All about calories

Losing weight is a challenge no matter what level of fitness you may have. In theory, it is very simple. All you need to do is eat less calories than you burn! “How many calories do I burn per day?!” I hear you ask. Like most things in life this question can be answered with the help of some simple maths (groan).

A person’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of calories that you will burn per day just by living, breathing and sleeping. This can be worked out using the following formula:

Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in lbs) + (12.7 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)

Using this formula will give you your BMR! Your BMR is then multiplied by one of the following numbers, according to your weekly activity levels:

Sedentary: BMR x 1.2

Lightly active: BMR x 1.375

Moderately active: BMR x 1.55

Very active: BMR x 1.725

The number that you now have is approximately how many calories your body needs to maintain its current weight! Remember that everybody is different and this final number may need tweaking to suit you. For those that are looking to lose fat, you must eat less than your maintenance calories (approximately 150-300kcal less than maintenance). This is known as a caloric deficit. Similarly, those looking to gain some size will be looking to eat more calories than their maintenance (150-300kcal more than maintenance). This is known as a caloric surplus.

For those that have actually undergone a fat loss phase, you know it's not as easy as this to shed weight. This is where exercise comes in handy, especially high intensity exercise like you do in your conditioning classes at the gym! A combination of regular exercise and being in a caloric deficit is the basic recipe for fat loss – that’s not to say you won't run into some obstacles along the way, but that's what we're here for.