Quality over Quantity - 17/6/2013
Clients often ask me, ‘How many calories should I be eating?’ The answer? I don’t know... And that’s not because I’m stupid or I don’t know what I’m talking about. It goes like this.
Everybody has a different ‘Basal Metabolic Rate’ (the amount of calories we burn daily at rest) and based on lifestyle and exercise/activity involvement, your calorie expenditure can vary greatly from the next person.
From an initial point of view, I would ask you to focus solely on the fundamentals:
Training intensely using interval-based metabolic resistance training 3 times a week, and eating the right stuff.
Every meal should consist of protein, (good) dietary fat, and fibrous carbohydrates (fruit and veg, preferably the latter). You should incorporate starchy carbohydrates into your meal plan after training when your liver and muscle glycogen levels are down. As glycogen levels become heavily depleted during this time, we need to top them back up again with carbohydrates.
At this stage you don’t need to focus on how much you’re eating (within reason); just concentrate on eating small meals every few hours and making sure it’s the right stuff.
Okay. So you have been a grade A student for the last month. You have followed the nutrition plan to the letter and you have been training so hard that you’ve had to buy new trainers. And you still haven’t started to see the results you’re looking for! Highly unlikely, but if this was the case, then (and only then) would I address the amount of calories you’ve been eating and focus on removing some of them. The content of the food would not change: we would consider either losing a meal or cutting portion sizes.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: don’t focus too heavily on how much you are eating too early on in the game. Counting calories is a nightmare, boring and a guaranteed way to confuse yourself. Eat well, train hard, sleep well and let the results speak for themselves. If like 99.9% of people, you’re looking awesome, feeling on top of the world and have a new found wardrobe, then you will never count a calorie again.