Fuel the Machine

by Amy Amato
(New York City)

Female  Estimated Daily Calorie requirements

Female Estimated Daily Calorie requirements

While exercise is important, nutrition is indicative of optimizing lean body mass. Too often, people think if they exercise like an Olympian, they can eat whatever they want and not gain fat! Not true! Others believe, if they deprive their body of food, that it's a fail-safe, quick method to fat loss. Again, not true! Finally, some assume if they exercise daily and limit their food intake to a low amount of calories, they will lose unwanted pounds. Sorry, it's not happening. Depending on your activity level, your body has specific daily calories it needs for daily functions. Note the following:

A calorie is the heat output of an organism and fuel or energy value of food. Three important nutrients we get from calories are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Carbohydrates are the chief source of energy for exercising muscles and all body functions. Proteins build and repair body tissues such as muscles. Fats are the most concentrated source of energy and supplies more than twice as many calories by weight as a carbohydrate and protein. Fat insulates the body and preserves body heat. It also transports the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

TRUTH: In order to lose fat, one must expend more calories than they consume AND simultaneously obtain adequate amounts of nutrients to maintain or increase muscle mass.

TRUTH: More calories are needed to build more muscle. More muscle burns more fat. More muscle+less fat=more calories burned. If you feed your muscles by healthy eating habits, they will burn more fat. So you need to eat!

TRUTH: A diet with 55-65% of caloric intake of carbohydrate, 15-20% of caloric intake of protein, and 25-30% of caloric intake of fat coupled with physical activity is ideal.

Keep in mind, there is no secret potion, no magic trick, or snapping your fingers to transform your body. Only you can control what you feed your body and fuel the tank with!

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