Energy Balance : The Tailor Made Approach to Weight Goals
When I was 15 my mum bought me a suit for my school prom. Anticipating a growth spurt, she insisted on buying it couple of sizes too big. Consequently, I would be able to wear it more than once. So, dressed like the cast of Bugsey Malone I went to my prom... 12 years on and it still fits like a lady’s power suit from the 80s. Needless to say, I never had another growth spurt and whilst I’ve had opportunities to wear that suit again, I’ve always chosen one that’s a better fit…
"if you have a nutritional goal such as burning fat, building muscle or sufficiently fuelling your body for a sports training/ competition schedule, a tailor-made approach towards your energy intake WILL provide the best results."
The 2500kcal for males, 2000kcal for females, daily intake guidelines are just that. A guideline. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition set an estimated average requirement for total energy intake (kcal) and the energy yielding macronutrients carbohydrate and fat. The estimated average requirement meets the energy requirements of 50% of the population (19-64 year olds). Protein, the other energy yielding macronutrient, uses the reference nutrient intake guideline (covers 97.5% of the population). As do the micronutrients. There is less leeway given for these nutrients because a deficiency of any of them is both easier to achieve and impairing to your health. So, just like my old baggy suit, the energy, carbohydrate and fat guidelines serve a purpose. However, if you have a nutritional goal such as burning fat, building muscle or sufficiently fuelling your body for a sports training/ competition schedule, a tailor-made approach towards your energy intake WILL provide the best results.
The Estimated Average Requirements:
Total Energy Intake = 2500kcal for males, 2000kcal for females
Carbohydrate = 50% of total energy intake for both genders
Fat = 35% of total energy intake for both genders
The tailor-made approach:
For a better fit one needs to take many factors into consideration. For example, if you compete in a sport at a relatively high-level carbohydrates are imperative to performance outcomes. Therefore, your actual daily carbohydrate requirements will no doubt exceed 50% of your total energy intake. On the flipside if you are overweight or obese and your stand out goal is to burn fat; your actual daily carbohydrate requirements will be under 50% of your total energy intake. Going into the specifics of macronutrient ratios relative to your goals is beyond the scope of this blog post. However, it is important to note that there is leeway between your macronutrient intake ratios, providing you intake all the essential nutrients and your calorie (kcal) deficit/ surplus does not exceed 600kcal.
Energy Intake > Energy Expenditure = Weight Gain
Energy Intake < Energy Expenditure = Weight Loss
Putting it Into Practice
To estimate your required total energy intake, you will first need to estimate your basal metabolic rate (amount of kcals you burn per day at rest) and your physical activity level (amount of kcals you burn via physical activity). One way you can estimate both is with a simple equation. Unfortunately, this is not the most accurate way. However, it is much more accurate than the estimated average requirement guideline and the only method I can present in this short blog.
Finding your basal metabolic rate (BMR):
Using the table above complete the following equation…
[weight coefficient x your weight (kg)] + [height coefficient x your height (m)] + constant = _______ (your BMR).
Now you have your estimated BMR you are ready to multiply it by your physical activity level (PAL) value.
Using the table above select the appropriate PAL Value and complete the final equation.
_______ (your BMR) x PAL Value = __________ kcals per day (your total energy expenditure)
Now you have an estimated total energy expenditure you can match it for a balanced energy intake or eat up to 600kcal +/- the estimated total depending on your goals e.g:
Maximum total energy intake surplus = total energy expenditure + 600kcal
Maximum total energy intake deficit = total energy expenditure – 600kcal
And who knows, if i keep using this approach that suit might even fit me one day…