161 hours part 2: Eating for You


by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

In part 1 we covered sleep and its overall effect on your health; particularly how it will effect that approximate 7 hours in the gym per week. If you missed part 1, approximating that you spend an hour a day in the gym is where that number comes from. It is also where 161 hours comes from because that is the rest of the hours that you have left in your week outside of that 7 in the gym.

Next, let’s talk about eating for you. Now I would like to preface this by saying that I am by no means a dietitian. I am just trying to offer up some general information that is out there. It will be pretty basic and bare bones, but provide you with some useful information to think about when you are considering what to eat throughout the day.

One of the more important things you need to know is if you are eating the right amount. In order to know this, first you need to figure out what your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is. For those of you who may not be familiar with the term, your basal metabolic rate is the amount of calories you’d burn if you stayed motionless throughout an entire day. More or less, this is the absolute minimum amount of calories you should consume in a given day for your body to function normally.

Why is this important? Well caloric needs are obviously different from person to person. A 275 lb male is probably going to need more calories in a given day than a 120 lb female. Sometimes you may think to yourself, “Well I’m eating the same amount as that person, so why are they losing more weight than I am?” Chances are they have a higher BMR, so their caloric needs are different than yours.

But how do you know your BMR? There are a lot of BMR calculators out there that can give you a reasonable estimate as to what your BMR is based on things like: gender, height, weight, age, and activity level, but the most accurate way to calculate it is going to be to get hooked up to a machine and get an actual test done. This takes into consideration factors that a general computer calculation cannot, such as: the oxygen your body uses, carbon dioxide it produces, and your heart rate and rhythms. The test takes about 15-20 minutes and it completed while you are at rest.

Once you know how many calories you absolutely need, you can start to consider where your minimum consumption should be at for your macronutrients. Now remember, this is essentially an absolute MINIMUM. This does not take into account the extra calories you may need when you are using more energy during something like exercise. So in reality, you are going to need to consume more than your BMR because your day is likely going to involve some type of movement or work that causes additional calories to be used up. Now macronutrient needs differ from person to person, but the general recommended breakdown is as follows: Carboydrates-45- 65%, Protein-15- 25%, Fat-20- 35%. Let’s say somebody’s BMR is 1850, and the breakdown they are looking to follow is 50% Carbs, 25% Protein, and 25% Fat; then you can actually calculate that at the LEAST, you should be consuming 925 calories from carbohydrates, and 462.5 calories from both proteins and fats.

This is so important for hitting your goals in the gym. If you know your BMR, where your macronutrient numbers are, and can factor in your daily tasks or exercise; then you can actually have a real plan when putting together your meals for the day. Then you know that you have to hit AT LEAST your given amount for carbs, proteins, and fats. Any less and your body is not going to be able to function optimally in or out of the gym. Depending on your goal, you can use these baseline numbers as a reference to hit them as well. Trying to lose weight? While you will still want to consume at least your BMR in calories, you can use your exercise to create a calorie deficit. You want to make sure you are creating a healthy deficit however. Too large of a deficit and it’ll be similar to not consuming your BMR in calories; your body will not quite be able to function optimally. If that deficit is at about 500 calories a day, or 3500 per week, that should cause you to lose about a pound a week. Want to gain weight? Figure out your BMR+Additional Calories burned in a given day, and make sure that you are consuming more than that.

Sounds pretty simple, right? The truth of the matter is, it’s not all that difficult to figure out. However, most people have no clue what their BMR is. In turn, they really have no idea how to eat for their particular goals. Most people looking to lose weight just think it is going to happen if they dramatically cut down how much they eat. If you are not consuming the calories that your body absolutely needs to function, it may be just as detrimental as overeating. So know your BMR, have a plan, and your goals are already going to be more achievable!

Health Status


Everyday Health

Follow Us