We are told to start exercising as part of a weight loss plan and you are always seeing “fat burning” routines and people logging the calories burned on their treadmill walks when really the main reason we should exercise is to make us feel energised, help keep us healthy and to build and firm muscles and strengthen bones, etc. Now obviously calories are used while exercising but this calorie loss should be added into any nutrition plan, this is because you want to keep your metabolism revved up and not send the body into starvation mode. Top level athletes will consume vast amounts of calories and still be really lean; this is because they are fuelling their workouts correctly. Saying all that we still need to be a caloric deficit for the body to give up stored body fat so it is important is to eat the optimum amount of calories for your weight and activity levels.

We have spoken about Balsal Metabolic Rate (BMR) before and this is the amount of energy the body needs to function. When I say function I mean enough to lie on a couch all day! The general calculation for BMR is multiply your body weight in lbs by 10, for weight maintenance times your weight by 15 and for weight loss x 13. So crunching some numbers;

A 150 lb person

BMR             – 10 x 150 = 1500 cals

Weight Loss – 13 x 150 = 1950 cals

Maintenance – 15 x 150 = 2250 cals

So if you are a 150lb person looking to lose weight the ideal starting place would be to consume 1950 calories per day. If you moderately exercised for an hour then taking an educated guess (there are lots of calculators in the internet) you could assume that is about 450 calories (depending on intensity) and as you can see subtracting this would take the weight loss calories in our above example back to BMR calories only, which blunts metabolism and stalls fat loss.

So to conclude use exercise to improve your health and change body composition and use enough calories to fuel workouts and keep metabolism elevated. There are a couple of caveats to this – we are talking good, healthy calories here, not sodas and fast foods – the calorie calculations are a starting point and you may need to adjust either way depending on age and sex and don’t forget if you have a rest day from exercise eat less!

2015-11-21 23:57:41