Have you ever noticed that it seems like the more you read about exercise and nutrition the more contradictory information you run into?

Especially when it comes to how to determine your portion sizes and track your calories.

We hear you and that is why for this week’s newsletter our team dove into two pieces examining the pros and cons of calorie counting.

The first was a book entitled, “The Last Shred” written by a great physique coached named Andy Morgan who runs the great sited Rippedbody.com

The second was one of Precision Nutrition’s seemingly endless supply of excellent topic specific e-books entitled, “The Best Strategies For Calorie Control.”

Now both of these pieces are excellent.

They are organized and well written. They are thorough and detail oriented. And they each provide tons of excellent information on key concepts and tools to implement that information.

Here’s the thing though…

These two pieces have completely opposite takes on counting calories and determining portion sizes.

Andy Morgan advocates the importance of weighing your food, counting every calorie you consume, and tracking every meal you eat.

On the other hand Precision Nutrition’s piece talks about how they believe that counting calories is not only unnecessary, but because it is so difficult and irritating it is unsustainable and in fact counterproductive.

And here is the other thing…

Both of these pieces are completely right.

What?? How Is That Even Possible??

Now, most likely you are now asking yourself “how can two pieces advocating two completely different approaches to such key concepts both be right?”

Great question and here’s how.

Target Audience

When authors write articles, papers, or books they have an intended target audience that guides the topics and specific information they include in their piece.

This is a key concept to understand because in the world of health and fitness the vast majority of authors don’t specifically state who their piece is intended for.

And that fact leads to a huge amount of seemingly contradictory information and confusion.

See in Andy’s case his target audience is a very specific subgroup of men: Physique competitors or recreational lifters aiming to drop their body fat percentage from 8%-10% down to about 4%.

So given his target audience Andy’s advice makes perfect sense. If you want to drop your body fat percentage from 8% or 10% to 4% you do have to weigh what you eat. You do have to track every calorie you consume. And you do have to build your life around your meals.

That’s why so few people ever want to drop their body fat percentage to 4%!

Because doing so is such a pain the butt!

And Andy will be the first to tell you this!

(But hey, if you want to stand a chance of winning a bodybuilding competition, you have to do what it takes.)

Precision Nutrition’s target audience however is much broader and encompasses individuals with much more common goals.

For instance individuals trying to lose twenty, forty, sixty pounds or more who need to learn basic nutrition information and who need flexible and easy to use tools to help them make healthy food decisions in real time and often in less than ideal situations.

So given Precision Nutrition’s target audience, their guidance to forget trying to count calories and instead rely on using your fist to determine your portion sizes is great advice and makes perfect sense.

(Because let’s be real, If you are a busy hard working adult trying to balance work, family, and life there is no way you are going to have the time, flexibility, or patience to weigh your food, count every calorie, and build your life around your meals.)

What This Means For You

The fact that you’re reading this article means you have a health or fitness goal you want to achieve.

And the fact that you’re reading this article means you’re taking the time to try to gather as much information on how to achieve your goal as possible.

Good on you!

But here’s the rub: to achieve your goal as safely and efficiently as possible you need the best information for you.

And that means you need to read articles, watch videos, and learn from coaches who are addressing topics and giving guidance relevant to your goals, your body, and where you are in your fitness journey.

Just starting out and need easy to use and flexible tools to help you make healthy food choices on the move? Precision Nutrition’s got you covered.

Ready to take your physique to its absolute limit and willing to build your life around your food? Andy Morgan is your guy.

Somewhere in between and at the point where you have the basics covered and are ready for the next step? Then neither of these pieces are perfectly suited for you and you’re going to want to keep looking.

Develop A Discerning Eye

Building a lean strong healthy body comes down to two things.

  1. Acquiring the right knowledge.
  2. Putting that knowledge into action.

But to acquire the right knowledge you need the right sources.

As you’ve seen today great coaches can give out great advice… for different people.

So keep reading, keep studying, and keep learning (always!) but do so with discerning eye.

Think about who you’re reading, the authors target audience, and if you are part of that audience.

Is so, great!

Read on, learn, and apply.

If not, it’s all good! Just move onto a different piece that fits you, your goals, and where you are on your fitness journey.

Doing so will ensure you are always learning the right information for your next step in your health and fitness journey.

Your exercise and dietary coaching team.

Zach Moore Training.

And everyone, if you found today’s article insightful, inspiring or enlightening SUBSCRIBE and if you have a friend, family member, colleague or peer who you think would benefit from what we’ve talked about here today, pass this email on.

One of the best things you can do for those you care about is helping them to build a healthy and great looking body.  A body that is strong, capable and moves without pain and a body in which they feel confident and happy.