This has always been one of the biggest discussions in fitness. How many calories should I be eating? There are too many articles that can make this concept too difficult so I will do my best to give you the basics.
Whether you want to bulk up, maintain, or cut down, it all comes down to calories in vs. calories out. Based on our age, weight, and activity level, we all have a caloric maintenance level. That is, the amount of calories we need to consume daily in order to maintain whatever current weight we are at.
If your goal is to add some lean muscle and bulk up, your body needs to be in a caloric surplus (calories in > calories out) in order to have the necessary nutrients to fuel muscle growth. Before you get excited, this doesn’t mean go nuts and eat everything in sight but rather begin by adding 500 calories to your maintenance levels to ensure that you are minimizing fat gains while adding muscle by not going overboard with unhealthy food options.
When you are trying to lose weight, don’t completely starve yourself with some ridiculously low calorie diets. Your body will go into starvation mode and you will actually end up storing fat. The best way to start is to reduce your maintenance calories by 500 (calories in < calories out) and allow your body to properly adapt to the new diet.
With either option this is the perfect starting point. Add or reduce your caloric goals by 500 and give it a few months to gauge your progress. If you find you’re still not gaining/losing weight as you were hoping, add/reduce by another 300-500 calories. It’s important not to shock your body with a heavy excess or monster drop in calories right off the bat but rather allow it to adapt and you will see much better results!
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