WHAT ARE CALORIES ?
The energy that our body uses and the potential energy in food is measured in calories.
Calories (kcal) are the measurement unit for energy and represent
the amount of energy to heat up with one degree Celsius one
kilogram of water.
All the food we eat contains calories that are burnt by our bodies for
any move we make including breathing , digestion etc.
Depending on how many calories we eat there are 3 cases:
1. We eat more calories than we burn – in this case we will gain
weight – lean muscle mass or some muscle mass and fat
(depending on how we train).
2. We eat fewer calories than we burn – now you will lose
weight alongside with some muscle mass if you are in too big
3. We eat quite the same amount of calories that we burn – most
people obtain this equlibrium unconsciously over a long
period of time and they assume that they`re lucky.
For an accurate estimation of your daily caloric needs you must
know your BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate (this is the caloric need
for your body to work properly without any movement.
There are many ways to calculate BMR and I will give you just one
that is known to be the most accurate ( ADA – American Dietetic
Association ) – The Mifflin – St Jeor formula:
10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5
10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161
After we know Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) we have to multiply
with the level of activity as follows:
Sedentary = BMR X 1.2 (little or no exercise, desk job)
Lightly active = BMR x 1.37 (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week)
Moderately active = BMR x 1.55 (moderate exercise 4-6 days/week)
Very active = BMR x 1.72 (hard exercise every day or exercising 2 times/day)
Athlete level = BMR x1.9 (hard exercise 2 or more times/day or special training for
marathon or triathlon, etc.)
Example: If your BMR is 1,600 calories per day and your activity
level is moderately active (1.55 activity factor) you will need 2,480
calories (BMR x 1.55 = 1,600 x 1.55 = 2,480) to maintain your current
weight in this moment .
If you want to lose weight, you would
either have to consume fewer calories everyday or increase your
activity level, you also could do both.
FAT LOSS AND WEIGHT GAIN
FAT LOSS is very simple and it is a mathematic difference
between calories in and calories out. It is recommended to reduce
your calorie intake with 20 % , this means that you have to eat fewer
calories than you burn.
Example : 20% x 2,480 cal = 496 cal
You will eat 2,480 cal – 496 cal = 1,984 cal
WEIGHT GAIN is also simple because here you have to add more
calories but you don`t want to gain a lot of fat and stay as lean as
possible. For this I recommend to increase your calorie intake with
10-15 % and you will adjust in time the values.
Example : 2,480 cal + 496 cal = 2,976 cal
It`s that simple !
Try to eat the majority of your calories from whole foods and stay
Best wishes !