When working out and exercising, most people have a goal that they want to work towards! For some people they want to lose weight, others want to get stronger, and for some – they want to keep their longevity. All are valid goals, and all have different approaches when it comes to planning a workout program. In this 3 part series, we look at how different goals require different approaches to training!
I’m going to explain the different components of the equation that we look at when trying to lose weight. This is the most basic form of how we lose weight. Before I go into it, let me explain why this equation should matter to you in the first place. By understanding how the calories we burn in a day are related to the food we put in our body, we can predict whether or not we are gaining or losing weight. Through long term application of this we can have a better chance at losing that 10 or 15 lbs we’ve been trying so hard to get rid of but are making little to no progress. Lets get into it.
The general equation is: (Calories consumed in daily food) – (DMR + Additional Activity)… Let me break each part down.
When looking to lose weight it’s important to realize that everyone has different caloric needs (meaning we all have a different amount of food we need to properly fuel our bodies). A term we use in the fitness community is Daily metabolic rate (DMR). What this refers to is the amount of calories you burn throughout the day doing everyday activities such as breathing, walking, talking, and doing the activities needed for your career. Your DMR also takes into account your size. For example, if two people are doing the exact same activities throughout the day, a person who is 6 foot 7 such as myself is going to be burning many more calories than that of a person who is 5 foot 7.
We must then add any additional calories we burn throughout the day to our DMR to find exactly how many calories we burn in a day. Any additional activity we do includes things such as going for walks, working out, going for a jog…etc. You can find out how many calories you burn doing different activities on apps such as MyFitnessPal and by googling activity calorie calculator.
Lastly, you need to know how many calories you are eating in a day. Once you have this number you can figure out exactly what’s going on in your weight loss journey. I highly recommend MyFitnessPal for keeping track of your daily calories consumed – and its free!Here are the results: If: Calories consumed in daily food > Calories burned in a day = Gain weight
If: Calories consumed in daily food = Calories burned in a day = Maintain weight
if: Calories consumed in daily food < Calories burned in a day = LOSE WEIGHT
It’s important to note that their are 3500 calories in one lb of fat. This means that if you are burning 300 more calories in a day than you are consuming in food that it would take about 11.5 days to burn one lb of fat.
Case Study: Jim’s DMR is 1700 calories per day and he jogs every day where he burns 350 calories. This means he has an activity total daily calorie count of 2050 calories. He also consumes 2600 calories in a day. This means he is in a surplus of calories by about 550 calories because 2600 – 2050 = 550. Now that we know that theirs 3500 calories in a pound of fat we know that if he keeps up this behaviour for one month he will have gained almost 5 lbs because 550 x 30 days = 16,500 surplus calories. 16,500/3500 = 4.7 pounds. As you can see it’s very simple for our diet to blow up and get away from us.
I believe that the first step in losing weight is education. If you can educate yourself on what it is that is happening when we eat excess calories such as in the case study above, you can understand why it’s important to keep an eye on what you eat. This doesn’t mean you need to be weighing all your food and be a freak about it, it’s about being responsible in the choices you make and the foods you choose to put into your body.I hope you all learned something in this article, stay tuned for part 2 of this series in which we look at some different approaches to gaining strength in your workouts! Written by Andrew Blakey, Owner of Your Future Fitness.