Posts Tagged ‘calories’

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What the heck is a snack anyways? How many calories is it outside today?.

The Forbidden (timing of) Fruit!.

Human Energy Systems & Metabolism.

Macronutrient Energy Systems…

Energy can be derived from three major food sources, commonly referred to as Macronutrients- Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats (lipids). Energy can also be derived from Alcohol…as well as, increased estrogen levels in men coupled with elevated aromatization, specifically at androgen receptor sites, sclerosis of the liver, crazy fluctuation of Insulin levels, not to mention a cascade of catabolic processes that are set in motion. Generally (minus a couple rare extenuating circumstances), one gram of each of the three nutrients (plus Alcohol) yield the following calories:

1 gram of Protein = 4 calories
1 gram of Carbohydrates = 4 calories
1 gram of Fat = 9 calories
1 gram of Alcohol = 7 calories

For all intents and purposes, the calories in food represent a form of potential energy for our bodies to produce heat and to work. Knowing how many calories (i.e. energy) are in the foods consumed can reveal how much we need to perform the work inside our bodies as well as all our movements (e.g., Gain Weight). Conversely, if we eat less than we need, the body will draw on it’s stores for energy (i.e., lose fat/weight).

Human Energy Systems…

Our bodies must take the energy stored in foods (macronutrients) and transform it into an energy form our cells can use immediately and/or store for future use. Energy in the body is available for immediate use in the form of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). It is a complex molecule constructed with high-energy bonds which, when split by enzyme action, releases energy rapidly for a number of body processes including tissues in small amounts. Another related high-energy phosphate compound, phosphocreatine (CP), is also found in the tissues in small amounts. Although it cannot be used as an immediate source of energy, it can rapidly replenish ATP. ATP can be formed from protein, carbs, and fats.
Metabolism; Human metabolism represents all physical and chemical changes that take place in the body. Metabolism involves two fundamental processes: Anabolism and Catabolism. Anabolism is a building-up or constructive metabolism. Catabolism is the tearing-down process involving the disintegration of body compounds into their simpler components. The breakdown of muscle glycogen to glucose and eventually CO2, H20 and energy
is an example of a catabolic process. The energy released from some catabolic processes is used to support the energy of anabolism. Therefore, metabolism represents human energy. The metabolic rate reflects how rapidly the body uses it’s energy (calories) stores. Many factors affect this rate but none so much as lean body mass (LBM) and exercises.

Basal metabolism or Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) represents the energy (calories) required for fundamental life functions at rest, not including digestion of food. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is the BMR plus the additional energy expenditure needed to digest food. RMR is typically 5-10% higher than BMR. If we can estimate our RMR and add our daily activity energy needs, we arrive at an estimate of our daily total energy (calorie) requirements. This is our caloric maintenance level. In other words, our body fat or weight remains stable when consuming this amount of food. A favorable or unfavorable body composition change results from a disruption in a caloric maintenance or energy balance.

You’re Being Lied To…By The Scale!.

    One of my early mentors in bodybuilding used a phrase to explain ones relationship w/ the scale.  “The scale doesn’t lie, but it sure don’t tell the truth!”  How is that possible!??  Allow me to start by tackling the age old question- “What’s the difference between losing weight and losing fat?”  The common belief is that if you simply reduce your caloric intake you will lose weight and change your body composition.  This approach becomes flawed very quickly!

“Action is the fundamental key to all success.” -Pablo Picasso

    When the body experiences a continual decrease in caloric intake, it will lose both fat and muscle.  As a result, the numbers on the scale will drop twice as quickly.  However, muscle comprises a machinery necessary to burn fat.  If you lose this fat burning machinery, your body will not be able to maintain the weight loss (less muscle = fewer calories burned).
When attempting to lose “weight” the primary goal is the retention or increase of the present lean muscle tissue, which will enable you to burn more fat and eat more food.  Typically, when designing a weight loss program often times people initially state that they won’t be able to consume the amount of food recommended.  However, it generally does not take long for most clients to become accustomed to, and enjoy the quantity of food.  Additionally, the elevation in caloric intake becomes necessary in order to increase lean muscle mass.  As previously stated…by increasing your lean muscle tissue this will increase ones ability to burn fat!

“Believe in yourself!  Have faith in your abilities!  Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” -Norman Vincent Peale

Bottom Line…
Accomplishing muscle hypertrophy and/or body fat reduction requires continual manipulation of food consumed (potential energy measured in calories) and food used (work measured in calories).  When these two factors are equal (energy balance), there is no change in body mass.  This is also the state the body constantly strives to maintain.  In other words, every time the human body experiences an energy imbalance (mandatory for body mass change) it’s job is to bring the energy back into balance.  The body accomplishes this by adapting to the exercise and/or energy input (diet) and ultimately reaches a plateau.  At this point, an adjustment must be made in the energy output (exercise) and/or energy input (diet), if progress is desired.  The bodies obligatory response to energy imbalance creates the need for continual manipulation of food and work in order to achieve continuous progress.
The key to favorably altering body composition is to direct the body to use it’s stored fat to supply the extra calories needed to sustain or build muscle, therefore, simultaneously reducing the fat stores.  This is building or sustaining muscle at the expense of body fat.  This is the art and science (the fun stuff) of favorably altering body composition until you reach your goal.