So some people say that a calorie is a calorie. Is this true?
The answer is a simple NO! Not all calories are equal and that is why we must understand HOW they differ. This is why so many fad diets are in vogue, as they do target problems we face when changing our bodies, however in the end can be problematic. All things in moderation is the key.
So what IS a calorie? A calorie is a unit of energy. When you hear something contains 100 calories, it's a way of describing how much energy your body could get from eating or drinking it. It also means if we ingest too many calories, our body stores it as fat! I will not get too technical, but provide enough information that you can make the proper decisions on how to focus on your training program. A gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories, a gram of protein has 4 calories and a gram of fat has 9 calories, while a gram of alcohol contains 7. So we see that carbs and proteins are equal while fats and alcohols contain roughly twice as many calories as carbs and proteins. Therefore, we should limit fats and alcohols while focusing on carbs and proteins for our fitness program. We cannot eliminate fats as they are required in the body, but you CAN eliminate alcohols.
While this is all true, proteins are needed for the repair or building of muscle after exercise. Carbs are turned into glycogen and used as muscle energy. The brain only works on glycogen converted form carbs, so while many diets try to eliminate it, I suggest simply cutting back. Carbs consist of things like bread, potatoes, rice and the like.
Proteins are essentially things that come from an animal, like cheese, meat, milk, fish and the like. Beans and other things also contain the basic building blocks of proteins so should be included in your diet. While this is over simplified, it should give you a basic idea of what I am talking about.
Now the body is an amazing machine. It can convert one component of the diet into another when necessary. If we take in more carbs than our bodies need, the body will turn it into fat as a reserve should we need it. That is why limiting carbs in necessary for a healthy fitness program. Likewise, proteins can be converted into carbs by the process of gluconeogenesis. This is essentially turning non carbohydrates into a form of carbs. This is a longer process than simply turning carbs into fat so is the reason we should focus on getting more proteins into our diets than fats or carbs. So this is my basic biology lesson on what a calorie consists of boiled down from over 43 years of learning into a few simple pages.
So how can we use this information to change our bodies? To lose weight (fat) I suggest upping your protein intake, while cutting back slightly on your carb intake. This does NOT have to be drastic. To explain further know this. There are 3500 calories in a pound. By simply cutting back 250 calories a day (mostly in carbs) and burning 250 calories a day through exercise you will lose 500 calories a day. If you do this 7 days in a row, you will drop a pound of fat in a week. Multiply that over 52 weeks and we have lost 50 pounds in a year.
If you are too skinny, focus on lifting weights to build muscle and add another 250 calories a day in both proteins and fats and you will slowly start to put on muscle and weight. While this may be confusing to some of you, I tried to boil this down as simple as I could. I have been training others for over 26 years now, so it comes easy to me. While true, it didn’t at first.
Stick to a proper fitness program, add some cardio and weight or resistance training into your fitness program and make minor adjustments to your diet and you WILL have success. If you go to www.garanfitness consulting.com I have provided a free basic workout program to get you started.
If you want to know more, go to garanfitnessconsulting.com, or FB at Garan Fitness Consulting or Garan Fitness Tactical Training. Additionally, you can find video guides on Youtube at Garan Fitness Consulting. If you wish to contact me, go to www.garanfitnessconsulting.com or Garan Fitness Consulting at 330-554-1345. I also do one on one and online training, so reach out to me if you are interested in learning more.