Nutrition, often overlooked by exercisers, can be the difference maker in attaining your goals in the gym. Whether you are looking to lose some weight, gain some muscle, or get stronger, nutrition plays a vital role, and figuring out your ideal caloric intake can be done in a couple easy steps.
- Figure out your Basal Metabolic Rate. What does this mean? Your BMR is the amount of calories you would burn in a day if you did absolutely nothing at all. It is purely the amount of energy required to keep you alive. Many online calculators can help you find this number by plugging in all of your stats (body weight, height, age, etc.)
- Find your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This is your BMR plus all of the calories you burn in your daily acitivities. This could include your job, exercise, etc. An online calculator can also help you to “guesstimate” this as well.
- Now that you have your TDEE, now what? Well first, what is your goal? There are a couple rules you can follow, depending on your goal. If your goal is weight loss, we want to aim to burn 500 more calories per day than we eat. This would help you to roughly lose 1 lb. per week. If you want to maintain weight, we want to eat the same amount of calories that we burn. And, if you want to gain muscle, you will need to eat 500 more calories (roughly) that you burn each day.
- Here are examples for each scenario for a person that has a TDEE of 2000 calories:
- Losing weight, they would want to consume 1500 calories per day.
- Maintaining weight, they would want to consume 2000 calories per day.
- Gaining muscle, they would want to consume 2500 calories per day.
Now that you know how to find your caloric needs, the next best step would be to use a nutrition tracker (MyFitnessPal), in order to track everything you eat, trying to get as close to that caloric intake as possible. After that, you will want to figure out the amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats (macros) you will want to consume. For more tips on figuring out your macros, check out our blog next week, “Figuring Out Your Nutrition Pt.2: Macros”!
By: Ryan McIvor