Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Calories and You

Posted: August 5, 2012 in Nutrition

Sometimes we lose sight of the basics. We get caught up in the end goal and lose sight of what it should actually take to get there. Or maybe we never really knew how to get there in the first place.

You can only get so far in your health, fitness, and wellness goals by foregoing your nutritional priorities. You can’t approach this aspect of your training without care and tact, and you certainly cannot form a bull-headed aggression in your nutritional sacrifices in so that it undermines your health.

the basicsSo nutrition is a complex topic that has been simplified to calories for the mainstream audience, so lets work with that. Take a look at the picture above. Read it once, then read it again, then read it again. I hope it sinks in. It has come to a point in our culture that we avoid caloric intake to avoid gaining weight. Avoiding caloric intake is good to a point, but unfortunately I’ve seen with my own eyes when avoidance becomes a problem.

It starts with the idea that the less calories the better…

“How many calories should I eat?” is the common question. Honestly, you can’t be told that without at least knowing your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), often referred to as your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). This is essentially the amount of calories you’d burn if decided to be a couch potato one day. This is largely based on your height, weight, age, gender. Your caloric intake will then depend on your  activity level, hormones, genetics.. and the list goes on.

So sometimes people hear this and think “shoot I’ll just cut the calories and boom, problem solved.” And it starts out fine… calorie counting and cutting out excess eating. But some people take this too far, not realizing that they should be netting (consumed calories – burned calories) at least 1,200 calories a day (1,800 if you’re a male) because when you dip below this amount your body will be unable to sustain itself. Your body then reacts to this and slows down your metabolic rate, and therefore you don’t burn as many calories while you’re resting. Counter-intuitive wouldn’t you say?

Stop starving yourself. F–k anorexia. Tell bulimia to shove it.

Your body is a machine fueled by energy. So… let’s just say your body is a train fueled by coal. The whole point of a train is to get from point A to point B as efficiently as possible.  Without getting to detailed I’ll be realistic with this analogy…

To get the train to move at peak speeds coal has to be burning at all times. Now you can get the cheap coal, but you’ll need tons more of it, and that means you’ll be pulling along extra train cars to make this work. Or you could make some coal that’ll burn longer, and therefore you’ll need less coal, and less train cars. But this will cost you time (and therefore money based on the idea that time=money). And herein lies the familiar issue of time vs. money. And it’s tough to find the right balance, when in a perfect world you should be making that coal that’ll burn longer all the time and forget the cheap s–t. But that’s not what I’m getting at right now. Right now I want you to know that  just using less is not the way to go. You might not make it from point A to point B at all. If you want to cut your load of coal back you have to start using better coal, there’s really no other way.

That train analogy might have been a little asinine, so the above picture might give you a better idea of what I’m trying to say.

  • Yes, calories matter
  • Yes, there are bad calories and there are good calories
  • Yes, restricting your intake will help you lose weight
  • No, losing weight isn’t as simple as “calories in – calories out”
  • No, starving yourself (or regurgitating) won’t help you lose weight
  • Yes, the difference between restriction and starvation can be an unclear line.
  • Yes, knowing your numbers will clear that line up.

So yeah runners,  you’ll be a lighter load, but will you be strong enough force to move?

I believe my job is done here. (For right now anyways)

To the healthy eater in you,
Dels