How We Burn Calories

“We need calories to burn calories”

Have you heard of this mantra? Unfortunately, even if you’re someone who works out, there’s still a chance that you might not be familiar with it. So, calories – you want to burn them, but do you really know how they work?

In short, a calorie is a unit of food energy, usable energy units that our body uses to live and build muscle. You need enough energy to simply do all the general activities of living, while keeping your circulation, respiration, organ function all intact. Exercising, or working out will require even more energy for our muscles to build up stronger and bigger.

One of the key principles to build a bigger, leaner body, is to know how many calories you need and take. Learn your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), which is equivalent to the number of calories our body burns in a 24-hour period. To do so, multiply your basal metabolic rate (BMR) with the amount of activity. To get BMR, use this formula

66 + (13.7 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)

Yes, it all sounds so nerdy and rocket-scientific, but the hard work always pays off. Trust the process (okay, this one should be familiar to all by now, or you might want to revisit other articles such as Intro to Exercise etc.).

If you want to maintain your current weight, you’ll need to eat at least the same amount of calories. If you want to lose weight, then you need to make sure you eat slightly less than that amount. And if you want to gain weight, then you should eat slightly more than that. These are the exact words of Brigitte Zeitlin (R.D., C.D.N.), the owner of BZ Nutrition in New York City, an internationally renowned nutrition guru, who has featured in Vogue, Women’s Health, Us Weekly and many other magazines that might be the reason you start living healthy in the first place.

However, not all calories are the same. All the calories in a can of cola comes from sugar, still technically calories but has no nutrient. In comparison, all the calories in a glass of orange juice also comes from sugar but accompanied by lots of vitamins and minerals. If you want to work out and get fitter body, you should know the obvious option.

Go for snacks with 200 to 500 calories, such as peanut butter on toast, piece of fruit. Consume them around thirty minutes to an hour before work out. Always allow yourself to digest or risk falling sick or ending up fatigue after work out, or getting injured, or the worst – messing up the gym floor with your spew. It’s similarly important to help build muscles by having, for example, two hard boiled eggs or whole-wheat English muffin thirty minutes AFTER workout.

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