Achieving Energy Balance
Achieving a strong and toned physique requires a balanced approach to exercise, nutrition, and energy management. Energy balance plays a crucial role in this process, as it determines whether our bodies gain, maintain, or lose weight. Striking the right energy balance is essential for building strength and toning up, as it directly influences muscle development and fat loss.
What is Energy Balance?
Energy balance refers to the balance between the number of calories you eat and drink (energy intake) and the number of calories you burn through exercise and metabolic bodily-processes (energy expenditure). The body's energy balance is dynamic and can shift based on factors such as age, gender, body composition, activity level, and overall health.
Positive Energy Balance and Weight Gain
When we eat or drink more calories than we burn, a positive energy balance occurs. When this happens, our body’s store excess calories as fat, leading to weight gain. While this may be beneficial if you are looking to increase muscle mass (in the form of lean body mass), storing more calories than we burn off without proper exercise, will result in you storing more body fat and gaining weight.
Negative Energy Balance and Weight Loss
On the other hand, when we burn more calories than we take in, a negative energy balance occurs. This leads the body to tap into its energy reserves, primarily stored as fat, to meet its energy needs. As a result, weight loss occurs. While this can aid in shedding unwanted body fat, it should be managed wisely to preserve muscle mass and overall health.
In this section, we'll cover a simple method for nutrition by using portion control as a guide. Being able to lose body fat or build muscle and strength relies on effective portion control. While using measuring tools like scales and cups can be helpful, using your hands as a guide offers a practical and convenient way to estimate portion sizes.
For moderately active individuals, consuming 1-2 portions from each food group per meal is generally sufficient for weight maintenance and overall health improvement. However, it's important to note that there is considerable room for variation based on individual needs and preferences.
Here's a step-by-step process you can follow in order to achieve the body goals you're after:
Calculating Your Calories & Macros
In this section, we'll show you a way that is a little bit more accurate by calculating and tracking your calories and macros. The precise amount of calories (energy) required to achieve your goals of fat loss, muscle building, or weight maintenance varies from person to person. In the following sections, we can be more specific to figure out your calories and macronutrient requirements.
Find Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)
This refers to the minimum amount of energy or calories that the body requires to function properly while at rest.
655 + (4.35 × weight in pounds) + (4.7 × height in inches) − (4.7 × age in years)
For example, a female who weighs 150 pounds, is 65 inches in height and is 40 years old would have a BMR of 1425 calories.
66 + (6.23 × weight in pounds) + (12.7 × height in inches) − (6.8 × age in years)
For example, a male who weighs 200lbs, is 69 inches in height and is 40 years old would have a BMR of 1916 calories.
Find Your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)
This refers to the total number of calories that an individual burns in a day, including the calories burned during daily activities and exercise. TDEE takes into account an individual's Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), as well as the calories burned through physical activity and the thermic effect of food (the energy required to digest and process food).
BMR x Activity Level = Total Daily Calories Needed
For example, a female who has a BMR of 1425 calories and activity level of 1.35 would have a TDEE of 1924 calories.
For example, a male who has a BMR of 1916 calories and activity level of 1.35 would have a TDEE of 2586 calories.
Time to Set Your Goal
Once you have calculated your TDEE, you can set your calorie goal by either subtracting, adding or maintaining calories from your TDEE.
For example, a female who has a TDEE of 1924 calories and wants to aim to lose 1 pound of fat per week would need to set their calories at starting point of 1524 calories. (TDEE of 1924 - 500 cal/day = 1524)
For example, a male who has a TDEE of 2586 calories and wants to aim to lose 1 pound of fat per week would need to set their calories at starting point of 2086 (2100) calories.
Tracking Calories & Macros
After you've calculated your calorie needs, you can then go through the process to work out how many grams of each macronutrient you need to help you reach your goal.
Protein - Each gram of protein provides 4 calories. Protein requirements differ based on factors like age, sex, weight, and activity level. Athletes, bodybuilders, and those aiming for weight loss or muscle gain need higher protein intake, generally around 1 gram per pound of body weight.
Fat - Each gram of fat provides 9 calories. Recommended fat intake varies based on factors like age, sex, weight, and activity level. You should aim to consume around 30% of your daily calories from fats.
Carbohydrates - Like protein, each gram of Carbohydrate provides 4 calories. The number of carbohydrates needed should make up about 30% of your diet, otherwise can be made up with the remaining amount of calories after protein and fat have been accounted for.
If you are a female and weigh 150 pounds, aiming for fat loss while consistently training and eating 1500 calories, your daily protein intake would be about 150g, providing 600 calories. 30% (50g) of fat, which contributes 450 calories. The remaining calories are coming from carbohydrates, which contribute 452 calories and (113g).
If you are male weigh 200 pounds, aiming for fat loss while consistently training and eating 2100 calories, your daily protein intake would be about 210g, providing 840 calories. 30% (70g) of fat, which contributes 630 calories. The remaining calories are coming from carbohydrates, which contribute 630 calories and (158g).
Using MyFitness Pal to Track Your Calories
MYFITNESS PAL is a versatile and intuitive fitness app designed to support your health and wellness journey by providing a comprehensive and convenient way to track your daily caloric and macro intake. By inputting your meals and snacks, the app calculates and monitors your calorie consumption, making it easier to stay mindful of your dietary choices and progress towards your fitness goals. Here's a quick run through on how to get started on the app:
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