In today's world of fitness, counting calories has become very important if you are serious about your fitness goals. It's the way you ensure that you're on the right track and not just hoping and guessing your way to your fitness goals. As you may know, calories are significant for losing, maintaining, and gaining weight. That task alone can be difficult for people who aren't used to it or that hate math.
The not so exciting part is after you calculate your total calories for your goals is now you have to tracks your macronutrients. There are three macronutrients, and they are carbs, fats, and protein — all with their role in how they help the human body function. We need them as humans to live a well-balanced life.
So how do you calculate your calories and macros? Also, why do people do it? Well, before we get into how you get those numbers, let's talk about why it's crucial for results. Let's say you have a goal of decreasing your body fat, and you weigh 200 lbs, but you would like to get down to 180 lbs. That's your target weight, and because you are trying to lose weight, you'll have to burn more calories or consume fewer calories. You have a goal but wouldn't know where to start because you don't know how many calories to eat daily to hit that goal. The fact that you don't know can hold you back. Now let's say you did the math and found your number, then you would be set and ready to begin, and the best part is you wouldn't have to guess.
Now that we understand why it's essential, here's an example of how counting calories would work. Meet Jason; he's a 35-year-old male who weighs 250 LBS but would like to get down to 200 LBS.
We know his goal weight, which is needed, so now what we do is multiply that by 12 or 13 and well have Jason's total calories so that he can lose weight. Understand that the fewer calories Jason will be consuming will put him in a caloric deficit. A calorie deficit is a must for someone trying to lose weight.
who = Jason
current weight = 250
goal weight =200
200 x 12 =2,400 calories
Jason would have to consume 2,400 calories to reach his goal weight of 200 lbs. Now, that's his daily calories, and Jason can split that into as many meals as he wants. Let's say Jason wants to eat three meals a day, which would be breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Every meal he eats would have to be a total of eight hundred calories per meal or just hit 2,400 any way he can. If you divide 2,400 by 3, you get eight hundred. Jason would have to be consistent with this eating to see results. After four to eight weeks, Jason would start seeing significant changes, maybe even sooner.
Now for your weight loss goal, you do the same, and once you get your number of calories, you need to stay consistent with your eating. Most people weigh their food to ensure they are getting the correct amount of calories, but either that or a fitness app like "MY FITNESS PAL" should help you track them.
Now, if you wanted to count macros, which are carbs, fats, and protein, you would have a lot more math to do. It's important to know that once you have your total calories, you are fine. You can still reach your goal even if you don't have your macros. It's better to have at least your protein intake, but both of those are more than enough. So how do you count your macronutrients? Since we were using Jason as an example, and his goal was to lose weight, let us keep that in mind when calculating his macros.
Carbs, fats, and protein all carry a certain amount of calories per gram. Carbs and protein both carry four calories per gram, and fats hold nine calories per gram. This information is essential to know because we will get our numbers in grams and calories, also for people who weigh their food, this information is vital.
Remember Jason's current body weight is 250 LBS, but his goal body weight is 200 LBS. So we take 200 and multiply it by one because we want one gram of protein per pound. Also, keep in mind his total calories are 2,400 daily to lose weight.
goal body weight (200) x 1 = 200 grams of protein
grams of protein (200) x 4 (protein has 4 grams per calories) = 800 calories from protein
Jason needs 800 calories or 200 grams a day from protein daily.
Now that we have Jason's grams and calories of protein w'ell calculate his fat intake.
Multiply .25 by the number of calories Jason needs which is 2,400
.25 x 2,400 = 600 calories of fat
600 divided by 9 (fats has nine calories per gram) = 66 grams of fat
Jason needs 600 calories from fats, which amounts to 66 grams. Now the last macronutrient is carbs, and usually, it's saved for last, and it's more simple than calculating protein and fats. First, we add the calories from proteins and fats, then subtract that number from Jason's total calories.
800 cal of protein + 600 cal of fats = 1,400 cal
1,400 cal - 2,400 cal (Jason daily cal) 1000 cal of carbs
1000 cal divided by 4 ( carbs are four calories per gram) = 250 grams
So for Jason to lose weight, he needs 800 cal of protein, 600 cal of fats, and 1000 cal of carbs daily. When you add all three numbers up, you get Jason's total calories, which is 2,400.
I know all that might seem overwhelming, but once you practice it, you'll get better. Also, remember you only need the total calories and protein to lose weight, not all three macros nutrients. After all that math and discussing macronutrients, you are probably asking what do they do and why are they essential.
Macronutrients are essential because they fuel our bodies with the power to operate correctly, let us break down each nutrient and what they do.
In conclusion, counting calories is an excellent tool to learn when starting but doesn't need to continue. There are other ways of controlling calories, such as portion control. All three macronutrient is essential for our health and well being and should be consumed daily. Now that you have the understand of calories, crabs, fats and protein you should have more confidence and motivation to reach your fitness goals.
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NASM CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER
NASM FITNESS NUTRITION SPECIALIST
NASM FAT LOSS SPECIALIST
Christopher Gilbert is a Personal Trainer based in New York City and is known for his effective nutrition and workout programs along with his intense training sessions.