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How you can EAT MORE to BURN MORE
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September 1, 2011

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5 Comments

How you can EAT MORE to BURN MORE

Yesterday, I got a question from one of my followers on twitter asking me the following regarding weight loss and calorie deficits:

1. “If you reduce the calories you eat , how are you supposed to have energy for workouts?”

I answered that you should increase your caloric intake to fuel a good workout but then got asked this:

2. “How do you create a shortage from increased calorie intake ?”

Simple questions but the answers are complicated. I actually researched for a couple hours to see if someone could explain this thoroughly. I couldn’t really find anything sufficient so I will do my best to explain this as best as I can without making your heads blow off.

So let’s attack question #1…”If you reduce the calories you eat , how are you supposed to have energy for workouts?”

We need to be talking about reducing calories from WHAT. If you’re reducing calories from your daily energy requirement (amt of cals it takes to function as a human at your daily activity level – ie. sleep, eat, walk around, go to work, go to school, etc.) then NO you will not have energy to workout. It takes a certain number of calories to function at a certain activity level. If you’re going to add more activity then you need to add more calories.

Analogy:

Think about calories as money and your activity level as paying bills. Right now say you make $3000/mo and you spend $3000/mo to pay rent, the phone bill, buy groceries, and go out once in a while. You are not in debt but you are not saving up either. What comes in also comes out. You are simply SURVIVING.

Now say you want to buy a new bag for a wedding you’re going to, it’s $500. How are you going to afford it? You can’t just buy the bag out of nowhere. You have to make $500 more to spend $500 on the bag.

Reality: 

To basically function in your day to day activities, say you require 1400 calories. You aren’t losing weight or gaining weight so 1400 is perfect for maintenance.

Now you want to workout to tone up for your friend’s wedding. It will take extra energy to add this into your daily lifestyle. The workout will burn 500 calories. You can’t just eat 1400 cals and just suddenly tack on a madwoman workout. You don’t have available energy – where does the energy come to fuel a workout that will burn 500 calories?

The FINAL answer to question #1:

To fuel energy for workouts, do not decrease calories – in fact, eat more. No this does not mean you are at maintenance again but just at a higher level. Strength training will help build lean muscle mass so that each time you workout, you will burn more calories at rest. Lean muscle mass does that. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn in general. The 500 calories that you torched in that 1 hr at the gym actually equals a surplus of calories burned throughout the day on top of your basal metabolic rate. Let me say this again, YOU WILL BURN EVEN MORE CALORIES THROUGHOUT THE DAY THANKS TO YOUR WORKOUT. That’s why it is ok to eat more.

Now then comes question #2…“How do you create a shortage from increased calorie intake ?”

Remember, you have increased calorie intake but with the PURPOSE of fueling a workout. If you simply increased to increase, you will gain weight from the excess if you do not figure out a way to utilize your extra energy. Because this increased calorie intake is now appropriate for your new activity level – this is your base – and you can create a deficit from this new number. Do not look at your old daily energy requirement. Yes it is higher but you are a different person now, you do different things. You are no longer just living a sedentary life, you have a new activity level and a new daily energy requirement to function as a human being who works out.

Analogy: 

You got promoted and now are making $5000/mo instead of $3000/mo. How do you create a shortage from an increased paycheck? You can now afford to buy a new phone, a new computer, that bag and a pair of Louboutins. Oops, you’re in debt now.

Reality: 

So now you feed your body 1800 calories of nutritious foods – an increase from your 1400 previously. Because of your increase of 400 calories, you can finish a crazy workout and torch 500 calories in 1 session AND burn extra calories throughout the day (on top of your basal metabolic rate) because of your increased metabolism and increase in lean muscle mass. You are in a caloric debt now and on your way to fat loss.

The FINAL answer to question #2:

Yes you can create a deficit from increased caloric intake because this new number is just your new daily energy requirement. You don’t need to compare it to what you consumed in the past unless you are comparing similar activity levels. A more intense activity level requires a higher caloric intake for proper human function and optimal performance.

Umm, I hope that all made sense? OMG if not…here are the take-away points:

-When looking at calories in and calories out, a 500 calorie meal does not fuel a 500 calorie burning workout. Sometimes you wake up and all you need is a 110 calorie yogurt or 200 calorie bowl of oatmeal to get you through that morning spin class.

-A calorie is not a calorie is not a calorie. Not all calories are created equally.

-If you are looking to lose weight, choose to fill yourself up with nutritious and filling calories full of fiber and protein. You’ll notice that a 350 calorie sweet potato, chicken breast, and broccoli meal will fill you up longer than an 800 calorie hamburger and fries combo.

-In the end willpower will get you through the workouts and closer to your goal.

Ok that was my attempt at answering the questions. I just read this over again and am thinking that I may have potentially lost some of you along the way. Can you tell me if this makes sense or not? HONESTLY. Any feedback or rebuttals would be appreciated. Or if you can find an article that explains this better, please share with me! I couldn’t find anything that would go beyond the usual 3500 calorie deficit per week = 1 lb loss thing. No one talked about the science of the calorie deficit and how it affects your will power.

Anyway, time for bed. 2:45am. Kinda late. Maybe when I wake up tomorrow to reread this post, it will not make any sense. Romena, hope that helped ;P

<3 Cassey

5 thoughts on “How you can EAT MORE to BURN MORE”

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  1. Stephanie says:

    wow casey everything from your workout videos to nutrition advice and motivation tips are amazing!!.

    To take the time out of you life to help others is so inspirational!. Its a shame not everyone out there is supportive but I truly appriciate everything! 🙂 . I am from New Zealand and also are passionate about health and fitness. Im still trying to figure out where i should be heading career wise, what your doing is so amazing!, just makes me realise how much i want fitness and a healthy lifestyle in my life!. Personally food is the hardest! Getting the willpower to say dont eat that cake! lol would love to see more nutrition videos 🙂

    Keep it up! You have lots of fans and support 🙂

    1. blogilates says:

      Ok! More food videos then!

  2. Gwen says:

    Actually I do have a problem with your numbers.
    You said:
    “To basically function in your day to day activities, say you require 1400 calories. You aren’t losing weight or gaining weight so 1400 is perfect for maintenance.”

    As I leaned it, about 1500 kcal are needed just to keep the vital organs functioning. This is, what your body needs if you just lay in bed, don’t move a finger, don’t use your brain (which is a power needing organ, too).
    It’s also known as “Basal metabolic rate” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basal_metabolic_rate

    “One study of 150 adults representative of the population in Scotland reported basal metabolic rates from as low as 1027 kcal per day (4301 kJ) to as high as 2499 kcal (10455 kJ); with a mean BMR of 1500 kcal (6279 kJ).”

    But, as you read further, you learn: “Thus there are differences in BMR even when comparing two subjects with the same lean body mass. The top 5% of people are metabolizing energy 28-32% faster than individuals with the lowest 5% BMR.[7] For instance, one study reported an extreme case where two individuals with the same lean body mass of 43 kg had BMRs of 1075 kcal/day (4.5 MJ) and 1790 kcal/day (7.5 MJ). This difference of 715 kcal (67%) is equivalent to one of the individuals completing a 10 kilometer run every day.[7]

    Nevertheless: its the Basal Metabolic Rate we are talking about! What your body needs in rest! Every other activity adds to this number- and we are not yet talking about sports! Moving around, going to work, working, using your brain, adapting to temperature… and so on.

    Therefore saying “To basically function in your day to day activities, say you require 1400 calories.” is only right for a few small people. For most people 1400 calories is what you need to function WITHOUT any day activities, not to mention sports.

    If you add some normal day activities (For me as a student its mostly sitting, sometimes standing), the numbers are different:

    For me, these numbers where suggestet:
    “You need 2108.6 calories per day to maintain your current weight without exercise.

    You need 1998 calories per day to reach your goal weight slowly and maintain that weight without exercise.”
    ( I don’t know this homepage, but the numbers are comparable to the german sides I’m using: http://nutrition.about.com/library/bl_nutrition_guide.htm)

    As you said, it’s important to eat enough if you want to excerize. But the numbers are very different.

    I learned: don’t go under your BMR. Don’t go for more than half a kilogramm per week loss. Your body will function at 1500 kcal- but it will be in a state of hunger. Its easer to loose weight without your body loonging for nutrition- and this may be already at 1400, not to say at 1200 and below.
    Of course there is a huge difference between different people. Therefore you should keep track, try going up und down for long terms. Because its normal to gain weight after you starved your body. But it will normalize.

    So please, please don’t take the numers as the intake a not dieting person should take in! This will end in people eating only 1200 and less.

    1. blogilates says:

      If you read my statement it again, I’m using just 1400 as an example.

  3. K says:

    this was a great way to explain this!
    thanks cassey!

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