How Many Calories do YOU Need?
Do you know how many your calories you need a day to obtain your fitness goals? Do you know how many grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat you need? If not, you are going to have a difficult time reaching your objective. Whether it is to gain muscle or lose body fat or a combination of both you still need to know how much of each of the macro nutrients you need.
There are 3 ways you can lose weight. They are dehydration, lean weight loss (muscle) and fat loss. Obviously the first 2 are not good. Fat loss is what the majority are looking for or a combination of lean mass increase and fat loss. This is the optimum situation.
Lean weight loss comes from eating too few calories and/or not eating frequently enough during the course of the day. Cutting your calories to below your daily activity level will enable you to lose weight. However if you cut them too much you will shut your metabolism down. This is your body’s safety feature to prevent starvation. You can live without food for over a week. Why is that? Your body realizes no calories in (or not enough), so your body will hold on to the calories because you are not consuming enough for you body to function properly. This means you will actually store fat!
When you lose more than 1 1/2 to 2 pounds per week then you have lost muscle. If you lose weight faster it is coming from water or muscle or a combination of both. This is also why people put weight back on after following a low-calorie diet. They lose muscle. Muscle is live tissue and the body’s most metabolically active tissue. When you lose muscle it slows down your metabolism and you actually burn fewer calories than before!
Cutting calories can also affect you in other ways too. Less energy from food is used as body heat and turned into fat instead. This can also suppress the activity of certain thyroid hormones which will slow down your metabolism even more.
The 5 to 6 meals you should be eating a day should include the proper combination of proteins, high starch and fibrous carbohydrates, and healthy fats. When you combine your carbs with your protein and fat you will actually slow down the digestive system. This will slow the release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream which will prevent the overproduction of insulin.
Don’t try to lean out by dropping your carbs down to an extremely low amount. When you don’t have enough carbs in your system it is almost impossible to build muscle. If there is not enough insulin available to transport amino acids (the building blocks of life) into muscle cells the body will break down its own protein into amino acids for fuel. This means you are using the nutrients your body needs for muscle development as energy.
Your nutrition is up to 80% of the results you will reap from life as well as your exercise program. It is proper nutrition that allows you to avoid mood swings and make the correct decisions. When your body is getting the proper ratio of nutrients it enables you to deal with the day to day stresses of life. If you are unsure as to what your daily caloric intake and the breakdown of protein, carbohydrates, and fat should be based on your personal goals please see a professional. This will save you time and frustration and at the same time enable you to reach your fitness goals. You will then be able to enjoy life to its fullest!
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