What do you need to know about calories, which we too often try to eliminate at all costs? For the answers to all your questions, follow our Domyos guide.
What is a calorie?
A kilo-calorie is a unit of measure that you absorb or eliminate and allows you to determine the energy value of your food. It quantifies the energy provided by consuming food, but also your body's energy expenditures.
How many calories should I consume each day?
To find out what your body consumes each day, and therefore determine your caloric needs, you should refer to your basal metabolic rate. This corresponds to the ratio of expenditure/calories when you are at rest. This relationship varies according to age, weight, and physical activity. It will serve as a reference point to know what your body needs to maintain its vital functions.
How to calculate your daily caloric needs
To precisely calculate your base metabolism (in Kcal), use these formulas. The number you'll get corresponds to what your body burns at rest, over a 24-hour period.
Up to 18 years old
17.3 x body weight in kg + 651
from 19 to 30 years old
15.3 x body weight in kg + 879
from 31 to 60 years old
11.6 x body weight in kg + 487
After 60 years old
13.5 x body weight in kg + 487
How to cover your energy needs
To provide the fuel your body needs to function, you need to give it macronutrients through food (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins). If your weight stabilises over time, that means that your energy supplies equal your energy expenditures. On the other hand, if you gain weight, that means your body does not need all the energy you provide, either because your energy expended is too low, or because your dietary supply is too high. In any case, your body will store the excess energy, essentially in the form of fat (triglycerides).
How to increase your basal metabolic rate, and therefore your caloric expenditure?
Increasing your metabolism raises your energy expenditure: in other words, it burns more calories. How do I achieve this? With a targeted, healthy, and balanced diet and regular, moderate physical activity.
Eating provides more than just calories: digestion actually has an energy cost that corresponds to the nutrients absorbed. Some foods are harder to break down than others, so the body spends more energy to digest them. This is the case for complex carbohydrates (unrefined: whole grain pastas and rice, etc.) and proteins. However, lipids have a simple structure and are stored nearly as-is. Example: a 100 kcal steak will make you gain less weight than a 100 kcal portion of butter, because the body will spend more energy breaking down the meat than storing the lipids provided by the butter. So keep in mind that the energy value of your food should be taken with caution: actually, the calories stored also depend on the type of food you choose!
Exercising naturally increases your metabolism: to meet the needs connected to physical effort, the body taps into its reserves to feed the muscle cells. This is called catabolism. Over the long-term, this is how physical activity allows the body to spend more energy at rest.
What exercise to choose for burning calories
If you want to lose weight, you should reduce your caloric intake, which means to eat less and burn more calories, so move more. To do this, endurance activities called "aerobic" activities (like biking or using a treadmill, exercise bike, or cross trainer) are particularly effective. To sustain this type of activity, the body needs to tap into its fat reserves (since carbohydrates provide energy in a limited way). Because of this, when the body understands that it will need to exert an effort over a certain period of time, it starts to cover its needs differently. So it attacks lipids, starting by transforming them. To eliminate fats, you can also choose muscle strengthening activities targeting the primary consumers of calories: the large muscles, which are the legs, glutes, or back. (Muscles are large consumers of energy, so the more you have, the more calories you'll burn).
The right fitness accessories for burning calories
Certain fitness accessories are excellent at burning calories, eliminating fats, and avoiding cellulite issues. This is the case for jump ropes, steppers, or even mini trampolines, which particularly allow you to target the lower body. Try them and you can judge for yourself!
Now you understand, to burn more calories, above all, you should follow a suitable diet, but also and especially get exercise (at a rate of 30 to 90 minutes, at least 2 to 3 times per week). Go for endurance activities and try to build muscle: this is the key to losing weight!