IFBB athlete, sports nutritionist, health coach, Eleiko strength coach, and founder and technical director at Balance gym and Hers gym Coach Muhammad Zayed takes his expertise in health and nutrition to resolve any misconceptions you may have about calories and weightless.
Calories in VS calories out
Finding your body’s ideal caloric intake is not as simple as substituting your number into an equation or adopting the infamous calories in = calories out methodology. A lot of factors should come to play when choosing a healthy, balanced diet, like metabolic rate, amount of exercise, body type, and the number of calories you’re already consuming. Your base metabolic rate is predominantly determined by your genetic makeup and hormone profile, but can be relatively modified through diet and physical activity. Calorie reduction in an already calorie sparse diet should not exceed a certain threshold to avoid malnutrition. The individual variability among different bodies should also be taken into account.
More important than the number of calories is the source of calories. Ideally, the calories entering your body should come from high value, low calorie foods. Foods like nuts and nut butters, fruits, and chia seeds are very rich and healthy, but they also are super calorie dense. The fundamental balance between carbohydrates, fats, and proteins can’t be stressed enough. Going low on calories without giving much attention to the source of calories might rid you of a few kilos, but it will definitely not give you the body shape that you want, nor will it spare your muscles.
The amount of physical exercise affects the body’s burn rate and should thus certainly be added into the equation. An athlete who trains daily can’t adopt the same diet as someone who works out twice a week. The type of physical activity, whether cardio, strength, resistance, … etc., also plays its part and will affect the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins balance mentioned earlier as well.
There are 3 major body types: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph. Ectomorphs are naturally very quick to burn both muscles and fats. Mesomorphs build muscles easily and are not so quick to accumulate fats. Endomorphs readily accumulate fats and easily build muscles. This is all, of course, a spectrum, and is widely susceptible to genetic variability. No one is purely one of the 3 types; it simply depends on where you lie on that spectrum.