Updated: Apr 28, 2022
LETS GET BACK TO THE BASICS
But before we do, make sure to check out the best REFYNE pre-workout on the market and make sure it is apart of your basic nutrition plan
Calories in Vs Calories out
Whether your goal is to gain weight or to lose weight, it all comes down to one simple statement; calories in versus calories out. Meaning, weight loss and weight gain ultimately depend on whether your body is receiving too many calories or not enough. Let’s start by simply defining what a calorie is. A calorie is a unit of energy used in the body. We all get our calories from the foods and drinks we consume in a day. Now, the tricky part is that we all have a different energy requirement. This means that some people may need 3000 calories per day to maintain their physique, and some people may only need 1500 calories per day to maintain their physique.
This number would be referred to as your “maintenance” calories. Meaning, if you ate this number of calories everyday, then you would neither gain nor lose weight. But, if you wanted to lose weight, you would then want to slightly lower your calorie intake below your maintenance level OR increase physical activity to where you burn an additional amount of calories per day to put you in that calorie deficit. This is why it is so important to keep track of the amount of calories you eat in a typical day. You are the only one that can figure out how many calories you need to achieve your goals.
So, if you are just starting your journey, your homework is to start tracking how many calories you eat in a typical day. This will help determine your average calorie intake, from there you can make small changes in your eating lifestyle along with your physical lifestyle. A more specific way of tracking your calories is by tracking your macros. This is just a more specific way of counting calories by breaking it down into 3 separate nutrients.
What the heck is a Macro?
Have you ever been asked by someone if you count your macros? If so, did you have any idea what the heck they were talking about? If not, it’s ok, macros are pretty easy to understand. “Macros” is just short for macronutrients, this refers to the three main things that provide calories in the foods and drinks we consume: Fats, protein, and carbohydrates.
There are 9 calories in every gram of fat. When you hear the word fat you should turn and run the other way, right? Wrong! The right kinds of fats are actually crucial to our health in moderate amounts. This article won’t break down all the different kinds of fats to keep it simple, but just remember to stay away from trans fat, the others are just fine. Since fats have twice as many calories as carbohydrates and protein it is easy to see how having too much fat in our diet can lead to a caloric surplus. So, just be mindful when you’re eating “healthy” food such as avocados, nuts, fatty meats, and cooking oils. While they are important in our diet and provide benefits to our health, they can make it easy to put on unwanted body fat. A good rule of thumb is to consume around 0.5 gram of fat for every pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, try to limit your daily fats to 100 grams.
9 calories x 100 grams of fat = 900 calories. Easy Math!
There are 4 calories in every 1 gram of protein. As you’ve probably heard, protein is crucial to have in our diets, especially if you want to build and maintain muscle. There are numerous different sources of protein out there so there is no excuse when it comes to getting adequate amounts of protein in your diet. As a good rule of thumb, shoot for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. If your main goal is gaining more muscle mass, it wouldn’t hurt to eat up to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. For example, our 200 pound person would get 200 grams of protein per day and if they were serious about building more muscle, they could bump it up towards 250-300 grams of protein per day.
4 calories x 200 grams of protein = 800 calories
4 calories x 250 grams of protein = 1000 calories
4 calories x 300 grams of protein = 1200 calories
There are also 4 calories in every 1 gram of carbohydrates. Simply put, carbohydrates give our bodies energy. There is also a wide variety of ways to get carbohydrates in our diet, but the important thing is, just like the other macronutrients, not to consume too much. Do not be afraid of carbohydrates, they are important to include in your diet, but do be mindful of how many you eat. Let’s just say that our example 200 pound person eats 1 gram of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight.
4 calories x 200 grams of carbs = 800 calories
So, Let’s put all of these macronutrients together and see how it gives us our daily calorie intake.
Fat: 9 calories x 100 grams of fat = 900 calories
Protein: 4 calories x 200 grams of protein = 800 calories
Carbs: 4 calories x 200 grams of carbs = 800 calories
Total: 2,500 calories
From here, it could be determined for this specific individual what they need to adjust. Want to lose weight? Drop the daily carbohydrate intake by 100-200 calories for a few weeks. Want to gain muscle mass? Start to increase the amount of protein up to around 250 grams per day. All of these numbers will be different for everyone, it is up to YOU to find out where you are and where you want to be.
See, keeping track of macros isn’t too difficult. Being mindful of your macronutrients can be beneficial to help you achieve your goals. But as stated in our (How to Start) article, if you are just starting out, it is most important to find out how much you are eating and how much you are moving and make changes today. Once you have your daily calorie intake under control and start to notice progress you can then start to implement more technical steps into your journey.