Caloric Intake, Running The Numbers For Health
Caloric consumption and exercise are equally important not only for losing weight but for maintaining and gaining weight. A low caloric intake due to a poor diet can cause slow metabolism and/or loss of muscle mass. If you exercise vigorously it is important to replace half of the calories you are burning. The most common diet question I receive as a personal trainer is, “What diet is best for me?”
Firstly, let’s address the appropriate role of a physical trainer. A standard physical trainer focuses on fitness, exercise plans, and documentation of the client’s statistics and goals. Meal plans and diet management are the roles of registered dietitians, not physical trainers.
Next, let’s take a look at the word “diet”. Its mislabeled definition derives from fast-weight-loss advertisements, plain and simple. Eating less and using meal replacements is a poor method for losing weight. Many also think that losing weight includes restricting the body’s food supply and caloric intake. This is counter-productive. Poor eating habits will cause the body to cannibalize muscles and store its fat as a reserve for survival. Truthfully, the word “diet” refers to how we eat each day, not its association with unhealthy means for shedding pounds.
Caloric Intake, Know your RMRs
If cutting food out to lose weight is ineffective, then it is safe to say that eating a lot is also a disadvantage for those looking to gain weight or bulk up. What of those who want to maintain weight? We can determine the appropriate caloric intake for each of these scenarios with the help of Resting Metabolic Rate (RMRs). The simple rule is as follows; people who struggle with weight loss will have a low RMR, while those who struggle with weight gain will have a high RMR.
Basically, long-term, low-calorie dieting is going to slow metabolism. For those already with low RMRs, caloric consumption needs to meet or exceeds their needs; otherwise, these already low RMR dieters may be setting themselves up for even more fat accumulation due to slowed metabolism.
Those with high RMRs should maintain RMR minimum intake in order to avoid an unwanted loss of body (muscle) tissues through starvation. Low RMR individuals generally burn fewer calories during daily activity than high RMR individuals performing the same type of work.
Caloric Intake, The Addition and Subtraction Formula
A pound of body weight equals 3,500 calories and how the number will vary for each individual is less important than ensuring that our equation has a solid foundation. If you cut your calorie intake by a 500-calories-per-day daily interval for seven days (7X500=3,500), you can expect to lose one pound of body weight each week. If you cut your intake any lower, you may lose unacceptable amounts of lean tissue as a consequence.
Most researchers say that the optimum fat loss rate can be reached by eating 500 fewer calories per day than the amount required to maintain weight, which means finding the body’s resting metabolic rate (RMR) + daily activity + exercise expenditure.
Weight gain is also controlled using the number 3,500 as a metric. In the course of gaining weight keep additional calories at approximately 500 a day over the need for weight maintenance. Again, RMR + daily activity + exercise expenditure will optimize lean weight gain while minimizing fat gain. It is advisable to use resistance training as part of the weight gain or weight loss process.
Extreme diets that lead to either weight loss or weight gain are counterproductive. Such diets will result either in too much muscle loss during weight loss or in too much fat gain during weight gain. Under no circumstances should a diet be less than your required resting metabolic rate (RMR) needs.