Tony On Calorie Consumption

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There is so much information out there and new studies are coming out all the time. All of this is great but sometimes it can get a little overwhelming and people spend way too much time reading instead of just starting. Knowledge is great, so I definitely recommend reading what you can and learning from the people who have been there and done that, but the best advice I can give you is just get started and adjust as you go. 

First things first, let’s cover the most important part of every nutrition plan; calorie consumption. Simply put, if you want to lose weight then you need to eat less calories than you are burning. This is called a calorie deficit and there are two ways to do this. You can either exercise more to burn off calories or eat less. If you combine the two, exercise and a proper diet, the results will be that much better. So first you need to figure out how many calories you need to consume to maintain weight. This is called your resting metabolic rate and the idea is to start the diet with the most amount of calories as possible to maintain our current weight. There are formulas for doing this, but one of the best ways is to track your food for 5-7 days and to take a start weight, midpoint weight, and end weight and average everything out to see if you are gaining, maintaining, or losing weight on the calories you are normally eating. The key here is to keep eating the same as before you started, you don’t want to start eating less just because you are tracking, make it as normal as possible.

Most, if not all, nutritionist will echo these sentiments,. The thing that causes confusion the question, "is a calorie just a calorie?” Meaning as long as you are in a deficit, you will lose weight. So, if your diet consists of milk and pop tarts you will still lose weight just the same if it was rice and chicken. Science will say yes, that is an accurate statement and I will have to tend to agree with this, but with the caveat of food selection does matter when calories are low to help with keeping you feeling fuller longer. If calories are higher you have more wiggle room to be super flexible, but you want to make sure that eat enough voluminous food to keep our hunger at bay the best you can. This is not to say you can’t have some chocolate here or there, but be mindful of if you are truly hungry for chocolate or are you just craving because you are bored. 

Calories are derived from foods and the three macros that give our bodies fuel for our everyday lives. This includes brain function, awareness, body performance, and all of our everyday occurrences. So, with that being said, I will have to say common sense will tell you the better you eat the better everything else will perform. We’ve all heard the car analogy and it rings true. Our bodies as athletes are high performance machines like a Ferrari and do you want your Ferrari to perform with all cylinders? Yes, of course you do, so you don’t put cheap oil and cheap gas in it. You put the expensive stuff in it. Our bodies are the same way, the more nutrient dense food you feed it, the better it performs. Foods that are more than just processed sugars, foods with vitamins and minerals in them, foods that have more complex carbs and better nutrient profiles. So yes, a calorie is a calorie, but if you feed it with the best food it will perform day to day at a high level. If you’re performing at a high level, you will burn more calories throughout the workout. You will increase muscle size, endurance, and strength. Good calories will also help with recovery so you can workout harder and more often throughout the week. You want to emphasis good quality food to get good quality muscle size and weight loss. 

This is just a basic overview into calories for weight loss and weight gain with the idea of freedom to eat, but understand your choices and where you are at with total calories. Key takeaways are:

  • Eat whole quality foods over processed food to keep you feeling fuller longer

  • Calories are calories but to take your body to the next level you need to pay attention to the foods you eat

  • Be consistent week to week and make small adjustments in calories when you hit a plateau.

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