For people whom we label as ectomorphs, skinny people, and endomophs, overweight people, weight gain and weight loss is a big issue. Just eat a lot right? Or just don't eat at all? But by how much?
The definition of a calorie is a unit of heat energy. Therefore one can state, it’s any amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of the body. This is where calorie counting comes in handy. Your body needs a certain amount of calories for maintenance. There are literally thousands of calorie calculators to help you get this number. The number you get isn’t important. What you do with this number and how you make your diet plan i.e. lifestyle, is crucial. So let’s just say you require 1500 calories. Now you can fill those 1500 calories with pizza and doughnuts or chicken breast and brocolli. It’s pretty obvious what you should choose.
Obviously the three most important factors here are age, height and weight. Why? Because a 6 foot 25 year old man will need different amount of calories to just maintain his weight whereas a 5 foot 7 inch 30 year old woman will need another amount. The older you get, the slower your metabolism becomes and the taller/shorter you are the more/less calories you need respectively. Also it is universally known that women will need less calories to maintain their weight than men. Another factor to account for while knowing how many calories to consume is your activity level. Needless to say someone working full time in construction is going to need more calories to mantain his weight than someone who has a desk job. The formula you need to remember while calculating your maintenance calories is:
BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)=
- BMR = 10 * weight(kg) + 6.25 * height(cm) – 5 * age(y) + 5 (man)
- BMR = 10 * weight(kg) + 6.25 * height(cm) – 5 * age(y) – 161 (woman)
Your BMI x Your activity level will give you your maintainance calories and losing or gaining weight would be 500 calories +/- depending on your goal. Calorie calculating apps like MyFitnessPal are an ideal way to get strated on calculating your calories. These calorie calculators are so valuable because not only do they tell you how many calories you need to eat to maintain weight but how many calories you need to lose/gain weight. So for example, I might need 3000 calories to gain 1kg per week and 1250 calories to lose 1kg per week. For outgoing individuals counting calories is a must! I know it’s tiring and incredibly boring to count everything you eat but think about it. You calculate your budget by writing down all your expenses/savings right? Seasoned gym goers even write their daily weights lifted! Why not do it for the foods you eat while pre/post workout or normally? Fashionable diets come and go but all of them are centered around calories. So you would need to calculate per gram on the food scale what you eat and input that in and get close to your daily caloric count. For eg. if 1 full pizza is 800 calories and 2 cans of coca-cola are 250 that’s 1250 calories right there! I have therefore hypothetically reached my daily calorie count which is why you need to pick the right food for filling up your daily count of calories. Counting calories will in fact help you get the physique you want. For bodybuilders and gym rat’s, this means hitting the 0.5 kg per week target for cutting and bulking. Losing weight can also be done through cardio exercises and it is not advisable for anyone to eat less than 1000 calories so in fact in an ideal world I could eat 2000 calories and burn 850 calories in the gym which would give me a net total of 1250 calories for the day! I am still on point with my daily caloric limits.
I know this is going to raise some eyebrows. Surely it can’t be this easy right? But behind all the marketing and gimmicks we tend to forget that calories in vs. calories out is based on the basic ideas of thermodynamics. Simply put if you’re below your maintainance calories you will lose weight, no matter how slow and if you’re above your maintainance calories you will experience some mass gain. It is simple if done correctly. So start downloading your fitness apps on your smartphones and get your food scales because calorie counting is here to stay!