In order to reach your goal weight, whether that's bulking up or shedding a few pounds, it's a combination of eating right and exercise that will get you there. But there's one thing that you need to keep an eye on in order to reach your goals, and that's calories.
What is a calorie?
A calorie is a unit of heat energy. It's what fuels our bodies – much like gasoline fuels a car. But you don't want to put in too much or too little, otherwise your car won't run properly. Different foods have different amounts of calories, which can come from three things: fat, carbohydrate and protein. Fat is what has the highest amount of calories – 9 calories per gram of pure fat. Carbohydrates and protein are a little less, with four calories per gram. This is why in order to lose weight, many ditch the fatty foods and reach for protein-packed meals instead.
How many calories do I need to lose weight?
There is no set magic number of calories a person needs to expend in order to lose weight. It depends on a number of factors, including activity level, body type, age, height, weight and gender. For example, an active person burns more calories, and therefore needs to consume more to stay healthy. If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you're consuming. When your calories out is higher than your calories in, you will be at a caloric deficit, meaning body fat, muscle tissue or both will be burned. One pound is equal to 3,500 calories. So if your goal is one pound per week, you would need to cut out about 500 calories per day.
To gain weight?
Not everyone is looking to lose a few pounds; many are trying to do the exact opposite, whether it's to build more muscle or put on some weight after a surgery. Either way, it's all about consuming calories – and not calories from greasy fast food. Look for foods with lots of protein, like a healthy shake. Whip up a tasty shake using protein powder post-workout to help you bulk up in no time. Naturade Weight Gain is perfect for amplifying your caloric intake. But exactly how many calories do you need? You need to eat more calories than your body burns in order to create new muscle tissue. You must be above your calorie maintenance level, which is where your body is at when you consume and burn the same number of calories – if you do this, your weight will stay the same. But if you want to see the number on the scale increase, you want to be above the maintenance level, otherwise known as a caloric surplus.
Whatever your goals are, if you wish to reach your desired weight, keeping a calorie journal is a great way to do it. It will help you keep track of exactly what you're eating and how much you're exercising to help you see how you can improve or if you're on the way to reaching your goal.