Hey there all,
After receiving a lot of questions about my fitness and nutrition, I decided to share with you all a series of posts that we’ll help you get a better understanding of how to burn body fat, make your workouts more effective and most important live in a body that you love!
Since, I’m not sure about the level of understanding that each of you has around nutrition and training I decided to start with a clean slate and spell out the basics. At the end of the day it’s all about the basic understanding we have that sets a strong foundation of healthy habits.
I’d like to believe that most of you out there, have an idea of nutrition basics, but since this is my first post regarding this topic, I’ll start with making clear a few concepts around nutrition in order to avoid any confusion in the future. Most important, if you have any questions regarding your diet and weight loss journey, is better to ask, research and discuss about it, rather than having the wrong information. A lack of knowledge usually results to unsuccessful efforts and disappointment, but the key to success in knowing what you need to do. Fitness is life, and I want to see your loving the body you have, so and we’re going to do it the right way!
What is calories?
Calories are units of energy. Every food has a number of calories and your body uses calories for energy. A general rule is that when you burn more calories than you take in, your body will then have to burn calories stored as fat. When your daily intake of calories is higher than your daily needs, then the remaining energy will be stored in your body as fat. Simple!
The amount of calories used by each of us is defined by 5 factors: Age, sex, height, weight and level of daily physical activity. It makes sense, right? You can find what is your suggested daily calories intake, by using a calorie calculator, there are many available online. Even better, you can monitor your daily energy intake and needs, by using an online fitness log app such as the www.fitday.com, www.myfitnesspal.com and so much more available out there! There are other ways to estimate your calories intake too, but at this stage better use the magic of free apps! They are quite reliable!
How do I achieve weight loss?
Usually, people who want to lose weight, follow a “diet”, a calorie deficit nutrition plan, estimating the Net Calories. The net amount of calories is defined by a simple equation:
(daily calorie target + exercise calories) – calories consumed
So, if your daily target is 2000 calories and your daily activity level equals 400 calories, and then you enjoy a meal of 500 calories, your net calories, your available calories for the rest of the day, would be 1900 kcal. So far, so good!
Something to be cautious about is when your estimated calories deficit goes below your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). The BMR is the least amount of energy that your body needs for working in a healthy way (imagine spending your day doing nothing but laying in bed). So the BMR is the minimum energy needed for performing essential functions for being alive, such as breathing, heartbeat, digestion. The BMR differs from person to person based on the 5 factors mentioned earlier. For example, a person who has an office job will have a lower BMR than someone whose work requires to constantly moving.
When your calories intake is less that your BMR, instead of burning fat, you are succeeding exactly the opposite. So, avoid falling into the trap of losing weight fast by decreasing your calories intake dramatically. This is a big fail in my opinion and extreme dieting is not a healthy approach…The only thing you succeed is to set your body in starvation mode (actually you’ll realize this by feeling extremely hungry and lethargic) slowing down your metabolism. As a consequence of this, your body turns into a survival state, storing the calories you consume as fat. (of course all these happen when you have your body in starvation mode for prolonged period of time) At this stage, your body’s primary source of energy becomes you muscle tissue ( Have you heard the expression I’m losing my gains, eh?). You may think that your weight loss efforts are working, which is partially true, but if you want to be fit, strong and healthy, do you really want to lose your hard earned muscles? Plus, the more muscle mass we have, the more calories we burn – too good!
I hope I gave you some clarity around how to estimate your calories for weight loss! Stay tuned for more in depth nutrition blogs to come and if you wan to add any tips or information feel free!