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How Many Calories Do You Need to Consume to Support Your Exercise?

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When calculating how many calories you need you need to support your exercise, five factors are taken into consideration:

  • Weight
  • Height
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Activity Level

Basic Metabolic Rate

The Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is a measure of the number of calories you need while at rest. It takes into consideration height, weight, age and gender. The formula for women is BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight (lbs.)) + (4.7 x (height (in.)) – (4.7 x age (years)).

Using the values of 145 for weight, 5’6” for height and 30 years for age, here is the result for a female. BMR = 655 + (4.35 x 145 (lbs.)) + (4.7 x (66 (in.)) – (4.7 x 30 (years)) = 1,454 calories.

For men, the formula is BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight (lbs.)) + (12.7 x (height (in.)) – (6.8 x age (years)).

Using the same values for a man, the result is BMR = 66 + (6.23 x 145 (lbs.)) + (12.7 x (66 (in.)) – (6.8 x 30(years)) = 1,605 calories.

Activity Level

Once you know your BMR, then factor in your activity level to calculate your AMR or Active Metabolic Rate which is the number of calories you need to support your current weight at the current activity level. Most calculators use these five levels and corresponding factors:

  • Sedentary Lifestyle — Little or no exercise – BMR x 1.2.
  • Lightly Active Lifestyle — Light exercise or sports 1 – 3 days/week – BMR x 1.375.
  • Moderately Active Lifestyle — Moderate exercise or sports 3 – 5 days/week – BMR x 1.55.
  • Very Active Lifestyle — Hard exercise or sports 6 – 7 days/week – BMR x 1.725.
  • Extra Active Lifestyle — Very hard exercise or sports 6 – 7 days/week – BMR x 1.9.

Calculating in the activity level for our sample female, her AMR comes out from a low of 1,754 calories at the sedentary level to a high of 2,762 calories at the extra active lifestyle; for the male using the same data, it ranges from 1,926 calories to 3,049.

Once you have your AMR, then you can adjust the number of calories you need based on weight goals. Use the AMR to stay at the same weight; eat an additional 500 calories per day to gain one pound in a week; reduce your calories by 500 per day to lose one pound in a week. The calorie deficit can come from either food, activity level or ideally, a combination of both.

Once at goal, recalculate your AMR to get the number of calories you need to maintain your new weight at goal. And keep in mind that if your activity level changes, you will need to adjust your AMR again.

How Soon Should You Eat Before a Workout?

A lot of us are quite clueless when it comes to working out, and although we often understand the basics, there’s still plenty of things we don’t know. One of the issues that people worry about when exercising is how soon before and after they should eat. You shouldn’t eat right before you start working out, but how soon is too soon?

Health professionals recommend that you don’t eat less than half an hour before your workout. Giving your body any less time than this to digest the food can result in pain while you are exercising. When we exercise, the systems used for digestion are restricted, thus preventing your body from properly digesting any food. If you give your body food to digest and it is not able to do so, it can often result in pain and discomfort.

How much should you eat before a workout?

If you’re going to eat half an hour before you work out, you should have a light meal of no more than 100-200 calories. Larger meals will give your body more food to digest, and you will have to wait longer than half an hour before exercising if you want to avoid pain and interruptions. Larger meals can be consumed around 2-3 hours before you exercise, and you can eat around 500-600 calories without having trouble.

What types of food should you eat before a workout?

You should avoid eating stodgy carbs or sweet fatty treats before your workout. Many people eat a banana before exercising since this fruit boosts blood sugar levels and helps you to get more out of your session. You can also eat lean meats, wholemeal carbs such as brown bread or brown rice, salad, eggs and protein bars. A small Greek salad, for example, is the perfect meal to have just half an hour before you work out.

Will you lose weight if you eat before a workout?

Eating too soon before a workout can mean that your body doesn’t burn as much fat as it would otherwise. If your body is too busy trying to get rid of the food you have just ate, you won’t burn as much of the excess fat that you’re trying to get rid of. This doesn’t mean that your workout will be totally wasted, but since you’re putting in the effort to exercise in the first place, you might as well make every single minute count!

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