The Truth About Calories
Are you tired of counting calories? Do you want to lose weight on the long term? If so, you need a plan and it’s important to be aware that not all calories are created equal. 100 calories from chocolate affects your body differently than 100 calories from fish or steak.
How many calories you need depends on a number of factors, such as your age, gender, activity level, body weight, and fitness goals. Whether you want to lose fat or build muscle, it’s essential to plan your meals and calculate your daily macros.
Are Calorie Calculators Accurate?
Do a quick search online and you’ll find thousands of calorie calculators. Most of them are designed for those who want to lose weight. However, these tools aren’t always accurate because they determine your daily calorie intake based on your body weight index and basal metabolic rate. The BMI (body mass index) does not consider the fat to muscle ratio.
Muscle weighs more than fat so a 180lbs bodybuilder looks different than a sedentary person with the same body weight. Most female fitness models and competitors weigh 140-150lbs in the off season, but they still look lean and toned. They often have less than 12 percent body fat. A 150lbs sedentary woman is most likely overweight.
As you can see, the body mass index (BMI) isn’t that important. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) may also vary based on your muscle to fat ratio. So since most calorie calculators don’t take these factors into account, the results won’t be accurate.
How Many Calories You Need?
The recommended daily calorie intake depends on your goals. Most fitness trainers and nutritionists suggest the following numbers:
- Number of calories for weight loss: 9-11x bodyweight in pounds
- Number of calories for maintenance: 13x bodyweight in pounds
- Number of calories for bulking up: 20x bodyweight in pounds
However, this formula won’t work for everybody. There are dozens of other ways to determine your calorie intake. When it comes to counting calories, there are no exact numbers. The best thing you can do is to try out different formulas and choose one that works best for you.
It’s All About Quality over Quantity!
Make sure your daily calories come from quality foods, such as fruit and vegetables, raw nuts, lean meat, fish, eggs, and low fat dairy products. It’s the quality of the calorie that counts rather than the total calorie intake eg the calorie/nutrition ratio . Certain foods, such as candies, baked goods, bread, and cereals, cause inflammation in the body and may contribute to weight gain. Some cause fluid retention and have a high glycemic index. Others increase insulin resistance. These factors contribute to diabetes, obesity and other health problems. Many of these foods are low in calories, but they can still make you fat.
Whether you want to lose a few pounds or gain lean muscle, start with small steps. Increase or lower your daily calorie intake gradually. Wait a few days to see how your body reacts and then make new changes. For a lot of people, this is the only way to get lasting results.