I see this mistake all the time; people wonder why their hard work isn’t yielding results. You have to understand your body’s caloric needs, and respond accordingly! The science is solid: to gain weight, consume more calories than you burn. To lose weight, burn more than you consume. It really is this simple.
Factoring every daily activity into your schedule and diet plan may seem like overkill- it’s not. Failing to account for something as small as a protein bar can have a huge impact over the course of several days. The difference between gaining and losing weight is only around 600 calories!
Okay, so now you know why it’s so important to stay on top of things. You’ve figured out how much you need to consume, but now there’s just one problem: how many calories are burned lifting weights? It’s definitely a good question, and one that depends on the person. How much energy you spend also depends on how intense your workouts are.
Sprinting is going to be more intensive than jogging – common sense. Generally, I expect to use around 500-700 calories per workout session. However, I train with a high intensity schedule that incorporates lots of volume. Your needs are probably different.
That is alright though! Regardless of how hard you train and what body type you fit into, there’s a simple and easy way to determine how many calories you need daily. Eat the same amount of calories every day for a week, say 2,500. If you have neither gained nor lost weight at the end of the week, you know your calorie maintenance is at 2,500. That means to lose weight, try to get in about 2,200. To put on muscle, eat around 2,800.
You will have to experiment to learn how many calories your body needs. The number one goal is to become more comfortable with knowing how your body responds. Calories aren’t the only important thing to consider. You also need to get in enough protein.
Aim to get in at least 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight. Chicken is a great protein source that isn’t heavy on the calories- it’s perfect for feeding your body when you’re trying to lose weight. On the flip side, red meats such as beef and pork are great high-calorie protein sources for those trying to pack on muscle.