It’s time to look at one of the fundamental building blocks of a healthy lifestyle, nutrition and diet. To clarify, diet doesn’t mean vegan, keto or cabbage diets. It simply means what you are eating. Whether it is high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat, carnivore, vegan or whatever, any and all diets fall under one simple principle…
All diets fall under calories out minus calories in. It’s as simple as that. You cannot have extra weight (energy) if you aren’t supplying your body with the extra food (also energy) in the first place. Likewise, if you are trying to gain weight/put on muscle, the energy to do so has to come from extra energy from food. Think of your body like a car. If you only want to get to one destination, you won’t need any extra fuel in the tank, you’ll just need the right amount to get there. The same is true for your body.
What are the right portion sizes?
Now you know the most important part, food in versus energy out, it’s time to look at how much food to put in. You may have heard the government guidelines stating that the average woman needs 2000Kcal (Kcal = calories) and the average man needs 2500kcal. However, these are only averages and there are more precise methods of figuring out your calorie requirements. The most common way of working out how many calories you need is the Harris-Benedict equation, which goes as follows:
Basal Metabolic Rate (your metabolism) = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) and then you either add 5 if you’re a male or minus 161 if you’re a female.
And then, you need to work out how much you burn by doing exercise. This is known as your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), which is BMR multiplied by:
• 1.53 – active job but don’t really exercise
• 1.76 – exercise daily
• 2.25 – very active job and train every day
Whatever number you get from this is how many calories you need. There are lots of handy apps that will do the maths for you and don’t forget, the friendly fitness team who will be more than happy to help. Remember, if you want to lose weight, you need to eat less that your BMR.
How much protein do you need?
The next question we get asked most is how much protein do you need. Like everything gym related, it varies based on your goal. If you want to maintain your current body weight and don’t really want to build muscle, then government guidelines of approximately 0.8g/kg of body mass is fine. If you are interested in gaining muscle then, a recent study done by Schoenfeld et al. has shown that you can have up to 3.1g/kg of lean muscle mass before the protein synthesis becomes inefficient.
How much water do you need?
Another common nutritional question is how much water should you have. Fear not, this one’s easy! You should be aiming for 2 litres of water a day but if you’re engaging in particularly hard exercise (marathons, mud runs, etc.) then you should be aiming at half your body weight in pounds and then multiply by 0.03. For example, if you weigh 200lbs, you should be having approximately 3 litres of water a day.
If you have any more questions, please feel free to come and ask the fitness team who will be happy to help.
Written by John, Personal Trainer.