Calories; what exactly are they, why do they affect our bodies and hormones, and how can you manipulate them while maintaining optimum health?
Here is everything you need to know…
The first thing you need to understand about calories is that they are units of energy, NOT units of fat or weight.
Your body needs enough calories daily to survive at base level, to function physically, and to keep your health and hormones up to scratch.
Every single person has their own personal Basal Metabolic Rate – your BMR is the rate at which your own body burns calories.
Your BMR depends on your own weight, height, age and activity level.
You can calculate your own BMR using the Harris Benedict Equation.
Once you have calculated your BMR, you know exactly how many calories a day you should be consuming for optimum health and aesthetic maintenance.
My personal BMR is around 2100calories a day.
If you are trying to gain weight, add say 100calories to your BMR and monitor your progress.
I do this when I’m not trying to get lean for a holiday or photo-shoot, because I personally try to pack on as much muscle as possible in my down time.
I’ve actually never had to go higher than 2200calories a day in order to see results, although those who struggle to gain will have to progressively add calories over the course of a few weeks / months in order to do so.
If you are trying to lose weight, cut 100calories from your BMR and monitor your progress.
I do this when I am trying to get in the best aesthetic shape possible in the weeks before a shoot.
I’ll usually start at my BMR rate, and cut 100calories a week over the course of a few weeks.
I’ve never had to drop lower than about 1300calories a day, but again I know girls who drop down to about 1100calories daily in the weeks before competition and are absolutely able to train hard and keep their hormones in check.
Whether you decide to add calories to gain or drop calories to lose, after a few weeks / months you are going to want to consider reverse dieting.
Reverse dieting means either gradually bringing your calories back UP to your BMR, or back DOWN to your BMR.
You need to do this because your BMR is where you are going to sit healthiest in terms of your daily energy levels and hormones.
Once you understand calories and how they can change both your internal and external physique, you can start to look at macronutrients.
Macros are the nutrients your body needs in order to survive and maintain optimum health.
Specific proteins, fats and carbs are you 3 macros and how you divide your daily intake of the 3 is the next step in changing your body.