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Good and Bad Calories Part 1

Are you eating too many calories?

Written by: Shin Ohtake, Fitness & Fat-Loss Expert
Author of MAX Workouts, The Ultimate Lean Body Fitness Program
Truth is you can exercise all you want…if you’re eating more than you’re expending, you’re not going to lose weight…period.  You simply can not out exercise a poor diet.  In fact you can’t out exercise any diet, no matter how healthy it may be, if you’re eating too much of it. 
No matter what if you’re trying to burn fat and lose weight you have to have an energy (caloric) deficit.  That means the amount of food (energy) you eat must be less than the total energy you spend. 
That being said, exercising is absolutely essential, especially if you’re goal is to lose weight by burning fat while keeping your lean muscle so you can get lean and fit…not just skinny and unfit. 
For optimum results you need to do both.  You need to reduce the total daily calories you eat in a day and you need to exercise. 
It’s probably not what you wanted to hear.  And I know it sounds terrible and truth be told, it can be pretty miserable if you go about it the wrong way.  But there’s a right way to approach this seemingly dreadful situation that’ll make it much easier and sustainable for the long term.
In this 3 part series, I’ll show you how to strategically plan your diet and exercise, so you can lose weight, burn fat, get lean, strong and fit without feeling deprived of food and drained of energy. 
Part 1
Creating a caloric deficit in your diet sounds simple enough.  Just don’t eat as much.  Well, if you’ve tried that approach already, you know it’s much more difficult than it sounds.  If you’re used to eating a 12 inch sub everyday at lunch, it’s difficult to only eat a 6 inch sub and not feel completely deprived.  You may be able to get away with it for a day or two, but it’s too difficult to maintain for the long term. 
Another common mistake is that most people greatly underestimate how much they eat in a day and grossly over estimate how many calories they burn in a day.  Not to mention, most people have absolutely no clue as to how many calories they should be eating in day to maintain their current bodyweight.  Going on how you feel or what you think isn’t good enough.
The good thing is, you can easily figure it out by keeping track of the foods you eat through out the day.  It takes a little time and effort but once you get used to it it’s actually not difficult at all.  Plus, there are plenty of free online tools that you can use to make this an easy process.
I would keep track for at least 3 days preferably a week and then take the average over those days. 
Once you figure out how many calories you eat in day, you need to figure out how many calories you need to maintain your current weight.  Once you get that figure, you can compare the two and find out how many calories you need to reduce in order to achieve the desired calorie deficit. 
Now there are many different ways to figure out your maintenance calories, but one of the most popular equation used is the Harris Benedict Equation.  This equation uses your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) to calculate your maintenance calories, so it’s fairly accurate for the average person.  However it’s not accurate for individuals that are either really lean or morbidly overweight.  So when you’re using the calculator to estimate your maintenance calories it’s important to keep that in mind.
Here’s the equation:
BMR Formula (Imperial)
Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in year )

BMR Formula (Metric)
Women: BMR = 655 + ( 9.6 x weight in kilos ) + ( 1.8 x height in cm ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 13.7 x weight in kilos ) + ( 5 x height in cm ) - ( 6.8 x age in years )
Once you figure out your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), now you can use the equation below to calculate your estimated maintenance calories.
To determine your total daily caloric needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:
  • If you are sedentary (little or no exercise): Maintenance Calorie = BMR x 1.2
  • If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): Maintenance Calorie = BMR x 1.375
  • If you are moderatetely active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): Maintenance Calorie = BMR x 1.55
  • If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week): Maintenance Calorie = BMR x 1.725
  • If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training): Maintenance Calorie = BMR x 1.9
Now that you know how to estimate your maintenance calories, you can figure out how many calories you need to be eating to create a caloric deficit.  How much calories you want to cut out of your daily calories is up to you.
As I mentioned earlier, just trying to eat less of what you currently eat, is not the best way (especially) if you’re used to eating a typical North American diet where majority of your calories come from carbohydrates.


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