Most of you know that I make weight loss videos on YouTube. Recently, a lot of people have made videos talking about confusion regarding tracking their food and exercise in various software. Seeing that I just wrote about figuring out my recommended daily calorie intake for weight loss, I thought this would be a great time to address the subject.
The problem comes when the person is exercising and they aren’t sure whether to enter it into the calorie counter app or not. Actually, the real problem is figuring out whether they are trying to eat a certain number of calories regardless of exercise or inclusive of it.
Normally, the software will give the person a certain number of calories to aim for during the day and as they eat and enter their food, the program will tell them how many calories they have left to eat. Here is an example from my calorie calculator app:
As you can see in the picture above, I still had to eat another 1,300 calories (actually a little more since my “calorie budget” is a little higher than what’s in the app) for that day.
Keep in mind that the goal is that by the end of the day, you will have taken in enough calories to meet your goals (maintenance, bulking, or losing weight). So it’s not just about eating a certain amount of calories, but it’s really about the balance between the amount of calories that you’ve burned versus the amount that you eat.
So if your goal is to eat 300 calories less than you burn for the day, then you need to either figure out how many calories you burn on average or figure out how much you burn day-to-day.
There are two ways to handle tracking both your exercise as well as your eating in various software, so that this goal remains clear.
Accounting For Exercise In Your Calorie Counter App
1) Include Exercise Into Your Average Daily Caloric Needs
First, you can figure out how many calories you burn in a day INCLUDING your normal exercise. For me, that number is 2,820. Then you establish how large of a deficit you want…I’m shooting for 500 calories as stated above. So as long as I follow my normal exercise routine, I just eat 2,320 calories and ONLY ENTER MY FOOD into the app.
This way, you don’t have to worry about doing any math or getting confused between calories eaten and net calories (or any other terms). Just put your limit in the app and log your meals!
If you notice, you don’t have to think about adding in your workouts, looking for net calories, or wondering if your app is actually telling you to eat more or not.
2) Enter All Meals And Workouts As Individual Events
Second, you can enter everything in as it happens. This means that you should enter in every meal and every workout as you eat/do it. All of the calorie tracking programs that I have seen will tell you how many calories you have left to eat for the day in order to achieve the deficit (assuming weight loss in your goal) that you want.
For instance, for each day my goal is to eat 500 less calories than I burn. My calorie calculator estimates that I burn 1,928 calories each day just by breathing and doing my normal daily functions, so my goal would be to eat 1,428 if I never did any exercise.
However, if I know that I do an intense workout that burns 1,000 calories, I will have burned 2,928 calories for the day – that will put me at a 1,500 calorie deficit. So in order to meet my goal of having a 500 calorie deficit, I need to eat an additional 1,000 calories that day.
Basically, I set up the calorie counter app as if I am not going to work out; then whatever calories I burn through exercise, I need to eat that amount so that my caloric deficit isn’t larger than my goal.
To me, the first option is much easier because you already incorporate your exercise into your daily numbers. In this case, all you have to do is track what you eat and hit that one number.
In the 2nd method, you always have to check to see how many calories each workout burns and then increase your eating to offset the extra burn. This leaves room for confusion (plus it adds more work).
For me, I want to make this process as quick and painless as possible, so I have no problems continuing to do it even when I get to a more comfortable weight.
© 2013, Khaleef “Fat Guy” Crumbley. All rights reserved.