MacroFactor Calorie Counting App: "Lose Weight, Gain Muscle, Maintain Results"
The science of nutrition considers food, our behaviors as they relate to food, and the physiology of digestion (how the body breaks food down). Macronutrients are not only essential to our daily diet, but they are needed in bigger (macro) quantities when compare to micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. A tried-and-true approach to diet is tracking (counting) calories. Although this is not the only way to approach diet for changes in body composition and might not be suited for everyone, a diet works because the calories are observed and manipulated. Many apps on the market exist to help set goals and track calories, but MacroFactor is leading for two main reasons: 1) the team of scientists/researchers behind it are at the forefront of health and fitness industry. 2) Their philosophy is to burden the hard work and calculations to present a user-friendly app with empathy.
If you want to try MacroFactor for free use our promotional code, "TSF", when signing up.
What are Calories, Macronutrients, and Why Should You Care to Track Them?
Before moving on begin thinking calories are currency like dollars, euros, or whatever currency you earn, save, spend. Essentially, we earn (consume), save (store) or spend (burn) calories just like money.
This isn't an in depth article on calories and macronutrients, but one is soon to be published. Here are some definitions and facts. Hoeger (2018)
Calorie is a unit of heat (the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1kg of water by 1 degree and it has been used to describe the energy content of food and the energy cost of exercise since the 1800's. Hargrove (2006)
Are a major source of calories providing energy to
Maintain cell function
Within 1 gram of carbohydrate are 4 calories
Are the most concentrated energy source of calories, but do more:
Provide structure to cells
Insulate the body
Protect and absorb shock to vital organs
Supply essential fatty acids
Transport fat-soluble vitamins
Within 1 gram of fats are 9 calories
More than double the amount of calories in carbohydrates and proteins
Are the least used macronutrient as a source of energy compared to carbohydrates and fats, but have other important functions
Build and repair tissues
Bones, internal organs, blood, skin, hair, and of course muscles
Make up enzymes
Essential for normal daily function
Only used for energy if insufficient carbohydrates and fats available to supply energy
Within 1 gram of proteins are 4 calories
What is MacroFactor?
MacroFactor is a calorie counting app, but surpasses the service and functionality of competitors like MyFitnessPal and Carbon. MacroFactor’s main purpose is to take your goals, preferences, nutrition intake, and weight data, and dynamically update your calorie and macronutrient recommendations.
One factor that sets them apart is they provide solid recommendations and adjustments even if you aren't so consistent with the app. In all fairness, they recognize change is difficult so while you work on developing this positive lifestyle change you might miss logging a few meals or days. Know that everything you log is data, and all (accurate) data is useful. If you log your weight and nutrition intake consistently, and do your best to remain close to the recommendations, you’ll get the results you want.
Other features include
The fastest food logger
Verified food database
Custom macronutrient programs
Smart energy expenditure calculation
Weekly macronutrient plan adjustments
Track your period
A Sophisticated weight trending data
To pull weight or nutrition data from other apps
A full-fledged knowledge base of "How To"
A habit-tracking function
Track micronutrient intake
Everything they offer revolves around this simple process:
You log your weight
You log your nutrition
You state your goal
They show you how to get there
What is the MacroFactor Philosophy
If you read their 3-part article on the development of MacroFactor you will see "Why" it came about, how they are so transparent with their purpose and intentions. Professionally or personally speaking transparency allows you to make a decision whether an idea, product or service aligns with your values and how you move forward.
Their philosophy aligns with ours which is simple:
Help you reach your goals
Reduce the stress associated with change, which in this case is food logging
Compared to other calorie tracking apps they make adherence-neutral calorie and macronutrient recommendations. Which means they recognize you are human, we are not robots and we're not perfect.
They take into account the fact that this is about habit building, mindfulness, and watching what you eat. The more consistent you are with logging your meals the more accurately the algorithm and coaching is and the sooner you reach your goal. However, you are not penalized for not logging a weigh-in, snack, meal or even a day. As with any positive lifestyle change, you want to get back on board as soon as possible and eventually it becomes second nature.
"You don’t have to eat like a robot and perfectly adhere to your daily or weekly targets for us to make appropriate adjustments to your weekly calorie and macro targets over time" - Greg Nuckols
Another important component that stands out is their belief in "No Shaming" With MacroFactor there are no penalties for exceeding calorie targets, no design elements or pop-ups scolding them for doing something "wrong". This removes a rather negative barrier associated with other calorie counting apps, therefore, encouraging more frequent and accurate food logging.
At The Smart Fit we believe in positively motivating our clients and the learning process rather than instilling feelings of guilt and shame. For this reason, we also support MacroFactor and their mission.
How to use the app?
First you have to download the app in your respective app store. Whether you're team Apple or team Android MacroFactor can be found easily. Once you download and use the promotional code, "TSF", you'll have 2 free weeks before deciding to continue with your positive lifestyle change or try something else.
To set up it is recommended that unless you absolutely know how to categorize your physical activity level, under estimate it and assume you do less physical activity than you think you do. It is a known fact that most people over estimate the amount physical activity they do and under estimate the amount of calories they consume (Brown et al., 2016). Under estimating the physical activity level when beginning to use the app will ensure you get a good jump start on the program and your goals.
Below are tips for a successful change:
For best results
Log weight daily
The more you enter, the more data the "coach" has to make appropriate adjustments to your diet and determine trends to guide your future changes
Log food intake as accurately and reasonably for you
On the go
Use the barcode scanner to log food making sure to enter the right serving size
Before going out to eat
Check the menu and see what the macros look like review the nutritional profile.
Check out this article on 5 tips when going out to eat and staying on track with your diet
MacroFactor comes with a built in recipe creator enter your favorite recipes making it easier and more seamless throughout the week to log meal
How does the app work behind the scenes?
Everything is based on a simple assumption:
Changes in body composition depend on changes in stored energy within the body, and that is related to the CICO equation which is (Calories In) - (Calories Out) = Weight Change
During your first setup, the initial caloric estimation based on Cunningham equation. Although it's a rough estimate it's only the beginning and weekly check-ins and consistent logging help make more appropriate changes.
Understanding and focusing on the weight trend versus daily weigh-ins
Short-term fluctuations (noise) from
Lots of sodium
Hard workout sessions
Undigested food in process
Based on fat mass versus lean body mass
Averaging the weight is a better indicator of progress than a single weigh-in.
Most recent weigh-ins still carry more importance
Doesn’t overreact to short-term fluctuations in weight
Isn’t slow to pick up on real trends as they develop
Remember, changes in weight reflect changes in stored chemical energy over time. This means the estimated caloric content of weight gained or lost once identifies your weight trend, and that shows how large of a calorie deficit or surplus you’ve been in. From there calorie and macronutrient recommendations are easy and based on personal preference.