Clean Eating. IIFYM. Calorie Counting. So many ways to monitor your fitness goals are available and today we take a look at Calorie Counting.
Lets start by explaining what a Calorie is. A Calorie is a measure of energy the food supplies the body with- 4.2kj make up 1 Calorie. Every macronutrient, or macro, has a caloric value based on a per gram basis:
1g Protein = 4 calories
1g Fat = 9 calories
1g Carbohydrate = 4 calories
1g Alcohol = 7 calories
Alcohol you say? Yes alcohol has a caloric value all of it's own. Alcohol is known as an empty calorie, thus providing no nutrient benefit per gram you consume.
MOST EFFECTIVE WAYS TO COUNT MACROS
The most effective way, in my opinion only, to count calories is to work in reverse. Now stay with me here as it can be tough to follow if you aren't familiar with it.
Say you have been put on a maintenance diet of 3000 cals.
From that amount you are aiming for 240g of protein which is 960 calories.
So we go 3000 - 960 leaving us 2040
Carbs have been put at 350g which is 1400 cals.
We now have 2040 calories left - 1400 leaving us 640 cals
Fats have been calculated at 70g per day which 630 Calories.
So come days end we are left with 640 - 630g of fat = 10 calories left over which means if you go over slightly its covered.
It sounds all daunting but once you have persevered with it for a few days it becomes extremely easy to calculate- plus there a numerous Apps and desktop apps to help you keep track.
TIP- I find counting BACK from your targets are more effective way to achieve them. If your target is 240g protein and your first meal has 45g I would count back and say 195g to go rather than 45g
My clients will be familiar with this term as it is how i describe calorie counting- Discipline Dieting. The thing with calorie counting is there is no hiding- if you blow out, fail to hit your targets or simply don't follow through with it there is no hiding the results. They are there in black and white and also there in your body composition.
The other part of Discipline Dieting is being honest to your self- If you have a Freddo Frog and it doesnt fit in, write it down- don't just 'ooops I forgot'. Having an accurate description of what you are consuming gives both yourself and your trainer an idea of what supports to put in place- also what training methods and intensity you are going to be able to complete with your level of food intake.
DO I HAVE TO WEIGH ALL MY FOOD? WHEN DO I WEIGH IT?
To gain an exact caloric amount weighing your food is paramount. Simply guessing isn't going to give you an accurate display of your energy intake. Weighing of your food should take place raw- if your trainer has accounted for that. Personally, I weigh my food as a final preparation before consumption as I know what my exact intake is right before I eat. You can find the macro-nutrient values of most raw foods on an app like My Fitness Pal and on the packaging of all foods in Australia.
TIP- Everything has a caloric value- don't forget sauces, condermants etc
So their you have it- a support article on Calorie Counting. In conclusion I would be using calorie counting as an effective method to loose body fat and to keep your dietary intake on track. Understanding your macro-nutrient requirements and intake are pivotal in you achieving the goals you set yourself. Happy Counting :)