips, and I have no idea what number we’re off, but I’m going through the whole brain vomit list that we came up with. I know we sort of brought this up before, but I wanted to touch base back on this again. We talked about having the non-perishable items, the canned tuna, the frozen shrimp, the frozen vegetables. You also mentioned specifically having snacks to hit your macros on hand. Can you go a little bit into more why that’s so important?

Michelle (16:55):
Yeah, so I think a lot of times during the day we plan our meals, right? That’s kind of like how humans function. We think breakfast, lunch, dinner, but we often forget the in-between the snacks, what we’re going to do when that hunger actually hits us. And while it’s great to plan your meals, it’s also important to be ready and plan those snacks. Really where I see either making or breaking people’s macros is actually those snacks. So again, oftentimes we want to make sure that we’re focusing on higher protein options, but really just making sure that you are prepared. I know again, we keep talking about be prepared plan ahead, but keeping things on hand like cottage cheese and fruit nuts, even jerky or deli meat, whatever it is that you like to consume throughout the day, edamame hard-boiled eggs, all those things are going to help you work towards your end of the day.

Macros and all these things are going to make sure that you’re staying satiated, make sure you’re staying energized throughout the day and really it’s all about making it not as tempting to hit that afternoon sugar rush or that extra drive way up drive when you’re driving on the way and all of a sudden you’re like, Ooh, that looks really good. I’m going to stop in and go pick that up because I’m really hungry. And all of a sudden you’re eating with your eyes and all those kind of can work against you. So we really just want to make sure that we are being aware that we have a pantry or a fridge stock and prepared to also be able to give us the snacks that we tend to eat throughout the day.

Cori (18:30):
And it’s so key because so often life doesn’t really work for us. It doesn’t go the exact way we plan and the more we can make sure that we’re being able to fuel and hit our macros and yeah, maybe it may not be your ideal snack, right? It’s more processed than you usually like or you wanted your meal to make it easier to have something later, but you’re still staying on track and you’re being better than. And I think that’s such a key thing. We don’t think in terms of the 1% improvements over what we’re at right now, the better than we think of the perfect. And there really is no perfect, it’s just those improvements that add up and going off of even having that well stocked pantry, that well stocked fridge so that you have the snacks even knowing go-tos when you go out or if you do have to stop because as much as a fast food restaurant might not be your ideal.

There are lots of macro friendly things that you can get there that will still work in your day. And the more you plan in some things that are around you that you might be drawn towards even the more you’re going to keep yourself on track and make a better decision. Again, it might not be your ideal in terms of food quality, but still staying on track. The success mindset that builds often keeps us more consistent overall. And that’s really what we have to go back to. Am I doing something that keeps me in the same habits, keeps me in the same mindset that moves me forward, or am I doing something that draws me back into those old habits, those old mindsets. So I love having restaurants that I know I can go to quickly here. Things like even places that might just be low calorie enough, even if it’s not perfect and I know it won’t completely blow my macros out of the way.

Macro meals that are perfect for my macros, like things like even Chipotle and Flame Broiler, these different things give you a lot of variety and a lot of options to even slightly customize things, which can be nice, but you can find, again, it might not be your ideal in terms of food quality, but even things at fast food restaurants, grocery stores are great options from getting harbo eggs to grabbing the Greek yogurt, to grabbing cocktail shrimp, to grabbing pre-made chicken, right? There’s so many different options, but it’s again, goes back to planning ahead and being prepared for life to not work with you. Michelle, next tip or thought, sorry, or if you have thoughts on that.

Michelle (20:32):
No, I was just going to say I really like that because I know I mentioned not kind of succumbing to that fast food stop, but you always have to have that plan A and that plan B. And I do think it’s a misconception that all fast food, all those types of foods are always bad. There’s in the last 10 years, dieticians are now being hired by fast food places. They work on trying to make better, there’s good, better, best, and they work on trying to make healthier options for people to actually be able to to consume and kind of enjoy and stay on track. So truthfully, you can pretty much find a healthier option at every single restaurant. Even your favorite restaurants that you tended to go to for your indulgence are probably going to have some better options available.

Cori (21:22):
I will also throw this out sometimes it’s not the healthy option listed on the menu too. And I say this because a lot of times places will have solids and these solids are maybe even not the best option potentially to hit your macros. I can tell you at places like Taco Bell tacos and some of the low calorie tacos they have might be a better option to just help you even be able to work around more easily. So it’s not always being drawn into what might be perceived as the higher food quality option in order to hit your macros and actually find better balance over the day and include more quality foods around those things. Just throwing that out there, as weird as that sounds, and as much as it sounds like it’s encouraging you not to eat those fruits and vegetables, it really is. But you have to understand when something is a perceived healthy thing that’s really not healthy and going to make it a lot harder to get that healthy balance in your day. So off of that, any final tips, hacks that you think are super important that have just made you a macros rockstar?

Michelle (22:24):
Lastly, I know we touched upon this a little bit, but make sure you’re actually using your leftovers. So if you’re going to cook something, try to, I know we brought it up already, but try to actually either use it as lunch again tomorrow or you’re going to reet it and as we talked, you can even make those leftovers into something new. So use what you already have, make sure you’re not reinventing the wheel and it’s going to save you time. And again, that mental energy as well.

Cori (22:54):
And off of that, think in terms of tweaks. You brought that up when you said use the leftovers in different ways, but think in terms of tweaks to meals that you love, things that you already love, a day you’ve previously done where you didn’t hit the macros. Think in terms of tweaks to these different things to help you get closer because that’s really how we create that something sustainable, that lifestyle balance. If you have leftovers and you can use honey mustard sauce versus ranch, great. There’s a little tweak that might add up that might be really close in terms of the macros on those things to be able to hit your macros or think in terms of tweaks to your omelet, okay, I want to reduce fat, can I do one egg instead of two and then add an egg whites for the other thing, or can I change the type of protein I’m adding in otherwise to a lean ground Turkey? But think in terms of tweaks to what you’re doing over massive overhauls. And so even if you haven’t planned ahead today, go back to yesterday where you didn’t plan ahead and where you maybe didn’t hit your macros and say, what are little tweaks I can make to that to now make it easier today and now what are little tweaks I can make today to make it easier for tomorrow? But those tweaks really add up.

Cori (23:55):
Thanks for listening to the Fitness Hack podcast. Again, this is the place where I share all my free work, workout, nutrition tips. I’m never going to run sponsorships or ask you to buy anything. All I ask in return is if you’re enjoying the podcast to leave a rating review or share it with someone you think it might help. This will only take a few minutes and it would mean the world to me and possibly change the life of someone I.

*Please Note: this transcript is auto-generated and there may be some errors in the transcript