In order for my body to function; meaning my organs working, body moving, breathing, doing day to day tasks, etc; it uses roughly 1,300 calories of energy a day. This is excluding workout. I eat roughly 1,800-2,000 calories a day. If I have a heavy workout I actually eat more. This is to make sure my body has the energy it needs to burn (fuel itself).
If I consumed only 1,300 calories a day even on workout days, I would be burning more than I was taking in. There are some trainers that encourage this. I think they’re wrong. (Just my personal opinion). When you look at the biomechanics of the body you can actually do yourself harm by not consuming enough energy calories. If your body doesn’t have what it needs to fuel itself, it begins to break down muscle. People automatically assume fat is the first to go. This is wrong! Your body will store the fat as “safety.” Your body needs fat as insulation so it will store the fat to protect itself and breakdown muscle as fuel instead. Muscle is what helps your body burn fat! If you are breaking down muscle, you can’t expect your body to burn fat!
I recently downloaded the app My Fitness Pal at someone’s recommendation. I put in my information and it said I should eat about 1,200 calories a day. My body needs more than that on a non workout day! I’m not trying to become tiny and skinny. I like my size. I like having muscle. This app is clearly not for someone like me. The only way for me to successfully hit a 1,200 calorie goal would be to cut down my protein amount, limit my carbs and up my vegetable amount. The last time I did this (back in 2005) I passed out due to lack of complex carbs. My body needed heavier carbs like brown rice and sweet potato to fuel itself for the amount I was working out.
I have heard people say “don’t worry about calories” or “ calories aren’t important if you’re working out.” That’s not true! Your body needs energy calories to function. Should you focus solely on calories alone? Absolutely not! Eating 120 calories of candy is not equivalent to eating 120 calories of an avocado (about half an avocado). Your body will use the fat and calories from the avocado as energy. The candy is straight sugar and can only be used minimally as energy. The rest gets stored in your body as fat.
Don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely not telling you to count calories every day. I am encouraging people to be aware of what they eat and how much they eat. Get an idea of how many calories you need a day to fuel your body and build your meals around that. You’ll eventually get good enough where you can pick foods and portions that will fuel your body enough without having to “count” those calories. Understand what fuel calories are vs fat calories.
Fuel your body! Don’t starve it. You only get ONE body here on earth.