Archives for January 2014

Should I Count Calories?

Should I Count Calories?

When first embarking on any new fitness journey there are many factors we must take into consideration. What you should do is dependent upon these factors. If the primary goal for your fitness journey is one simply based on numbers such as wanting to lose weight overall, wanting to cut down your body fat percentage, or wanting to gain x pounds of muscle, than counting calories may play an important role in the level of success you realize during the course of your journey.

On the other hand, if you are simply looking to get a little more fit, or just want to be healthier overall, there are some simple changes you can make to your day to day habits that will allow you to accomplish this without adding the painstaking chore of counting and logging calories to your regimen.

1-1-16103425_l-001When your fitness goal is based in the numbers game, than things such as how many calories you consume, how many you burn, and the percentages of the macros you consume each day are things you should probably pay attention to. If you are looking to lose weight and are not so concerned with building new muscle or working on tone and definition just yet, than your primary task towards achieving your goal will be to create a caloric deficit each day. You do not want too large of a deficit or you risk putting yourself at risk for encountering other health problems that may hinder your weight loss efforts.

You want to achieve a realistic and sustainable deficit that will allow you to lose no more than 1-2 pounds of fat a week. This is the ideal and healthy range of weight that you should aim to lose. In order to lose 1 pound a week, you will need to create a weekly deficit of 3500 calories in your diet, either through diet, exercise, or a combination of the two. You can learn in greater detail how to figure out how many calories a day you should eat in order to lose weight here.

1-1-11982265_ml-001If you are trying to lose fat while building or maintaining muscle, or attempting to gain muscle without gaining fat, than how much you eat as well the types of food that you are consuming become even more important to pay attention to. You will need to make sure that you are fueling your body for your workouts and providing enough energy to your muscles for growth, without leaving yourself with excess calories that will likely end up stored as fat.

This can be a tricky balancing act and is one that usually takes time to discover what ratios of macros, what times of day to eat, and even exactly how many calories you need to consume to offset your training will be best for your body and its unique needs. For more detailed information on proper nutrition, check out our podcast episode, Nutrition for Weight Loss - Your Macros and Food Quality.

If your goal is not to dramatically reduce your overall weight and you are not looking to achieve the chiseled, muscular figure of a fitness model as soon as humanly possible, but you are looking to improve strength, stamina, and overall health than calorie counting is likely not going to be your cup of tea. You can make some simple changes to your daily habits such as:

  • drinking more water and less of other beverages, especially those high in sugar or caffeine
  • eating more fruits and more vegetables (specifically the green ones)
  • cutting back on unhealthy fats (NO trans fat, cut back saturated fats from animal products) and adding in more of the good ones (avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil)
  • cutting out bleached and refined sugar and flour and other processed foods
  • eating REAL food in its most complete forms is a good rule of thumb, the less ingredients, the better
  • getting enough sleep each night
  • getting your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day through a combination of cardio exercise and resistance training


While the list above certainly is not fully comprehensive, you can see just how easy it is to make little changes to our daily lives that will improve our quality of life. If making dramatic changes to your lifestyle seems overwhelming, then start small making only one change at a time until it becomes routine for you.

Little by little as you implement more of these small changes you will begin seeing big results over time. You will begin to feel better, have more energy, discover more ease in your day to day activities, and will more than likely begin to notice positive changes in your physical appearance as well. Though we often desire big changes to happen overnight, the reality is that changing ourselves takes time and that it is the little things done consistently over a long period of time that make the greatest difference. By being kind to our bodies and doing things that are healthy for them, we will as a result begin to realize the benefits that such choices have on our lives.

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