crossfit fitness nutrition

Getting lean: why and how and is there a need?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

For most of January I was in with the super-lean fitness crowd and was tracking my macros. In case you’re not in that crowd, tracking your macros means weighing and measuring all your food and calculating the grams of proteins, fats and carbs.

Turns out that tracking your macros is kind of tedious and exhausting. And I felt very OCD.

I’m all for eating well (e.g. kale, poached eggs and mackerel for breakfast today ;), but I couldn’t keep up with the measuring and weighing of every bite of my food.

Even though for the most part food is fuel for me and not entertainment, I still would like my meals to be enjoyable, relaxing, social and pleasant. Handling food with military precision- ensuring my plate at every meal had the ‘correct’ ratio of proteins, carbs and fats – sucked pretty much all joy out of my meals.

Why did I start it in the first place? Wasn’t my main New Year’s Non-Resolution just to focus on veg and protein first and foremost for every meal?

You know how I always say “go with how it FEELS to live in your body and not with how someone (media / you yourself / your BFF / Instagram / etc.) says you should LOOK like”?

The thing is that I do feel great in my skin but for most of my days my head is up in the Crossfit/fitness cloud and on that cloud a lot of the bodies around me are tough and strong and lean as heck. Thankfully my real life Crossfit crew is more about the fun of Crossfit and improving your fitness than just getting lean for the sake of getting lean, but social media is full of shiny abs every time something is Crossfit related. Shiny six packs are nice to look at but they do my head in at the same time. Something like that is simply not a realistic goal for me.

I therefore need to remind myself of my own advice (see above) once in a while because I have way too many days of wanting to look like Camille.

I work out 7 days a week so sometimes my brain just throws a proper tantrum and screams “Whaaaaa! Woe is me! Why the heck do I not look like Camille already?!?!?!”

Well, the thing is that Camille works out 7 days a week too, and most likely twice a day. And she is not close to 40 and she doesn’t have two kids and a job and a long commute every day.

Getting the kind of body that the world’s best competitive Crossfit athletes have requires a LOT more work than my 7 days of running / Crossfit / bouldering / swimming. Look at this great infographic from Precision Nutrition, Camille is no doubt at the bottom of that image, I am in the middle with my body fat of 22%.

Cost of getting lean. Source: Precision Nutrition
Read the related article here. Go on. It’s good. I’ll wait until you come back.

Makes you think, doesn’ t it? It definitely makes me think – do I really want a solid six pack when it means that I won’t be able to really hang out with my family and friends when food (or alcohol) is involved, and that every single day of my life would be a 100% focused on my nutrition and my exercise and my sleep and my recovery? As if I weren’t a ‘selfish’ mother already!*

This post is therefore very much a reminder to myself that:

I am enough.

I exercise enough.

I am lean enough.

I look good enough.**

I need to chill the heck out over macros, eat what makes my body feel good and gives me energy to work out the way I love it and just get on with enjoying life. A little muffin top has never held me back from doing anything I’ve wanted to do.

Anyone give me an Amen?

*The haters gonna hate… I myself don’t consider myself selfish.
**For those who matter ;)

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  • Sarah B Thursday, 26 February 2015 at 22:25

    Great post! I know exactly where you’re coming from on this – and sometimes all the motivation pictures on twitter and social media can be exactly the opposite! It’s good to see the other side and the trade offs.

  • Stephanie @ A Magpie in the Sky Thursday, 26 February 2015 at 21:50


  • Sim @ Sims Life Thursday, 26 February 2015 at 12:44

    I know full well I will never have a 6 pack, no matter how often and hard I work out. So long as I get to my target weight and I am healthy, then I will be happy – awesome post – have never looked into macros but do not have the patience to measure everything out, I rely on MyFitnessPal for all my calorie counting x

    • MrsB Thursday, 26 February 2015 at 13:58

      For MyFitnessPal, do you not have to weigh the food?

      • Sim @ Sims Life Thursday, 26 February 2015 at 14:13

        To an extent but a lot of food these days has the half pack or full pack calorie content. I do have to weigh out crisps and pretzels but I make it easier for myself by having the same/similar foods every day. The barcode scanner also makes it very easy to just zip a WW meal and the calorie content details are already stored.

  • Noel Tuesday, 24 February 2015 at 18:46

    Amen to that!

  • Anna @AnnaTheApple Tuesday, 24 February 2015 at 16:14

    Great post and great attitude. Really liked the article too – makes sense. You can have a banging super lean body…and have no life because all you’re doing is maintaining that banging super lean body. Life is about balance!

  • colchambers Tuesday, 24 February 2015 at 15:30

    You’re bang on. Tracking macros is mind numbing and no where near as accurate as you’re led to believe.

    The whole of your life determines your health not just the stuff you eat so go enjoy yourself a little. That’s the only way I know to really deal with cravings.

    Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder as does obsession. Balance is homeostasis which is a healthy body.

  • Helen Tuesday, 24 February 2015 at 15:01