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Nutrition E-Book

How many calories should

How many calories should I eat? The key is to eat the appropriate number of calories relative to your daily expenditure. If you eat more or less calories than you expend, then you will gain or lose weight respectively. The amount that you expend is day is variable depending on numerous factors, but my previous statement is true nonetheless. There are numerous ways to estimate daily energy expenditure. There are plenty of online calculators that can reasonably estimate resting metabolic rate, and then provide adjustments for additional activity. A quick Google search should result in a number of options. Fair warning: folks who are significantly more or less muscular than average may find that these estimates are inaccurate. However, for most individuals these calculators provide a reasonable starting point to estimate daily energy expenditure. Another option to estimate daily calorie needs is to log your dietary intake over the course of a week or so. Assuming your weight doesn’t change significantly during this period, the average intake each day will represent a reasonable estimate of maintenance calorie intake for the day. There are lots of applications that can help reduce the time it takes to accurately record information about your diet. Again, a simple Google search will offer some options for you to explore. Once your daily intake has been estimated, adjust your intake based on the desired change to body composition. If you are looking to add muscle or lose body fat, then I suggest adjustments of plus or minus 20% respectively. Further adjustments can be made after seeing how these changes affect body composition and body weight. If your body weight stagnates for a couple of weeks, try another adjustment of 20% in the appropriate direction. Another approach is to reduce daily intake by 500 calories for every pound you want to lose each week. A weekly 3500 calorie deficit should result in about a pound of fat loss. There is a limit to how much you can reduce intake below maintenance without increasing the risk of losing muscle mass. Property of Perform for Life 1

How do I count calories? As referenced in the previous question, there are numerous applications and websites that can help with calorie counting. Most applications have a pretty extensive food database that includes pre-packaged items and menu items at chain restaurants. Accuracy of entries into these applications will be more accurate if you prepare more meals at home. Obviously you have greater access to the nutritional information when you know all the ingredients that went into a meal. When eating out at restaurants, a best guess will have to suffice if nutritional information is unavailable. A decent rule of thumb to use as an estimate when no information is available, and you can’t reasonably estimate the caloric content of the meal, is to assume the meal is 1500 calories. How much protein/carbs/fat should I be eating each day? By far, the most important macronutrient to pay attention to when your goal is changing body composition is protein. Protein has the most impact on building muscle as well as retaining muscle mass while in a calorie deficit. Under most circumstances, the range you should shoot for each day with respect to protein consumption is 1.5-2g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. Err on the side of too much rather than too little. Additional protein isn’t harmful (except in some cases of kidney disease), and a select portion of the population may actually have protein demands that exceed the top end of the aforementioned range. As well, there is some evidence that demands are higher than the range I specified during a calorie deficit, or for specific individuals. Additionally, protein requires more energy to digest and process compared to the other macronutrients, which helps in creating the desired Property of Perform for Life 2

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