Fresh, Small-Batch Nutrition for Better Health & Performance

How to Get Leaner for Race Season in 15 Minutes a Day, Part 1

By Jen Kates, Founder and Coach of Shift Human Performance

It's February and the holiday season is long gone. Race season is just around the corner for many of us. Are you still holding on to a few extra pounds from the holidays? What if I told you that you could drop the extra few pounds in just 15 minutes a day?

No, this isn’t some sort of gimmick. This is a method that’s been proven time and again, not only in research studies, but also with my personal experience with myself and with the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with over the years. 

Don’t believe me? Let me show you how.

First things first, do you know how much you eat every day? Truly know? Not just “I have an idea” or “yeah, kinda.” I mean REALLY know.

Have you ever tracked your food intake for a day? Or, better yet, for a week or two?

Let me start by saying that tracking your food intake does not have to be as laborious as you think. You can see how much food you eat in a day in only about 15 minutes with some simple tools and know-how, especially once you get the hang of it.

Start by downloading a free food tracking app, like MyFitnessPal, or pay a few dollars for MyMacros+. Both of these apps have a fairly extensive food database that’s searchable and makes entering your food intake for each meal even easier then you think.

There’s no need for a food scale, or any amount of counting and measuring if you don’t want to do that. The only thing you need to do is be honest with yourself: don’t use this time to “clean up” your diet and eat what you think is “perfect.” Also, if you eat a meal at a restaurant, then search the database for a similar meal from a similar restaurant. But be honest: don’t simply choose the option in the database that’s lower in fat, carbs, or calories simply because you’re in disbelief with how much you’re actually eating. Be sure to check-in and ask yourself if you’re choosing the best option in the database to reflect what you’re actually eating.

Whatever you do, don’t try to be perfect, either. Just aim to be as accurate as you can be. If you’re not sure if you ate a cup or a half cup of rice, then choose somewhere in the middle. Just aim to be consistent with your tracking for a week or two, and be honest with your portion sizes.

So, you’re probably wondering: how and why does this technique work?

First of all, it brings awareness to what you eat on a daily basis. Awareness is key in making any progress simply because you’re more cognizant of what you’re regularly putting into your mouth by removing the guesswork. Being more aware of what you’re eating can potentially help you realize a correlation between what you’re eating and how you feel during your training and races. Also, it can help you start to make better choices for your meals without much effort since you’re having to track your food - ultimately, it helps hold yourself accountable.

What do you do after you track your food intake for a couple of weeks? I'll cover that in the second part to this series to be released soon. For now, try tracking your food intake for the next two weeks to get you started by being more aware of what you’re eating.

Interested in learning more or have any questions about this technique? Please contact me at and I'll help guide you.

You can find the second part of How to Get Leaner for Race Season in 15 Minutes a Day here.

About Jen Kates, CHC, NASM-CPT, Pn2

Jen has been coaching for over 10 years and founded Shift Human Performance after working in the biotech research industry for 12 years. Through Shift Human Performance, she specializes in coaching busy professionals on how to unleash their full potential by optimizing their nutrition, fitness, stress management, sleep, and recovery, without spending countless hours in the kitchen or the gym.

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