What are calories?
A calorie is a unit of measurement. Specifically, it is defined as the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. We use calories to measure the amount of energy in an item of food or drink. The calories we consume supply our bodies with the energy needed to live and stay healthy. Everything we do relies on the energy that comes in the form of calories, whether it's sitting on the couch or running a marathon.
So why is this relevant?
The number of calories you consume over a period of time will dictate your body composition. If your goal is to lose body fat or build muscle, consuming the correct number of calories is crucial. If you consume more than you expend, you will gain weight, as these excess calories are stored as body fat. On the flip side, if you consume fewer calories than your body needs, you will take yourself into a calorie deficit and lose body fat.
How do we work out how many calories our body needs?
This depends on several factors including sex, weight, height and activity levels. Please use my calorie calculator to get an estimate of how many calories you should consume based on your goal.
Should you count calories?
Counting calories can be a super useful tool but it's not for everyone. I believe that anyone embarking on a fitness journey (unless they have an unhealthy relationship with food) should try calorie counting, even if just for a week. Tracking your calorie intake will bring greater awareness to what you eat each day and help you to understand and allow you to make smarter decisions with your end goal in mind. It's certainly not something you should do forever because well... life is too short to weigh out your spinach – but using it as an educational or accountability tool from time to time can be hugely beneficial.
How do I track calories?
The most popular way to track your calorie intake in using the MyFitnessPal app.
Calculate your calorie intake below!