The True Story Behind Calories in Versus Calories Out
Amidst so much confusion about calories, how much we burn, how much we take in and how to optimize this equation for maximum fat loss, I thought I’d shed some light on this subject for you to fully understand how this all works so you can maximize your results.
Lets start with calories in. Calories in, of course is the energy we take in, ie calories from food. In order to maximize this and utilize what is called the Thermic Effect of food, we must take in foods that are difficult to digest, or in other words, require the body to expend more energy from these foods for digestion. The foods at the top of this list are lean proteins and fibrous vegetables. Use these two items as your staple and build around them by adding an occasional fibrous fruit, and some healthy fats. Couple this with minimizing starchy carbohydrates and unhealthy choices which include most boxed and packaged foods.
Perhaps the most confusing part of the Calories in versus Calories out equation is the Calories out portion. One component that is either not known or overlooked is that our bodies require energy just being alive. For many that amount is anywhere between 1100 and 1500 calories or more. Then on top of that we have lifestyle activities which vary from person to person. Then we have exercise.
So lets say you need to take in 1500 calories per day to lose fat. Your body burns 1100 calories being alive (conservative). So you are at 400 calories in favor of calories in, which is not where you want to be. However you have an office job which has you sitting most of the day so you burn another 400 calories from that. Now you are even in calories in versus calories out.
No here’s where it can make or break your success. Say person A chooses long steady state exercise with weight training with long rest periods. Their workout session lasts 1.5 hours and they burn 800 calories with minimal additional calorie burn during their recovery because the body regulates faster after workouts of this format. All together person A is in a deficit of calories in by 800 versus calories out. For person A to burn 1 pound of fat (3500 calories in deficit), it would take them a little over four days.
Now take person B who chooses to perform a shorter workout of 30 minutes utilizing minimal rest periods and exercises that require multiple muscle groups at a high intensity level. During their workout they burn 400 calories, however continue to burn for 24-36 hours during their recovery due to such a disturbance and high intensity nature of the workout. When it is all said and done they have burned 3600 calories post workout. This puts them at a 3600 calorie deficit in their favor to burn fat. That would mean 1 pound of fat lost per workout.
Too often people look at eating less, which can work however there is another component that can boost your resting calorie burn (the calories where you burn being alive). By utilizing weight training and eating enough to maintain your lean muscle you can in effect boost your resting calorie burn (your metabolism).