Bárbara Martins, a 32-year-old personal trainer and nutrition coach, started lifting weights more than a decade ago, but has always struggled with gaining weight and building muscle.
“My main goal with lifting, since day one, has been to get stronger and put on muscle,” she said.
A little over a year ago, she found herself at one of her lowest weights ever. At that point, she said she was ready to buckle down and get to work in the gym and in the kitchen to gain weight, add muscle, and transform her body to what she’d always envisioned.
With the help of MacroFactor, Bárbara has gained 27 pounds, gotten stronger, and built a more muscular physique.
“My legs are finally the biggest they have ever been – which is super exciting!” she said.
Bárbara said she’s tracked macros with other apps on and off since 2012, but she would often set a calorie target that was too high or unsustainable. She’d achieve her goals temporarily, but she couldn’t keep the weight on.
She also didn’t like that other apps seemed to only consider users who wanted to lose weight. She wanted an evidence-based approach that helped her with her goals and didn’t cajole her into eating less.
She found what she was looking for with MacroFactor.
“Knowing the team behind MacroFactor made me feel confident that this app would deliver on the features, and that it would be science-based,” Bárbara said. “One of the things I don’t like about competitor apps is the focus on ‘weight loss.’ Most apps automatically assume you want to lose weight, which is a bit frustrating for us folks who have been struggling their whole lives to gain some.”
Bárbara’s first goal in MacroFactor was to bulk to 150 pounds. Once she achieved that, she used increments of 5 pounds for every new target weight, which made the timeline seem more manageable and motivating.
She said her biggest win has been proving to herself that she can accomplish her bulking goals.
“I’ve always had the narrative that gaining muscle and weight was especially hard for me due to the digestive issues I’ve always struggled with, but MacroFactor showed me that it is entirely possible if I go about it methodically,” she said.
As a coach and fitness enthusiast, Bárbara has always been data-driven. She enjoys the rich insights MacroFactor provides and the adherence-neutral philosophy of the app.
“I appreciate that MacroFactor doesn’t ‘shame’ users by using color psychology such as red to highlight calorie overages,” she said.
“I love how easy it is to sift through all the different types of data, and the overall focus on data collection. I think a lot of people get very emotional about nutrition, but keeping a scientific approach enables me to course-correct as needed without feelings of guilt or shame. It’s a learning experience, after all, and the more useful and practical data we can get in the process – the better!”
Bárbara also enjoys MacroFactor’s ultra-fast food logging workflows.
“The food log is incredibly fast and easy to use, and the app is much less time-consuming compared to others,” she said. “Sometimes I can’t believe how easy it is to edit a past recipe with new ingredient amounts and plug it into my current day. The barcode scanner function works great, too.”
The ease of use has made her more consistent with logging, too.
“There really are no excuses, since it’s such a simple process,” she said. “I actually copy a lot of my days over, since I tend to eat the same meals most days, and that saves me a LOT of time! It’s one of my favorite features, by far.”
Right now, Bárbara is working toward finishing her bulk. Her goal is to get to 165-170 pounds, at which point she will reassess and decide if she wants to spend some time at maintenance and potentially recomp, or run her first intentional mini-cut. Once that’s done, she intends to spend most of her time in a very mild surplus to limit excess fat gain.
“I just want to keep getting bigger and stronger, but I have all the time in the world and I’m in no rush to get there,” she said.
To conclude our interview, we asked Bárbara what she’s learned along the way, and if she had any advice for other MacroFactor users who have similar goals.
“I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how many obstacles you encounter along the way; it’s about how quickly you can get back on track,” she said. “In the past, I’d often let my struggles derail me for longer than necessary; it’d take me a while to find my footing and motivation again. With MF, I’m able to bounce back from a ‘poor’ day of eating much quicker, because I know that one day of ‘poor eating’ is just a drop in the bucket of my overall progress.”
“My advice for others with a similar goal to mine is to stay the course, and be disciplined. You can train super hard, but you won’t see the results you want until you dial in your nutrition to complement your training. The hardest work is always done in the 23 hours outside of the gym.”
If you’d like to connect with Bárbara, you can find her on Instagram.