Calories: Eat them for Energy

Calories are energy.  To focus at work or play hard in the gym, energy from calories helps you perform at your potential.  The amount of calories YOU need per day is an estimate.  You do not need the same exact number every day since your activities vary.  Instead, you will want to maintain a specific caloric range, depending upon your exercise plan, and focus on nutrient-rich foods (complex carbs, protein, fruit, veggies, etc).  When you workout 3x per week mildly, you will not need as many calories as when you workout 3x per week vigorously.  Here is an easy way to estimate your needs (you can calculate this right now!): 12-14 calories/lb/day for mild activity (walking, ping pong); 15-17 calories/lb/day for moderate activity (jogging, light lifting); 18-24 calories/lb/day for heavy activity (running, sports, boxing, weight lifting); 24-29 calories/lb/day for very heavy activity (2-a-day workouts or boot camps).  Calorie requirements differ depending upon gender, genetics, height, weight and exercise plan (so: don’t follow your friend!) Read more at the Full E. Cntr.

Calculation: Not Set in Stone!

Remember, the best caloric guide that you can follow comes right from within.  Follow your hunger and satiety cues, and you will be okay.  If you are an athlete, it is important to remember to eat since high-intensity activities burn upwards of 1000 kcal per hour, which is an easy way not to maintain weight or build strength.

Examples

If you are a 160 lb athlete who is training heavy during the week, here is how many calories you will need for one day of training:

160 lbs x (18-24 calories/lb) = 2,880 – 3,840 calories each day

Thus, in order for this athlete to maintain his or her weight, he or she will need at least 2,880 calories every day.  To gain or mass, this person will need to add a good 500 calories more to this baseline.  On the other hand, to lose weight the athlete will need to drop 250-500 calories per day from the diet.

Body changes

Changing your body won’t (and should not!) happen over night.  Practice this sustainably and it is very likely that you will reach your goal.

This information is intended to be a guide but should not replace true nutrition counseling or major adjustments to your food plan.  To seek advice, contact me!

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