How To Make Calorie Counting Easier

how to make calorie counting easier

This article is going to entirely dedicated to showing you tips and tricks on how to make calorie counting easier.

I get it, it can be hard at times.

You have to weigh every single thing out, use a food scale, keep track of what you are eating.

Sometimes it may seem a bit too time consuming or whelming.

Not to worry though because today you are going to learn the best strategies to make calorie counting easier.

The only caveat is, you have to read the entire article.

You can’t skip around or lackadaisically read it. Make sure to to continue reading each line left to right.

We as humans skim around, I get it. We don’t like waiting!

Yet I promise you if you stay locked into reading this, you will find some insanely useful tips you can take with you today to start making calorie counting a bit easier.

Sound like a fair trade? Cool, then let’s get right into it.

How To Make Calorie Counting Easier

How To Count Calories

If you are reading an article on “how to make calorie counting easier”, then clearly you must be either currently counting calories or looking to start.

( Shocker Eric, way to really go investigator to figure that one out! ).

With that being said, I need to make sure you and I are on the same page before moving forward.

The amount of people who I talk to on a daily basis, whether instagram, Tik Tok, emails, wherever.

Who claim that they are counting calories…

Then I come to find out they aren’t using a food scale, they aren’t weighing out their food, they aren’t tracking the weekends.

Is nothing short of insane and astonishing to me.

Which is why I need to make tis very clear up front first and foremost.

If you are not

  • Using a food scale to weigh out all of your food in grams ( not cups, or tablespoons, or ounces)
  • Tracking every single bite and snack and drink you consume
  • Tracking 7/7 days, including the weekends

You are not counting calories accurately or correctly.

Just because you scan the barcode of your food and put it into my fitness pal, that doesn’t mean you are tracking calories.

Because if you aren’t actually weighing that food on a food scale, and you are just guesstimating the portion size.

Well guess what chief, you are guesstimating the calories. You really have no clue how many calories you are eating.

If you are guesstimating the calories, you are going to get guesstimating results.

Therefore before I dive into anything else here, PLEASE don’t be that person.

Make sure you can confidently say you are counting calories correctly.

I have an entire free video on step by step how to count calories, I can link that HERE. ( This is legit the same video I send my online coaching clients who pay me money to coach them ).

I also have an article HERE I wrote on the most common calorie counting mistakes.

I am harping on this because it is really, really important. Make sure you are doing all of the right things in order to see the progress you want to see.

How To Make Calorie Counting Easier : 7 Tips

Now that we are on the same page on how you need to be counting calories to see progress, let’s dive into 6 ways on how to make calorie counting easier.

Again, be sure to read through every one and make sure you are crystal clear on how to implement that into your daily routine.

Tip # 1 – Start Small

This is going to be something I steal right from what I do with my online coaching clients .

Especially if you are first starting off with counting calories or even if you have been for a while but are struggling, you need to find ways to make this less overwhelming.

It can be a lot at times to track your food, weigh it on your food scale, put it into your app, the whole 9.

I get it.

That is why one thing I have done religiously for any of my clients is the first week or two of working together, I simply just have them track their calories with no calorie goal.

No number they have to hit.

The goal is simply just to track calories as accurately as humanly possible. I don’t care what the number is at the end of the day, the main goal is to track!

This can help because oftentimes if you are fixated on hitting a calorie number, while you are already struggling to count calories to begin with, it creates a lot of stress, anxiety, and feeling of failure.

You are stressed about hitting a number or going over that number, while adding on top of this you don’t even know if you are doing it right!

Then if god forbid you do go over your calories a day or two ( don’t even get me started.. news flash, you won’t be perfect with your calorie count everyday! ), you feel even more like a failure!

This is why the first step I always tell people is to just TRACK.

Don’t worry about a number to hit or what the number comes to at the end of the day.

For a week or two, just get damn comfortable with the process of counting calories.

Using your food scale, weighing in grams, tracking every bite, using your app, etc.

Then after that, once you feel comfortable, then shoot to hit your calorie goal ( knowing you won’t be perfect still! ).

This way you aren’t putting so much unnecessary pressure on yourself, causing you to feel like a failure, and quit.

By the way, if you need or want to know how many calories you should eat to lose weight, you can head HERE for my free calculator.

Sound good?

Tip #2 – Eat Similar Foods

Here is where I am going to remind you the title of this article is “How To Make Calorie Counting Easier” not “How To Make Calorie Counting Sexier”.

Because this tip is certainly not going to be “sexy” but it is damn sure going to make your life easier.

One of the best tips I can give you to save you a whole lot of time, effort, and decision making, is to eat similar foods on a day to day, week to week basis.

If you want to take it even steps further, eat them in the same quantities.

When you eat similar foods every single day, what happens?

Number one your calorie counting app is going to remember them. Let’s say every morning you are having a certain type of oatmeal that you weighed out as 40g.

You won’t have to go in and re scan the oatmeal every single time, nor will you have to adjust the serving size.

If you wake up every morning and have 40g of oatmeal, your calorie counting app is going to remember that.

( Myself and my clients use the app My Fitness Pal to track our calories ).

You can just head to your app and plug it in the same as the day before or even the week before. Again your app should remember it.

Therefore that is one less you will have to worry about and save you some time on your end.

Also, you will start to know how many calories that is going to come out to each morning.

This will help with calorie counting but also it will help you start to visually see how many calories something comes out to be, what the portion size looks like, etc.

Or let’s say everyday you are having some watermelon.

If you consistently eat watermelon on a daily basis ( which, you should, it is amazing!! ) you will have to spend much less time counting the calories on it because it should be like clockwork at that point.

Let Me Say This…

I often get pushback on this because “ I don’t like to eat the same thing everyday!”.

Which, I get it.

I will ask you, do you like seeing results?

Haha… kidding… kind of.

Second, I am not saying you need to eat the same exact things everyday.

Of course you can have variety, but eating a lot of similar foods throughout the course of the week can save you a tremendous amount of time.

They also don’t have to be foods you hate, btw. They can ( and should! ) be foods you enjoy.

For example, everyday for me I have

  • Steak
  • White rice
  • Spinach
  • Watermelon
  • Protein shake ( I LOVE Legion Athletics. Best tasting protein ever. You can head HERE and save 20% on your first purchase by using my code “ERIC” at checkout if you wanna try).
  • Watermelon
  • Bananas
  • Greek Yogurt

Pretty much every single day. Yet, I enjoy all of those foods, thoroughly enjoy!

My favorite meal of all time is steak and rice. I can eat that everyday forever!

So it isn’t like I hate my life doing it and you don’t have to either.

Find foods you enjoy, eat them often, and make your calorie counting journey easier.

Tip # 3 – Eat Simple Foods

Again, another not so sexy one, as well as one I get pushback on, but again it is going to help tremendously.

Let’s be honest, if you are cooking a dish that has 69 different ingredients in it… Good luck tracking that.

Good luck doing the math equation of calorie counting that.

Now, you could ( and I actually have a whole article HERE on how to do that if you need to check that out ) but again, it is going to make it harder.

Not easier.

This article is on how to make calorie counting easier and less time consuming, not harder or more time consuming.

Eating simple foods are going to help you do just that.

By simple foods I mean one ingredient foods.

Oatmeal for example. That is a one ingredient food. It is just that, oatmeal.

Strawberries, one ingredient.

Steak, one ingredient.

Banana, one ingredient.

Do you get the trend here?

Now of course you can mix food. For example, if you wanted to throw some bananas into your oatmeal.

That is fine! Yet those are two one ingredient foods being combined.

That is still insanely easy to track and count. You count the banana, you count the oatmeal, perfect.

As opposed to making a dish that has all of these extravagant ingredients that make it impossible to count the calories with.

Now again, if that is something you enjoy doing, you can tell me to F off, I get it.

Yet if you are still reading this searching for how to make calorie counting easier, eating simple one ingredient foods is going to help you tremendously.

Save the complex dishes for maybe once a week, or for after a few weeks passes of you consistently counting calories, seeing results, changing your habits, etc.

Also, not for nothing, these one ingredient foods tend to keep you fuller longer as well as more satisfied.

So they are going to actually make sticking to your calorie count easier as well, which will help you see better results.

See? Helping you in anyway I can here.

Tip # 4 – Have 3-5 Go To Meals

how to make calorie counting easier have go to meals

This one is big.

This is something I use all the time with my coaching clients. I make them sit down and give me 3-5 breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options that they are going to have no matter what.

This is going to do a few things.

Number one it is going to take the decision making and guesswork out of it.

Oftentimes people deem calorie counting as “hard” because they are trying to figure out what to eat on the fly.

There is no plan or no rhyme or reason. Just throwing slime at a wall and hoping it sticks.

You can’t live life that way and expect to be successful.

You have to have a plan.

Therefore taking some time to plan out 3-5 meals and snacks you can have and go to no matter what is going to give you that security blanket.

No matter what, you know you can have these go to meals and rock it.

Number two is going to be you will know the calories of these meals and can work it into your schedule!

If you have a meal of let’s say

  • 150g of steak
  • 100g of rice
  • 50g of watermelon
  • 50g of spinach

And you know that meal comes out to call it 550 calories.

Then you won’t have to wonder how many calories you are about to eat, if it is going to fit into you daily limit, or figuring out the calorie count.

You know exactly what you are going to eat and exactly how many calories it is.

No decision making, no guess work.

You can’t tell me that isn’t going to make your life easier.

One of the most important things I can stress to you about nutrition is you have to take out as much decision making and guesswork as you can.

The more you know and plan ahead of time the better.

Having 3-5 go to meals can help with that tremendously.

Not to mention, once again, you can save these meals in your calorie counting app.

If you want to have the same breakfast, just pull up the saved meal, and have it in there.

You won’t have to rescan or re enter the information, just literally click 3 buttons and you are good to go.

You still have to weigh your food out to make sure it is a proper portion size, but it can’t be much easier than that.

Pro Tip

Something I do, and a ton of my online coaching clients do to be successful, is what I am about to tell you.

We pick one meal a day and we eat the same thing damn near everyday.

Now obviously there are days where we switch up, again if you have a list of 3 breakfast options.

Maybe one week you do option one, next week option 2, next week option 3.

Whatever, but the point being, make one meal the same each day.

For the majority of my clients it is breakfast.

For me, it is breakfast.

Every. Single. Day. I have


Again, I love it. It gives me good energy, it is high protein, I feel great when I eat it.

But point being I eat that same thing everyday. Do you know how easy that is for me? I have the calorie count memorized by heart.

I would strongly encourage you to pick one meal a day and make it the same or very, very similar.

Make it something you like and enjoy, but there is no denying the fact that almost everyone I see who is successful at losing weight and changing their body does something like this.

By the way, I did an entire video on how to come up with your own specific meals. Again, this is essentially the same thing I do with my online coaching clients.

I will link that video HERE if you want to create your own!

Tip # 5 – Pre Portion Food

When it comes to how to make calorie counting easier this tip is great because this can apply to regular food or pre packaged food.

Let’s talk pre packaged food for a second.

Let’s take the greek yogurt I eat. I will put a pic of it here.

This greek yogurt is pre packaged, I know exactly how many calories are inside this container.

This portion size is already done for me. I know one container is x amount of calories, perfect!

Or let’s take my protein powder for example.

how to make calorie counting easier protein powder

^^ this flavor is INSANE by the way. You can get that HERE and use my code “ERIC” for 20% off if you want to try.

Again, I know one scoop of protein is x calories for 22g of protein.

No wondering there, no guessing. The portion size is already done for me, I just follow it.

This can make your life a hell of a lot easier if you can find quality pre packaged foods.

Or let’s say you are making chicken breasts for example.

What you can do is before you cook them, cut the fat off, separate the breasts, with them on your food scale one by one, and put them into zip lock bags.

This way if and when you go to cook said chicken breast, you know exactly how much you are eating because you already pre portioned it out.

We can use watermelon as an example.

Let’s say you cut up a nice juicy watermelon. You can get some containers and say for every container I am going to put 100g of watermelon in these containers.

You weigh it out, make sure it is 100g, then put it in the container. Honestly you could even put a sticky note on it reminding yourself it is 100g.

Put it in the fridge for later and you are golden.

This way, you don’t even weigh the food later on! You know exactly the serving and how many calories it is because you did the work up front.

Just input it into your calorie counting app and you are good to go.

Less guesswork, less decision making, easier to follow.

You could do this with literally any food, not just watermelon or chicken breast.

Oatmeal in the morning, rice at night, whatever!

Tip # 6 – Pre Enter Your Day Of Eating

This one I won’t harp on too much because I basically already touched on it above.

Yet it is so important I just couldn’t leave it out.

We talked earlier about getting 3-5 meals, pre entering those meals and saving them in to my fitness pal.

Also talked about eating the same foods that will it will stay in my fitness pal.

You could take all of this a step further and do what a lot of my clients who are incredibly successful do.

This being, the night before, pre input you food into your calorie counting app for the next day.

Pre log your breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, all of it.

This way, during that day, you won’t have to log anything. You already know exactly what you are going to eat.

At this point you just make sure you eat that, not think about anything else, and you are good to go.

I cannot emphasize enough how much this has made an impact on my clients who are the most successful in their journey.

This is the quintessence of taking out the guesswork and decision making. You literally know exactly what you will eat in what quantity you will eat it in.

Does it take some planning and time up front? Yep, sure does.

Does it make things easier in the long run? Yep, sure as hell does!

If you are not already, I would strongly, strongly encourage you to pre log your food into your calorie counting app for the next day ahead.

You are basically guaranteeing success. Again, so many people try to fly by the seat of their pants, not going to work honey bunches of oats. Not going to work.

Tip # 7 – Eating Out & Tracking Calories

One thing that can be tough when counting calories is eating out.

You aren’t in 100% control of your food, you can’t weigh it on your scale.

So what do you do? Say f*ck it? Quit? Say since you can’t be perfect just throw your hands up and eat everything?

No Silly Goose!

You do the best you can!

I have an entire article on how to eat out at restaurants and track the calories in them so I won’t go super in depth.

I can link that HERE if you want to check it out.

Yet what I will say is once again, planning ahead.

Do they the menu online? If yes do they have the calories listed? ( Most chain restaurants do! ).

if no, what can you get to still be mindful of calories? Can you guesstimate given what you see on the menu?

Basically, yes your calorie count might not be perfect that day, and that is okay.

You don’t need to be perfect, you just need to be consistent.

Don’t freak out if here and there you have to guesstimate on calories, that shouldn’t be what you always do, but it is inevitable at times.

Make the best of the situation you can and keep things moving!

How To Make Calorie Counting Easier : Think About This…

Okay so you just read over 7 different tips you can immediately take into action today on how to make calorie counting easier.

Now, I want to talk about this.

I often get pushback from people saying something to the effect of “calorie counting takes too much time”.


Yes, you are right, it does take extra time and effort from you.. Most things in life worth having normally do?

Therefore I would ask you.

Do you think it is worth it?

Let’s truly analyze how long it takes per day to use your food scale, use a calorie counting app, and count calories.

From doing this for a long, long time now, I would say anywhere from an extra 5-15 minutes per day, MAX.

There is no way in gods green earth you are spending more than 15 minutes counting calories per day, that I know for a fact.

Now, before I go into anything else, think about that.

15 minutes.

You probably spend more time scrolling on your social media feeds each day by FAR.

Or watching Netflix.

Or doing any various things not getting you closer to your fitness goals.

So, that being said, is 15 minutes a day worth it to you?

Is it reaching your goals worth 15 minutes?

Is feeling more confident, losing weight, fitting into a bathing suit, having your partner look at you actually excited to have sex, improving your blood pressure.

Improving your relationship with food, getting stronger, having more energy.

All of those things.

Is that worth 15 minutes of your day?

Idk, to me, and a lot of my clients, it is.

To you it might not be, I don’t know. But I do know it comes down to weighing out your costs vs benefits.

The benefits of you feeling physically and mentally better about yourself and your body, do those outweigh the costs of taking 15 minutes a day max to count calories?

I don’t know man, to me, the answer is hell yes.

I will let you decide that for yourself.

How To Make Calorie Counting Easier : The End!

Well you did it, you got through the whole thing!

See, it wasn’t that bad right?! Plus I know if you got this far you will at least take home one thing you can put into practice today to make calorie counting easier.

I hope you enjoyed the article.

If you are interested in coaching with me or my team, you can head HERE to fill out our application form.

All the best, and chat soon,


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If you are someone who wants to see those toned, leaned, defined muscles on your body, this podcast is for you.

I go in depth here on some things, so if you like learning, this podcast is for you.

You might want to get a pen and paper and take some notes in order to fully comprehend this podcast.

If you enjoyed it, feel free to leave a 5 star rating and review on iTunes as that would help me out a ton.

Chat soon,


ERF 248: Free Weights vs Machines, Eat Whatever You Want & Still Lose Weight, Realistic Body Recomp Goals, & more, Q&A

In this episode of the Eric Roberts Fitness Podcast I do a Q&A with my assistant coach on some questions we pulled from my instagram story.

If you don’t follow me on instagram, you can do that here below.


Hope you enjoyed the podcast and if you had any questions for Linda or myself, feel free to reach us @

Chat soon!



ERF 247: How To Know When You Are Eating Too Few Calories

In this episode of the Eric Roberts Fitness Podcast I talk about how to know when you are eating too few calories. 

A lot of people think it is when you aren’t losing weight or your weight loss has stalled.

I am here to give you the true answer to know what to look for. 

Hope this podcast helps and if it did feel free to leave a 5 star review on iTunes as that is incredibly helpful to me.

Chat soon,


ERF 246: Pain vs Pleasure, How To Achieve Your Fitness Goal

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I really think this mental shift can truly change the trajectory of your journey. 

Hope it helps, if it did, feel free to leave a 5 star rating and review on iTunes. I appreciate all that have done that so far. 

Chat soon,


How To Do Dumbbell Shoulder Press : The Correct Guide

how to do dumbbell shoulder press

In this guide I am going to teach you how to do dumbbell shoulder press the correct way without pain.

The dumbbell shoulder press is a true staple in any strength training routine, and rightfully so.

It is one of the best upper strength and muscle building exercises you are going to find in all of exercise land.

The only downside is so many people have been taught the wrong way to do them, which can lead to serious injury and pain.

Hopefully I can catch you before you have learned the wrong way, but even if not, you will learn now how to do dumbbell shoulder press correctly.

All while maximizing your strength and muscle gains while minimizing your risk of injury.

All I require from you is to be sure to read every paragraph, watch every video, and look over every technique tip I give here.

I don’t want you missing any of this.

Sounds like a fair trade to me, what do you think?

Well if you are still reading this, you probably think so too, which I am glad. Let’s hop right into it.

How To Do Dumbbell Shoulder Press : Step By Step Guide

Let’s first cover how a correct dumbbell shoulder press is supposed to go, then we can cover the most common mistakes.

I am going to put a video here below quickly covering the correct form, as well as written out step by step instructions!

I am going to demonstrate how to do dumbbell shoulder press from a standing position, but pretty much all of the same principles would apply if you were seated.

The two main muscles you are working during a shoulder press are going to be your front deltoid and triceps.

Step 1 – Brace Your Core & Squeeze Your Butt

When talking about the standing dumbbell shoulder press in particular, you want to make sue you core is braced first.

I will put a quick video on how to do that HERE.

Yet essentially I want you to think about one of two things.

First, think about me sucker punching you as hard as I can in the stomach.

You are going to brace for impact right?

You aren’t going to suck your stomach in, you are actually going to push it out.

That is what I want you to be like the entire time you are doing this movement. This will protect your lower back as you press above your head.

The second thing you could also think about is if you have been a bit backed up lately… and you go to sit down on the toilet.

And you really have to push one out… That same push is how I want you to brace your core.

Just, don’t poop your pants. It isn’t fun. ( Not that I have done that while lifting before or anything….).

You also want to be sure you squeeze your butt simultaneously.

Again, this will help protect your lower back.

Think about putting a $100 bill between your butt cheeks.

I am not 100% sure why you are doing that, but none the less, you are!

When you put it there you don’t want it to fall out, so you have to squeeze your butt hard.

This, in combination with bracing your core, are the first two steps in how to do dumbbell shoulder press correctly.

They may be a bit odd, but I guarantee you won’t forget how to do them right?!

Step 2 – Have Your Elbows @ A 45 Degree Angle

how to do dumbbell shoulder press

Once you are set up with your core bracing, you want to be sure you set your elbows up in the right position.

Try to have your elbows slightly in front of you, at a 45 degree angle, with your hands in line with your wrists.

Think about you are trying to show your armpits to the wall in front of you.

Notice how this looks quite different than if you had you elbows flared out to the side?

Don’t worry, we will cover that soon enough below.

Also, notice how my hands aren’t too low in the starting position?

I am not rounding my shoulders forward.

My shoulders are down and away from my ears, shoved into my back pockets, and my hands are right around my ear / chin level.

Yours should be as well!

Step 3 – Press Dumbbells Above Your Head

This one is a shocker, right?

No really, let’s go over it.

You want to make sure you are pressing the dumbbells overhead.

I want you to think about your front delt, this right here.

Think about your front delt coming to your ear.

Also, do not use your legs to push the weight up.

There is an exercise called the push press, that is not what we are doing here.

We are doing a strict shoulder press to work our shoulders, so be sure to use minimum momentum from your legs to press the weight overhead.

Step 4 – Have A Slight Bend In Your Arms At The Top

When you get to the top of the shoulder press, you do not want to fully lock your elbows out.

This can put a lot of unnecessary strain on your elbows.

Be sure to extend your arms at the top, but stop just shy of full lockout with your elbows.

Step 5 – Lower The Weight With Control

Here is the step most people forget.

We must remember, when it comes to how to do dumbbell shoulder press or any other exercise really, there are two parts to the movement.

There is a concentric phase and an eccentric phase.

The concentric phase is the pushing part, think pushing the weight up in a shoulder press or curling the weight up in a bicep curl.

Then, there is the eccentric phase, which is lowering the weight in a bicep curl or shoulder press.

This is still a critical part of the movement!

Just because you lifted the dumbbells up over your head does NOT mean that the work is done!

You now have to work to control them on the way down as you lower them back to your starting position.

Keeping your core engaged and butt squeezed, I like to tell my clients to try and go at least 1-3 second Mississippi on the way down.

This will allow you to properly lower the weight, put maximum tension on your muscles, and avoid injury.

How To Do Dumbbell Shoulder Press : Most Common Mistakes

Now that you know how to do the movement correctly, let’s cover a few most common mistakes and how to correct them if they are happening to you.

Elbows Out Too Wide

By far the most common mistake when looking at how to do dumbbell shoulder press is people having their elbows out entirely too wide.

You may think this is the “correct” way to do it because that is how you were taught or how you have seen people do it in the gym, on social media, etc.

This is also probably why so many people struggle with shoulder pain. ( BTW, I wrote an entire article on shoulder pain, if you are experiencing any of that, feel free to check it out HERE ).

I am here to break it to you, this could not be worse off for your shoulders.

When your elbows are out that far wide, you are asking for a shoulder impingement or other icky stuff to happen to your shoulder, rotator cuff, etc.

Your elbows should NOT be at a 90 degree angle, rather, they should be angled more towards a 45 degree angle.

Try keep your shoulders away from your ears, shoved down into your back pockets to start.

Then make sure you are bringing your elbows slightly in front of your body.

You can also turn your wrist at an angle as well, this won’t inherently fix the movement, this needs to come from your upper arm.

Yet if you twist your wrist to more of a 45 degree angle, you will influence the upper arm to do so as well.

Long story short, stop having your elbows flared out super wide to the side.

Bring them in, put a ton less strain on your shoulders, and get stronger without getting injured.

Over Extending At Top

how to do dumbbell shoulder press don't over extend

I mentioned above how you should be thinking about your front delt getting pushed to your ear when it comes to a shoulder press.

Yet I want to be very clear, this does NOT mean shrug your shoulders up towards your ear.

Your scapula, this thing right here.

how to do dumbbell shoulder press scapula pic

Will move throughout the shoulder press, but, you should not intentionally shrug your shoulders up to your ears when doing this movement.

That is once again going to create shoulder impingement and wonky shoulder pain.

Be sure to keep your shoulders down and away from your ears to start, and allow the scapula to move freely as you press.

Just be sure to not over extend at the top, shrugging your shoulders towards your ears, creating a lot of tension and pain in your shoulders / upper back.

Slamming DB Together At Top

Another common mistake made when looking at how to do dumbbell shoulder press is slamming the dumbbells together at the top.

If you recall from earlier in this guide we talked about how you should stop the movement right before you lock your elbows out and you should control the weight.

I can assure you if you are slamming the dumbbells together at the top, you are not controlling the weight.

You want to use your strength and power to press up, but you don’t want to over do it.

Find that balance of using power to press the weight up, but doing so in a controlled fashion to where you don’t need to slam the dumbbells together.

This is only going to lead to shoulder pain over the long run.

Arching Your Back

There should be some arch of your back as you press up because if not you wouldn’t be able to get the dumbbells above your head fully.

Yet where most people experience back and shoulder pain is when they over arch their lower back, like the picture shown above.

This position creates a ton of pressure on your lower back.

To fix this, just be sure to do what we talked about above in regards to bracing your core and squeeing your butt.

If you do those two things, there will be rigidity throughout your body, forcing your spine to stay in a safe position.

Pressing Forward and Out, Not Up

Another common mistake when talking about how to do dumbbell shoulder press is people tend to forward and not up, as shown here above.

You want to make sure that you are pressing up in a vertical pattern, as opposed to pressing forward in a vertical pattern.

Allow your body to have a slight arch through your thoracic spine ( upper back ) as you press the dumbbells overhead.

Otherwise it will be hard to get the dumbbells in the correct pressing pattern.

Do not think about pressing out or forward, think about pushing your hands up and your shoulders pressing towards your ears.

Not Controlling Weight Down

We mentioned this above so I won’t touch on it too much, yet just be sure to control the weight down.

The movement is not done when you press it above your head.

The way down is still 50% of the movement.

If you fail to do this, it could result in lack of strength gains as well as potential injury.

If you can’t control the weight, you may need to drop down in weight to control it, which is totally okay.

Remember if you do less weight but control it better, you will not only stay injury free but you will get better results because you are completing the entire movement, not just 50% of it.

How To Do Dumbbell Should Press : Variations

Now that you have seen how to do and not to do a dumbbell shoulder press, let’s talk about some variations you can throw in with this movement.

All of the same principles will apply.

1.5 Shoulder Press

Description: All of the same cues apply for this variation, you are just ramping up the intensity! Instead of doing one rep, you are doing 1 and 1 half reps! Just be sure to NOT rush the movement, don’t bounce the weight. Control it the entire time and your shoulders will be burning! Cuss me out now, thank me later!

Straight Leg Shoulder Press

Description: This variation completely takes the leg drive out of the movement. You have nowhere to hide! Your shoulders will have to do all of the work and then some. Be sure to keep your chest up high and not arch your back.

1/2 Kneeling Shoulder Press

Description: This is a great in between movement to allow your body to be challenged from a core perspective while also crushing your shoulders. Be sure to keep your butt squeezed and core braced so you don’t move side to side as you press up!

How To Do A Barbell Shoulder Press

You might ask “Okay, but what about if we are using a barbell!?”.

Truthfully speaking, all of the same principles apply once again. This is why I started this guide talking about the dumbbell shoulder press because if you get the basic mechanics down from a dumbbell shoulder press, it transfers right over to the barbell.

Now there are certain things you might not be able to do with the barbell, like change your wrist angle like you would with a dumbbell.

Yet you still should be having your armpits face the wall in front of you, trying to get a 45 degree angle with you elbows as much as you can, keeping your shoulders un shrugged up.

I can attach a quick video for the barbell shoulder press here below!

How To Do Dumbbell Shoulder Press : Final Word

Welp, there you have it.

Hopefully everything you need to know about how to do dumbbell shoulder press.

The most common mistakes, how to fix them, the correct form, some killer variations.

What more could you ask for?!

Well, if you do have anything you want to ask for, drop a question below I would be glad to help how I can.

Or if you think you might want some more in depth coaching, you want head HERE to fill out my application form to see if we might be a good fit!

Hope this guide at least helped in the slightest, and look to chat soon.


ERF 245: This Can Change Your Fitness Journey Forever

In this episode of the Eric Roberts Fitness Podcast I talk about the single most important that can allow you to change your fitness journey forever.

I see so many people taking a negative, pessimistic approach to their fitness journey…

There is no more powerful muscle than your mind, and in this podcast, I really give you some things to think about…

Hope it helps. If it does feel free to leave me a comment letting me know it did. 

Chat soon,


ERF 244: What Is The Best Workout For Fat Loss?

In this episode of the Eric Roberts Fitness Podcast I go over what the best workout for fat loss is.

How you should be training to lose weight, what should your workouts consist of, how many x per week, etc.

I hope you enjoyed this podcast, if you did, feel free to check out some of my other content on my YouTube channel and articles on my website below!



ERF 243: How Long Will It Take To Lose 30lbs ( Or Any Amount Of Weight )

In this episode of the Eric Roberts Fitness Podcast I go over how long will it take you to lose 30lbs.

I cover realistic expectations, unrealistic expectations, how to plan for it, etc.

If you enjoyed the podcast, feel free to leave a 5 star rating and review on iTunes as that does help the podcast out a ton.

Thank you so much and chat soon,


How To Do Squats Correctly : A Comprehensive Guide

how to do squats correctly

If you have ever wondered how to do squats correctly, wonder no more my soon to be confident squatting friend.

In this guide I am going to break down every single thing you need to know about the squat.

From beginner to intermediate to advanced.

Where to start, how to do it correctly, what mistakes to avoid.


Fair warning, this is going to be a long guide. If you are into learning all of the intricacies of exactly how to do squats correctly, this guide is going to be right up your alley.

Sit back, grab a pen and paper, and take some notes.

You will need them for your next leg day for sure.

To save time, I will stop dilly dallying because we have a guide to get into.

Let’s kick it.

How To Do Squats Correctly

Benefits Of Squatting

Before we dive into exactly how to do squats correctly, I just want to give some quick background on why squats are so incredibly important.

If there is one movement pattern I include in every single training program I write for my clients, it is a squat pattern.

Now as you will see here there are many different ways to squat, it does not solely have to be a barbell on your back.

Yet some form of squat pattern is critical I believe in any well developed strength training program.

Here’s why.

Increased Total Body Strength

You may look at the squat and think that it is a lower body exercise.

You my friend, deserve a medal for being very studious 😉

Yet, it is so much more than just a lower body exercise.

Yes it is going to train and strength almost every muscle in your leg, but also, it trains and strengthens your

  • core musculature
  • Back and lats
  • Hips and glutes
  • Shoulder stability and mobility

Just to name a few.

The squat is truly a full body exercise.

You have to keep your core braced and engaged the entire movement (which we will touch on later in this guide!).

Your lats stay flexed and engaged to help with your core and keep your lower back safe.

Your upper back aids in thoracic extension ( think “good posture” ).

The squat is one of a few exercises that truly encompasses full body strength and power.

Plus, it is kind of essential for life.

I mean how else are you going to get up and down from the toilet?

You may have just chuckled ( which, I don’t blame you ) but it is true.

One of the main reasons someones checks into a nursing home is because they can no longer use the bathroom on their own.

They can’t do a bodyweight squat down and up from the toilet.

The squat is going to make sure you stay strong and healthy not only now but as you age. You will be able to keep the quality of your life.

Which to me, is so much better than looking good naked.

Increased Bone Density

how to squat correctly bone density

Yet again, the squat is not just for building massive legs or the “dumptruck” butt that ladies chase now a days.

Which by the way, if you are a female reading this and you want to grow your glutes, I have another super in depth article on how to do that HERE .


This goes for really any resistance training, but making sure you know how to do squats correctly is going to lead to a positive impact in your bone density.

As we age our bone density begins to decrease. This is why if someone falls when they are older, they are much more likely to break a bone.

Since your legs are kind of the things that allow you to move around on a day to day basis, increasing your bone density on your legs is probably a good idea.

Doing squats routinely can do just that for you, again, greatly improving the quality of your life not only now, but as you age.

Increased Flexibility

One of the most underrated benefits of performing squats is its positive impact in flexibility.

When you think flexibility you probably think stretching, yoga, etc.

That is called passive range of motion, you are lying down pulling and stretching your leg back.

There is something called active range of motion. This is the range of motion your muscles can actively get to without any assistance, like you pulling your leg back behind your head.

The active range of motion is more important because this is what our bodies use on a day to day basis.

One great way to improve your active range of motion is to go through your active range of motion under load ( load = your bodyweight or any extra external weight ).

You will improve and increase your active range of motion by putting stress on your body in this range of motion, which is going to increase flexibility.

Yet again, this can be beneficial right now but also as you age to keep or even improve the quality of your life.

See any patterns here? Squats are great for your aesthetics, but they also play a massive role in making sure as you age, you get to continue to live a strong, healthy life.

Feel Like A Bad A**

Okay so this one I am throwing in just because it is so true.

I don’t know anyone who does squats with correct form who doesn’t just feel empowered afterwards.

You feel strong, you feel accomplished, you feel powerful.

There is no better feeling than knowing is literally trying to hold you down, but you just push through it.

Getting all emotional and philosophical here, but you get my point.

Squatting is great for not only your physical health, but mental health as well.

How To Do Squats Correctly : Step By Step

Now that we know the massive benefits that squats bring to you, let’s dive into step by step how to do squats correctly.

There is a progression scheme of how you should be performing squats. If you have never done a squat before or don’t feel comfortable doing them, you should not start by putting a barbell on your back and squatting.

You are asking for an injury or to simply learn improper movement patterns, which is going to haunt you in the long run.

There are certain ways you should begin and progress the squat. I am going to start with the most basic squat first and work our way up.

Follow along to see step by step how I would progress a client through their squatting journey.

Goblet Squat ( Start Here!)

We are going to be starting off with a goblet squat. Now, you may think “well what about just a regular body weight squat!”.

Great question. You can absolutely start with a bodyweight squat first and that is 100% acceptable.

The same principles are going to apply whether bodyweight or doing a goblet squat, so I am going to break down piece by piece how to do squats correctly.

Follow along as I walk you through each step.

Feet Placement

how to do squats correctly feet stance

Your feet should be slightly outside of hip width as well as your toes slightly pointed out.

Now, everyones femur structure and hip joint are going to be different, so this can vary a bit person to person.

Yet generally speaking human anatomy tells us feet slightly outside of hip width and toes slightly pointed out give you the best chance of achieving proper hip external rotation.

This just means you are allowing your femur to move freely through the hip joint as you go down into your squat, creating less hip / lower back pain and more range of motion in your squat.

Grip The Ground With Your Feet

You want to have the weight distributed evenly across your feet. You don’t want to be too far forward on your toes, yet you also don’t want to be too far back on your heels that you fall on your butt.

A great way to fix this is think about gripping the ground with your feet.

Think about how monkeys feet around. They grip the ground as they walk. That is how I want your feet to be.

Think about a tripod, it has the 3 points of contact right?

That is how I want your foot to be.

Your big toe, your pinky toe, and your heel should all be pushed into the ground groping the ground like a monkeys foot.

You can also think about ripping the ground apart with your feet. Think if there is $1000 cash underneath you and the way to grab it is to spread the floor apart with your feet.

All or any of those cues should just about do it to make sure the weight is distribubted evenly over your feet.

Brace Core

The next step that most people forget about when learning how to do squats correctly is to brace your core.

Remember I said the squat is a full body movement? This is exactly what I mean.

You want to brace your core like someone is about to sucker punch you.

Or think about if you are a little backed up.. sitting on the toilet.. and you really gotta push one out.

  • Disclaimer, not responsible if you poop yourself *.

I have attached a video here below on how to properly brace your core if you are a more visual person.

This is a critical part in performing a safe and proper squat, so be sure you understand this fully.

Push Hips Back Slightly

When you think about a squat you probably think down and up, right?

Well you are right, but, there is one part people sometimes miss.

You want to break at your hips first, NOT at your knees first.

Let me say that again. You want to slightly push your hips back first and then think about squatting down, not simply bending your knees and going down.

This is what creates a ton of pressure on your knees, usually creating knee pain.

You want to ever so slightly break from your hips like someone is karate chopping your hips, then start to descend down into your squat.

Don’t over exaggerate it like the guy in the picture above trying to imitate Kim K, but ever so slightly break the hips first, then descend down.

Squat Down To Parallel

By this point you really have most of the hard work down, now it is just about executing the movement!

You want to now simply squat down like you are sitting on a chair or sitting on the toilet!

You want to try and get full range of motion when you are performing squats.

This mean you want to be at least a 90 degree angle, or when your hips are in line with your knees.

A picture of that is shown above.

Anything above this means you should work to get that extra range of motion.

At first if might be difficult or feel uncomfortable, so don’t beat yourself up if you are working at it.

Also don’t beat yourself up if you have to lower the weight to reach proper depth. When it comes to a squat, remember, proper depth > how much weight you use.

You will see better results and benefits from squatting to parallel then half squatting.

Now if you are like “Eric, I can’t get down that far, it hurts my knees!”. I totally understand.

Number one I would say if you were not doing all of the things I mentioned prior to this, start doing that and tell me if that makes a difference.

Second, don’t worry because we are about to talk about an option for you or anyone looking to learn how to hit that proper depth, so stay tuned!

Chest Facing In Front Of You

A massive part on how to do squats correctly is making sure your chest faces the wall in front of you every time.

My two favorite cues are either

  • show your nipples to the wall in front of you
  • If you have a logo on your shirt, the wall in front of you should be able to see that logo

This helps keeps your spine in a neutral position, protect from lower back injuries, and create more power.

This will require something called thoracic extension, which basically just means creating a slight arch in your upper back, not lower back, upper.

Think about pulling your shoulders down and back into your back pockets while slightly puffing your chest out.

Do NOT look up to the ceiling and “keep your chest high!” like all of our awful football coaches taught us.

That is going to lead to poor mechanics and a rounded, hurt, lower back.

Simply create a tad bit of extension, make your nipples face the wall in front of you, and you should be good to go.

Push The Ground Away From You

One huge mental cue that has helped myself and a ton of my clients is simply rather than thinking about just standing up from the bottom of a squat.

Think about pushing your feet into the ground and pushing the ground away from you.

Don’t think about getting up, rather, think about pushing your feet into the ground as hard as you can.

This little mental cue can make the world of a difference especially as you start to lift heavier weights.

As well as it can usually help keep your spine in its neutral, correct position.

When people start to think about “standing up” they tend to raise their chest and arch their lower back.

To avoid that, push the ground away from you, keep your core braced, and stand up tall.

You Did It!

And bam, that is the squat right there! You did it!

Now pretty much all of that is going to apply to any and all squat, which is why I wanted to start with that.

Now let’s talk about some variations for beginners and how to advance through these progressions.

How To Do Squats Correctly : Progressions

Goblet Box Squat

Now that you know how to squat and the mechanics behind it, a great place I like to start clients off if they have never squatted before is a goblet box squat.

This is a great way to start learning how to do squats correctly and getting used to getting down to a certain depth.

Since the box is there, it can give you some external feedback of how far you need to go. You won’t have to wonder when to stop and come back up, the box will tell you!

Also if you do struggle with knee pain, box squat variations are a perfect option for you because it takes the pressure off transferring the load from lowering to standing up.

If you are new and want to learn how to do squats correctly, I highly recommend you start with the goblet box squat.

DB Front Squat

The next progression is going to be a dumbbell front squat.

Now you could also perform this with a box as well, if you want to see that video, I can link it HERE .

Yet this is another way to move from a bodyweight or goblet squat to a bit more of an advanced movement pattern.

With the dumbbell front squat you really want to think about

  • keep your elbows tucked close to your body and pointing straight down
  • Making sure you keep your core braced the entire time
  • Then simply following all regular squat motion technique

BB Back Box Squat

Now that you are progressing through the squat, next up comes the barbell back box squat.

The barbell on your back adds a whole different element to the squat.

This is where I would absolutely start with a box squat because it is going to feel a lot different having the weight rear loaded as opposed to front loaded.

Some things to think about are

— Be sure to keep your core braced. When the weight is front loaded, you are automatically forced to work your core more. When it shifts to rear loaded, that is taken away. Be sure to keep proper core bracing and do not arch your lower back.

— Keep your upper back tense and think about squeezing an orange between your armpits

— Really remember to push the ground away from you when you start to stand back up. Since the barbell is on your back, you are going to be even more at a dis advantage as gravity is pushing you down, so just be sure to really focus on driving your feet down

— Use the box to guide how far down you should be going and where to push back up from. Again, try to get at least 90 degrees! ( Hips in line with knees )

Where To Place The Bar On Your Back?!

** Yes, I know it is a broom stick.. don’t judge me!!**

When it comes to where to place the barbell for a back squat you have two main options.

The first is going to be a high bar squat. This is where the bar is up a bit higher on your neck.

The second is going to be a low bar squat. This is where the bar is down more towards your rear delt / rhomboids area.

Personally I am a fan of the low bar squat as I have seen it to be more comfortable and create less pressure on your neck / lower back.

Yet I would encourage you to play around and see which one works best for you!

Just be sure… don’t use those pads that you put over the barbell that you think are protecting your neck.

These make for a wildly unstable base and can actually lead to more injury as you are going to be unbalanced.

BB Back Squat

When it comes to how to squat correctly, here is the quintessence of squats, the barbell back squat.

By now, if you have started with the goblet squat, then db front squat, then a barbell back squat, you should have a pretty good understanding of the movement.

At this point it is all about continuing to learn, feel the movement out, and see what works best for you.

I would encourage you to start light and work your way up. Remember, proper form over everything here.

Not only to get the best result but if you get injured, you can’t workout anyway, so that does no one any good!

BB Front Squat

I threw this variation in here if you wanted to give it a go.

This requires some extra wrist flexibility / mobility, but it is a great variation of the squat.

You can choose to go with the wrist flexion grip or with the crossed elbow grip.

You can also choose to do this movement with a towel grip, I can link a video for that here below.

The main things to consider when performing a front squat are

  • The weight is going to be front loaded once again, so just be sure you feel the movement correctly
  • Keep your elbows as high as you can the entire time, the more your elbows drop, the more your back is going to round!

How To Do Squats Correctly : Most Common Mistakes

Phew, okay, I know this is a ton of information being thrown at you.

Again, I hope you are writing out some notes and taking your time. Feel free to go back, re read, re watch videos, do what you gotta do!

I want to make this time now to cover the most common squatting mistakes I see.

Some I mentioned in here throughout the guide, but want to be sure I hit the nail on the head one more time.

Follow along!

Heels Coming Off The Ground

One of the most common mistakes when it comes to squatting is your heels coming off the ground.

This then creates a ton of pressure on your knees and just makes the movement suck for lack of better terms.

The easy fix here is to re read what we talked about how with how to grip the ground with your feet.

Be sure to keep your feet flat the entire time, create the tripod between your big toe, pinky toe, and heel.

And last but not least, grip the ground like monkeys feet!

Over Extending Lower Back

Don’t be like Kim K, come on now.

A common mistake in the squat is pushing your butt back too far and over extending your head / neck.

To fix this, think about your pelvis and ribcage as two buckets of water.

You want to make sure those two buckets of water do not spill.

If you flare your ribs up too much, the buckets will spill.

If you flare your butt back too far, those buckets will spill.

You want to have both buckets sitting directly over top of each other the entire time.

One great analogy that world class powerlifter Kris Duffin came up with is the open scissor closed scissor concept.

** pic here

Just be sure to think about bringing your ribcage to your belly button ever so slightly, keeping your core engaged the whole time, and not spilling those buckets!

Half Squatting

We talked earlier about getting to at least 90 degrees parallel range of motion.

Let me make this very clear one last time.

If you are not hitting proper depth, the weight you are using is irrelevant.

Leave your ego at the door, work on hitting proper depth, then from there you can look to increase weight.

If you don’t you will leave tons of potential strength gains on the table as well as increase your risk of injury.

Knees Caving In

how to do squats correctly knees not caving in

One thing we did not touch on in this article yet is where your knees should be tracking.

When performing a squat, we talked about your feet being slightly outside of hip width and toes pointed slightly out.

With this, this should do it’s job to set your knees up where they should be, but if not.

Just make sure your knees are tracking out over your 2nd or 3rd toe.

You do NOT want your knees caving inwards toward your big toes, this is going to create for a lot of knee pain.

Be sure to rip the ground apart with your feet, keep your 3 points of contact in the ground, and set up your feet placement correctly!

Hips Rising First

This is a mistake that I struggled with ( and candidly, still do to this day! ).

Having your hips rise before your chest is a sign that your lower back is going to be taking the brunt of the movement, not your legs.

You can see here from the picture above my hips rose, but my chest is still facing down. This makes this movement more of an exercise called a “good morning” which is. a low back dominant exercise.

This is going to lead to injury over time.

How to fix this can be a few ways.

  1. Think about pushing your feet into the ground and pushing the ground away from you.
  2. Allow your knees to go past your toes. Your knees going over your toes is NOT A BAD THING! I don’t care what trainer told you that. As long as your feet remain flat on the ground, your knees can pass your toes, and most often times has to in order for your proper mechanics to be correct.
  3. Keep your core braced the entire time, especially coming out of the bottom of the squat.

How To Do Squats Correctly : Your Knees Can Go Over Your Toes!

I just touched on it above, but want to again right here.

You have probably heard that when squatting your knees shouldn’t go past your toes.

Unfortunately, whoever told you that is spitting straight bologna.

Your toes can, and most times should, travel past your toes if you want to perform a safe, full range of motion squat.

As long as your feet are flat on the ground, there is no issue with your knees going over your toes.

If you try to keep that from happening, you will probably be too far back on your heels, causing you to be unbalanced, or arch your lower back at the bottom of your squat.

Therefore don’t be afraid to let your knees go over your toes a bit.

As long as your feet are flat on the ground and your knees are tracking out over your 2nd or 3rd toe, this is totally fine.

And again if you are someone with knee pain, I strongly encourage you to box squat instead, this can take a ton of pressure off your knees!

That’s A Wrap!

Phew, man, I told you this was going to be an in depth guide didn’t I!?

Once again, I know there was a lot of information here in this guide. Feel free to go back, look over some sections again, watch the videos, do whatever you gotta do.

I hope you found this guide useful and helpful, as well as got some tips you can implement today to get better at squats.

If you have any questions feel free to drop below.

Or if you are interested in seeing if we may be a good fit for coaching together, I can link my application form HERE.

Hope this helps, and happy squatting!