Calories In / Calories Out.. But why?
Reader Fitness Level: Beginner
Is Butter a Carb?
When does Calorie Counting, Count?
My goal here is to reduce things into lamens terms here for anyone reading.
If you are just getting started in the world of "fitness" and don't know much about calories, calorie counting or nutrition in general; this one's for you.
The General gist of calorie counting:
The only reason why you would count calories is to change, or maintain your body composition. Your Body composition is what percentage of you is muscle, fat and bones.
For example if I took a scan as a 165lb Male, it would typically read a lean mass number and body fat percentage.
So if I'm 15% Body Fat, the rest of the 140lb of me is muscle, organs, bones and water.
Most people in the general population have the most concern for body fat percentage, as it's generally the thing that separates a sharp physique, from an average one.
Psychologically, there's something about a sculpted physique that attracts us, as we inherently know deep down how much discipline and self control goes into creating a physique like that.
If you are someone who is trying to lose weight, gain weight, get bigger, smaller, stronger: tracking calories & macronutrients do matter.
But the level of intricacy of tracking your calories is influenced by how specific your goal is.
If you are just tracking calories to eat under your maintenance calories, you WILL lose weight.
However if your goal is more specific to become more muscular or even toned in the process, you need to get more specific.
If you were a 35 y/o male looking for a six pack for summer in 3 months, the level in which you would be tracking your nutrition, would look very different if you were trying to lose 2 lb of fat incrementally over 6 months.
Another point to consider is that your calories is unique to your age, sex, activity level, even your exercise history and how many/what type of workouts you do per week.
If you are 40, 265lb, overweight and need to lose 10kg, the amount of calories you will consume, may look very different compared to a professional boxer 8 years younger undertaking a 10kg weight cut for a fight.
While the goal is the same, the approach differs. You are unique.
This is because between there is a difference in muscle mass, body fat percentage and levels of metabolic function.
The way to sum up calorie counting is this:
1. Define your goal. Firstly, are you looking to gain/lose weight, or more specifically, are you looking to build muscle, lose fat, or both?
You'll need to clearly define what your goal is before you start to figure out your macronutrients or at least, calories.
Calorie Deficit: To lose weight/burn fat: typically you'll be eating in a calorie deficit, that is; eating slightly less calories than you typically burn.
This will eventually direct your body to start pulling it's fat stores to sustain energy.
Calorie Surplus: To gain weight/build muscle: typically you'll be eating in a calorie surplus, that is; eating slightly more calories than you typically burn.
It's worth noting that in order to achieve any sort of muscle development, you must introduce resistance training into your schedule.