Author: Dr. Alli Cain
Read time: 8 minutes
How am I supposed to reach, to motivate and lead people if I cannot relate to their needs because I have not addressed my own?
My mindset is everything when it comes to leading others to health, fitness & nutrition success. I've chosen a growth mindset for myself, and guide others through a growth mindset as they navigate the world of "if it fits your macros."
Macros is more than just a number for your carbs, your fats and your protein. It's deciding to make your health a priority, to set a goal and to put in work to achieve it. To work through obstacles. To feel success. To know that you are in control of who you are, how you feel and what you look like. Helping people to move from a fixed to a growth mindset is an underlying theme of macros coaching. This is not just about having ripped abs- this is gaining confidence in yourself, feeling good and being in control of you.
To succeed at macros you must first adopt the right mindset.
"Don't work too hard. Having to put forth effort means that you probably aren't good enough anyways. Don't show weakness. Avoid things that lead to failure. If you are faced with a challenge - make excuses, place blame on others - become a victim."
These are the inner musings of someone with a fixed mindset.
As long as you keep the status quo, you can accomplish anything you want easily. You never have to deal with constructive criticism because you never make a mistake - this is when you are happiest! No one dare point out a place where you can work on bettering yourself.
Think about someone in your life - a co-worker, family member, friend - someone who just always makes you feel less than. They go out of their way to complain, to make you feel like your goals are not possible, to take your accomplishments and do everything they can to take away your pride.
This person when receiving constructive criticism takes it as an attack, rather than for an opportunity to grow.
Hard work is avoided at all costs.
With a fixed mindset, individuals believe their inherent, basic qualities, like their athleticism, intelligence or talent are fixed and cannot be changed. They believe that they can do nothing to change their situation, and that the only way to be successful is for it to be innate.
They are wrong.
"Learn. Implement. Be dedicated. Reflect. Address your mistakes. Be an active participant in your continued growth. Failure isn't a stopping point, it's merely an opportunity to re-route and try again."
With a growth mindset, individuals believe that even their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication, effort & hard work. They have a love for learning, and see failure as an opportunity rather than a dead-end.
Applying a growth mindset when tracking your macros means that you understand it's a learning curve, and requires your consistent effort. Working with a coach to track your macros means that consistent reflection on your active participation in the process is necessary. Mistakes will be made - but they will help you grow!
The beautiful thing about fixed vs. growth mindset is that it's your choice. All of your thoughts, the level of effort you put forth, and how hard you choose to work is all up to you to decide.
So, will you stay fixed, or will you grow?
Last month, I held my first 30 day "intro to macros" challenge. It was geared towards members of my gym, but I opened it up to anyone who was interested in having someone guide them through 30 days of learning how to track their macros (carbs, fats & proteins). I added a new service to complement the challenge, which was a one-time macros calculation, that many individuals opted to use to pair with the 30 day challenge. In my opinion, this was the best way to tackle tracking macros for the first time as you could be sure the macros you were working with were best suited to you as they came from an experienced coach. Feedback from the 30 day challenge, and especially from those who had their macros calculated for them was extremely positive.
The more people I work with, the better I become as a nutrition coach. Everyone is unique in their background, their goals, their body type and how they approach their nutrition. Each time my nutrition questionnaire is filled out, it's more information for me to work with. Over the past year, I have noticed a trend when people fill out the specific questions I ask. The first thing I noticed was in response to this question:
What is your current caloric intake (estimate if you do not know):
The majority of people, and women especially, respond with crazy-low number that they have been trying to hit daily, but have had limited success.
These individuals often struggle to make a meaningful change to their body composition, their lifestyle and their nutrition because the target calories and macros they set for themselves are far too low. They have set themselves up for failure the minute they punch in these "too-low" numbers into their my fitness pal.
Their selection typically will stem from the misguided thought that the more aggressive the diet, the better and faster the results. This lack of patience becomes a quick issue for many, as adherence to this type of program is often difficult. The more deprived you are, the more likely you will abandon your diet completely, and typically when you do, your calories and macros are blown out of control. Even if it's just one day or one meal, the caloric deficit you had previously suffered to create. are completely erased in this one moment of weakness. You arrived back at square one - upset, frustrated and tempted to make an even bigger cut to your macros to "undo the damage."
Another question I ask in my initial nutrition questionnaire is
Be as specific as possible about your current exercise regimen:
Another interesting trend here - people seeking my guidance are an extremely active bunch, and they've been active for years! Getting themselves to the gym proves to be no issue, and in fact many people are putting 10+hours a week into their fitness. With this amount of dedication to your training, why are you so loose with your nutrition and leaving the food you put in your body up to chance?
Your best bet when beginning to count our macros is to make it work for your lifestyle, don't change your life for your diet! Food is meant to be enjoyable, and the moment you restrict yourself, you give food power over you. Gain control back by empowering yourself to learn how to eat what you want, and still have it work towards giving you the results you want. Macros works - it's proven week after week with every check in that shows my clients getting leaner, while subsequently gaining strength all the while enjoying their foods and their life! Don't spend another summer avoiding social gatherings because you're scared it will "blow your diet." Counting your macros will make food work for your lifestyle.
Working with a trained professional who can set you up for success from the beginning, use your weekly data and check-ins to make any necessary updates, provide accountability for you and support your goals.You're not in this alone!
- Coach Alli
Dr. Alli Cain is a doctor of chiropractic, nutrition coach & CrossFit coach.
She is co-owner of CrossFit Groundworx in Newmarket, ON.
She has a passion for helping people to love their body through a healthy dose of exercise and teaching proper nutrition.