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Nutrition Made Easy For Beginners

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Nutrition cannot be overlooked. It is a deciding factor in what your body will look like. Without the proper nutrition you cannot build muscle, gain any strength, nor burn fat. Your body needs the fuel for the fire. In order to have energy you have to feed the furnace with good sound nutrition. Building and repairing the muscle requires proper protein and carb intake.

Without sufficient nutrition your body will not burn fat. You will go into starvation mode and you will retain more fat in your cells. Definitely not what we are intending. So what the heck do you do? Well its actually rather simple. Let me explain.

Getting the proper nutrition takes work just like your training and cardio. However this is the path you have chosen and these are your dreams you’re making a reality. Therefore you have to do what it takes to be a champion in any regard.

Making nutrition fun is the key

First things first, you want to always make sure you have a very healthy diet that consists of whole foods. Not Whole Foods the grocery store. Which I do like by the way, if you have one near you and budget allows, by all means shop away. But what I mean by whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and in their most natural state.

If you’re still unclear your best bet is to always avoid any type of a processed food. Instead of frozen chicken strips buy a package of whole chicken breasts, cut them and cook them yourself. Keep it natural. Keep it lean. Keep it healthy. Other examples of whole foods are fresh meat, fish, poultry, eggs, veggies, legumes, fruits, rice, oats, and quinoa.

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Healthy nutrition starts with natural whole foods like delicious fruits and vegetables.

Meal frequency is king. Eating 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day actually revs up your metabolism. This is good, you want to get the nutrients into your body so they can feed the muscles and allow for the naturals functions to exist without any interruptions.

Along with food staying hydrated is critical. Get down some water and plenty of it. Drinking water throughout the day is a sure fire way to make sure you get enough. For myself on training days I usually consume about 1.5 to 2 gallons depending on my intensity and how much water I loose working out. I am a big guy weighing in at 255 lbs so that has to be considered.

By eating whole food based diets and getting enough water you prime the engine for hefty horsepower (shameless car analogy). One thing, to consider is you can overfeed yourself and any excess will turn to fat. Keep an eye on your macronutrients and get the right amount of food.

Nutrition is a game of numbers

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Good nutrition helps fuel your workouts!

Basically what you need to do is determine what your daily caloric intake is in order to maintain your weight. What? By figuring out how much fuel your body needs to maintain its current weight will tell you how to gauge how many calories you need to either loose or build.

Building muscle and losing fat are quite simple. Once you know how much energy or your body needs you can then judge how much you either need to cut by creating a deficit or how much you need to add by creating a surplus.

How exactly do you calculate your caloric intake. By using math, our least favorite subject in school. All that stuff we never thought was practical comes in handy now. But incase your not a math wizard thats totally cool. Using a simple formula called the Harris-Benedict principle you can can assess your basal metabolic rate aka BMR.

BMR is the amount of energy your body needs to function. We use about 60% of the calories we consume each day for basic bodily functions such as breathing. Other factors that influence your BMR are height, weight, age and sex.

Step 1: Calculate your BMR with the following formula:

Women:

65 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

Men:

66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

Please note that this formula applies only to adults.

Step 2: Incorporate activity into your daily caloric needs, with the following calculation:

  • Sedentary : BMR x 20 percent
  • Lightly active: BMR x 30 percent
  • Moderately active (You exercise most days a week.): BMR x 40 percent
  • Very active (exercise intensely on a daily basis or for prolonged periods.): BMR x 50 percent
  • Extra active (You do hard labor or are in athletic training.): BMR x 60 percent

Add this number to your BMR.

The result of this formula will be the number of calories you can eat every day and maintain your current weight.

Protein and carb intake are important also. They will make up a good portion of your daily calories. A rule of thumb for calculating your protein intake is to take your bodyweight and divide it by 2.2 to get weight in kilograms.

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Supplements are second to good nutrition.

Take your weight and multiply it by anywhere between 1.8 to 2.3 grams of protein per kilogram. The same will apply for carbohydrates except multiply anywhere from 3 to 5 grams per body weight which will be determined by your activity level as well as fitness goals.

Supplementation is secondary to sound nutrition

I’m not going to cover a lot about supplements in this section. Just a basic rundown and a few things I suggest looking into for yourself.

Supplementation is just that, an addition to your diet. Not always necessary but a good way to get a little extra pep in your step. Supplementing with sports supplements or vitamins can also fill in some holes that you have in your diet.

If you’re not getting enough fish in your weekly meals you may be short on necessary omega 3’s which is essential to torching fat. The idea is to get the most you can from foods and then add on any extras.

One of the most common supplements is protein. Protein powders are a great way to make sure you hit your mark each day. They come in a variety of types and flavors. Try some out for yourself and see what you like. Protein powders are best for a quick meal replacement shake a couple times a day. Don’t get crazy and think you can just drink your meals.

Creatine is by far one of the most researched sports supplements. And with good reason. Studies have found that creatine does work and helps build muscle and increase strength. Creatine allows you to push your intensity a little bit further and get the most out of your workout. There are a ton of creatine supplements and one better than the other (so the labels claim). I have found that any brand of creatine made with Creapure creatine is great.

Pre-workout supplements are great if you’re not a morning person and you have to get up and workout in the morning. They give you a little extra drive and motivation to get out of the sheets and onto the streets heading towards the gym. I find that a lot of pre-workout drinks get me jittery and shaky, usually due to cheap manufacturing products. Best bet is to go to your supplement store and see what kind of samples they have and find one that works for you.

Many bodybuilders and fitness experts recommend getting in your BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids) as well as glutamine. They both are excellent in helping with recovery. Most BCAA powders have glutamine in it but you can get it separately.

Like I stated before food is your best source of energy and supplements are not always necessary. You can get everything you need and more by keeping a close eye on what your eating and how your eating. A natural boost in the morning before the gym could be a cup of coffee or an apple. Both excellent sources of caffeine.

Analyze your diet and focus on that first. Then look into further supplement research.

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Live Life, Ride a Bike: Become a Pro Cyclist with 3 Easy Tips

cycleroadWith the weather now becoming incredibly warm, many of you may be starting to think about getting out and going cycling a little more often.

Whether you choose to take your bike to the mountains and escape the busy life that goes on in the city or you’re just looking to go out riding after a hard day at work or over the weekend when you’re ready to relax and enjoy the outdoors, keeping some factors in mind is important.
Not only are there things you can do in the gym to help you with your cycling efforts, but understanding proper nutrition and supplementation will also help you make the most of your time spent out on your bike.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you head out.

In The Gym

Focus On Quad And Hamstring Training:
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When you’re out on your bike, the two main muscles that will power you through the ride are your quads and hamstrings. It will be important to have a careful balance between training the two muscles. You don’t want to start experiencing a muscle imbalance.

When that happens, you set yourself up for injury, especially in the lower back area if the weaker muscle becomes tight. Good exercises to include for these muscles include squats, deadlifts, leg curls, lunges, step-ups and split squats.

Don’t Neglect Your Upper Body:

One problem many cyclists have is they focus so much of their energy on their lower body training thinking this is what will be needed for cycling and end up neglecting their upper body entirely.
The upper body is actually used to a large extent during cycling because it partially supports your body weight as you continue to cycle. Over longer rides, lasting one to two hours in duration, don’t be surprised if you find your upper body feels sore.

Proper Nutrition

Next, you also need to look into proper nutrition to make sure you have the fuel to get you through your workouts. It’s important that you’re eating well not only before you go out to cycle but also after you’re finished.

Carbohydrates Around Training:
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Right before your training you want to take in a good solid source of carbohydrates that will release somewhat slowly in your body so you’ll have a steady stream of fuel for the longer period of time that you’ll be out there. Good options include oats, pasta, brown rice or a big bowl of fruit and yogurt.
If you’re going to be out for longer than an hour, then it’s also a smart idea to take some fast-digesting carbohydrates along with you.

Maintaining Adequate Hydration:

In addition to providing carbohydrates to fuel your ride, you also need to make sure you’re staying well hydrated. While you may not feel as though you sweat as much on a leisure ride as you would if you were out for a hard run, that does not mean you shouldn’t take in liquid.
Water is best for rides that last an hour or less, but for rides that are longer again that carbohydrate beverage will be a good option. These will also help to supply your body with the electrolytes it needs to maintain good muscular contraction rates.

Supplementation

Finally we move on to supplementation. When used properly there are a number of supplements that can make your cycling trips more effective and enjoyable.

Protein Powder:

The first supplement to consider is protein powder. This is a good option to take for longer rides to give your muscles some amino acids to feed on while you’re out there burning up fuel. Failure to provide these amino acids could result in lean muscle mass loss, so it’s important not to overlook.

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Creatine:

If you’re doing mountain cycling or are doing any type of races, you may also want to think about adding creatine to your supplement protocol. While creatine has traditionally been used for weight lifting workouts, if your rides are intense enough and involve short bursts of intense activity, creatine will be beneficial to you as well.

Happy Cycling – Get out There and Ride…


original source: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/cycling_season_preperation.htmorigia
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A Series on Beginners Bodybuilding Nutrition

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Let’s face it nutrition plays a big role in our daily lives. And if it doesn’t it should. Nutrition cannot be overlooked. It is a deciding factor in what your body will look like. Without the proper nutrition you cannot build muscle, gain strength, or burn fat. Your body needs the fuel for the fire. Feed the furnace with good sound nutrition, build and repair the muscle with the proper protein, carb, and fat intake ratios.

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Carbohydrates give us the energy we need to crush a workout and help with repairing our torn muscle cells.

Learning the Ropes to Beginners Bodybuilding Nutrition Should Be Fun and Enjoyable!

Understanding the basic fundamentals of nutrition does not have to be challenging. Albeit there is an immense amount of confusing and contradicting information simple principles can be applied and modified to create the appropriate personal formula.

Beginners Bodybuilding Nutrition Starts With a Plan.

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Getting sound nutrition will propel your bodybuilding goals.

In order to prepare ourselves for the gym or any physical activity we must first start in the kitchen. Your food intake is the major deciding factor on whether or not you will achieve your results. The main things you will be concerned with are:

  • Calories and Caloric Intake
    • Macros
    • Protein
    • Carbs
    • Fats
    • Fiber
  • Healthy Foods
  • Setting Up a Meal Plan

Bodybuilding is a Lifestyle, Beginners Can Take Their Nutrition To The Next Level.

Getting the proper nutrition takes work. Just like your training or cardiovascular exercise fitness is a lifestyle and you have to be committed. Grasping these concepts early on will not only help to pave the way towards making your dreams a reality. But also help to instill the knowledge it takes to make a physical difference in you!

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Protein is a building block of muscle. Get a variety of protein from various sources.

Follow along as we dive deeper into understanding the concepts behind bodybuilding nutrition. Share your experiences, tips, and tricks in the comment box below.

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Macros Made Simple–Bulking

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One of the most challenging aspects of bodybuilding or weight training, in my opinion, would be the bulking phase. When bulking the idea is to put on as much lean mass as possible. Which in essence would seem rather easy. Just eat clean but eat a lot more. The problem with that is we also run the risk of gaining more fat cells.

Gaining muscle and minimizing fat in the process can be done by first figuring out your daily caloric intake for maintenance and then creating a surplus that will adjust as the body changes. When bulking our plans have to be fluid and adaptive. Knowing our maintenance calories can allow us to determine an amount that will help to increase our size and strength while utilizing any stored fat as energy.

A great tool for determining these numbers is Calorie Calculator – Daily Caloric Needs also if you haven’t read the article Learn to Calculate Your BMR and Asses Your Daily Caloric Intake take a look. I go in depth more about the daily caloric intake and the differences for a surplus or a deficit.

Once we have determined our maintenance caloric intake we can move forward from there … literally.

A suggested caloric surplus is usually around 200-300 calories. Having too little of a surplus will cause us to bulk at a slower rate. However on the opposite end having too much of a surplus puts us at risk of gaining more fat faster. It is not realistic to think that one can gain muscle without gaining fat. Depending on your choice you can bulk cleanly by watching the foods you eat and your calorie intake or your can bulk haphazardly aka dirty by just eating tons of food.

Anything that is worthwhile usually takes time, so my best suggestion is bulk as cleanly as possible, eat good whole foods, this way when it comes down to cutting your not driving yourself nuts trying to drop pounds and pounds of fat. Not to mention being in relatively great shape all year long is a plus for any bodybuilder.

If It Fits Your Macros . . .

Now that we have an idea of what our calories look like we can go ahead and adjust our macros to fit. It has been suggested that we consume about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Consuming more in moderation will not be a bad thing, most likely the body will use the excess as energy. With that being said don’t go overboard, because remember anything in excess can get stored as fats.

The remaining macros we need to consider are fat and carbs. Fats can be increased to about 1/2 a gram per pound of bodyweight. Where as carbs should fill up the rest of our macro scale.

Putting all of this to play is simple. Lets assume we are a 215 lb male. And we need to ingest 3200 calories a day. With our simple rule of thumb based on our body weight our protein and fat macros would be 215 g (based on body weight) and 108 g (based on body weight) after simple calculations we are left with approximately 342 g for carbs.

Once you have established a starting point be sure to keep an eye as to what is going on. If after some time your not gaining weight then your maintenance intake was off and you need to adjust accordingly. If your gaining to much weight to fast, again you need to adjust accordingly. Eventually you may hit a plateau and that will also be another time to adjust your intake as well.

To sum it up, figure out your maintenance level of calories, establish your surplus, base your essential macros off your bodyweight, make sure you stay in a surplus and don’t go nuts.

Gain Weight – Macros Made Simple

A great video that explains everything I just wrote about is Gain Weight – Macros Made Simple by Brandon Campbell of Campbell Fitness .

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The Fat Stage aka Bulking

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Have you ever wondered how everyone gets so muscular and shredded? Well they had to bulk first. Bulking is usually the beginning stage of any bodybuilding adventure. It can get very confusing and super mysterious. Eating the wrong foods can lead you down a path of body fat mayhem.

 Gauge your own bulking strategy by learning from my experiences and the experiences of others. In this article you will read about my different viewpoints of eating and some of my trials and tribulations. Along with my concluding statements of how you can put together a program that works for you based on your own idea and needs.

 The Body Is An Art Form

 Sculpting a piece of art takes several stages. First the idea. Then the sketch. As well as all the stages of production. Bodybuilding is much the same. We go through stages bulking, cutting, contest prep, etc. Each of those stages are an art form in their own regard. The combination of multiple sets of skills, equations, practices and theories. All put to the test.

 Choosing The Clay To Shape Your Sculpture

 Shaping ClayWhen looking at bodybuilding from the perspective of a sculptor, one must consider that bulking is much like choosing the clay to begin sculpting a new work of art. Your food is your clay. What we do in this stage of the game effects that latter portions of our journey.

 With much debate on eating styles, times, diets, fads and trends in the industry today I don’t want to write and explain another so called diet I want to talk about my own experiences trying several methods. I think that understanding results from another person’s experiences gives an insight on developing their own attempts at success.

 Do This Do That, Huh?

 With the internet being flooded on a daily basis with an immense amounts of information, its no wonder our heads spin when it comes to computing all these new tidbits of data. I know that in all my years of working out I have always had a challenge with food.

 In my many stages of transitions I decided that experimenting with foods is probably a good idea to see how my body will grow along with the progressive overload of demand. Through the years I have tried a couple different approaches. Low Carb – High Protein, High Protein – High Carb, Vegetarian, and what I like to call Balanced Bulking—what I am currently experimenting with.

 Low Carb – High Protein

 In the early stages of me working out I wanted to be lean like a runner. I never was really fat. A little pudgy like most teens and young adults. Athleticism was not high in my vocabulary when I was younger. In an effort to achieve this leanness I began a high rep, moderate weight, training program. The efforts focused predominantly on endurance and breath control.

 Having such a high aerobic demand actually helped a great deal to get me down to a low body fat percentage. I can admit I wasn’t stage quality but I was fairly well cut and defined. My main food sources were lean meats, fibrous carbs, low glycemic fruits, and complex and simple carbs (early in the day around my training times).

 Things seemed to work well. And I stuck with that diet for a while until my goals had shifted. I was desiring to gain a little more mass but maintain my leanness. In doing so I decided that upping my carbohydrate intake would help to boost my lean muscle growth.

 High Carb – High Protein

 Looking ahead for a lean Gladiator-esque physique I knew that the change of my eating style was utterly appropriate. Go figure. A friend of mine had enlightened me on the concept of upping my carbs and calorie intake to build the body mass. Known among many as a caloric surplus.

steak and potatoe At first this had frightened me. But it did make sense. So it had to be done. I basically continued to eat the same way I was eating I just started to introduce more carbohydrates and larger portions of proteins. I did also begin to include cheat days. Once a week I would have anything I wanted. Basically creating a caloric spike.

 The cheat days were always fun. Usually a pizza and some Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream did the job. By consuming a larger portion of food all around I did notice that my body was changing but very slowly. I was not very educated on lifting at this time so I didn’t think to consider the importance of training styles in combination with foods. So I continued with what I call “Magazine Routines”.

 Following this diet for a few years helped to give me a pseudo athletic figure. Courses changed once again but this time I ended up stepping out of the gym for nearly a year.

 The Vegetarian and Me

 In my article Vegetarianism and Bodybuilding: My Personal Experience I talk about my leave of absence from the gym and my crusade to regain the shape I was once in. I came back full force and decided vegetarianism was the best bet coupled with hardcore juicing.

 Still somewhat uneducated in my training  styles I returned to the “Magazine Routine” route and lifted as a veghead. My body changed fast. I lost weight and began looking fit in a short period of time. For me that a was awesome. But during that time I started to research even further into the world of lifting due to my obsession with the squat.

 starting-strength-mark-rippetoeFinding 5×5 routines and Starting Strength enlightened me to a whole new world. During the middle of my vegetarian stint I flipped the script again and made the decision to dedicate the next years of my life bulking and building a mean Grecian physique. As a vegetarian bodybuilder I experienced putting on extra fat and storing water from the such high amounts of sodium in the food.

 Not liking this feeling lead me to rediscovering my food choices and brought me to what I call today Balanced Bulking.

 What Does Balanced Bulking Mean?

 Having went through several phases and juxtapositions of goals I decided it was time to get back to the basics and reconfigure. My results were not emulating my end goal and I was downright frustrated. So out of every problem comes a solution.

 Balanced Bulking to me was the proper pairing of your various food groups. Much like we were taught a long time ago in grade school. Many of my ideas came from the combining ideas and concepts from several of the documentaries I watched and articles I had read.

 I thought to myself, everything needs to seek some sort of balance. So why would I eliminate something from my diet or lifestyle when my body is searching for a nutrient balance. Having that thought in mind I set out to couple up a diet plan to my workout style and observe my results over a course of several weeks.

 How Can You Bulk Up And Build Mass?

 I can’t tell you exactly what to do. I’m not aware of your body chemistry. But I can make some suggestions and point out some concepts or ideas. No one is going to know your body better than you.

 Choose foods that are as natural as possible. Try to avoid anything processed. Eating organic can get very expensive but, try your best to get the best possible food items your budget will allow you.

 By selecting the leanest cuts of meat you eliminate a lot of the bad fats that go into your body. Remember you do want fats to help with your shaping and definition but only the good kind. The meats will sometimes be a little tougher but you can marinate them in citrus or any flavor of vinegar you might like.

 Balanced dietEat a large amount of fruits and veggies. Many of your nutrients will be in your fruits and veggies. If you can support your local economy and buy from a farmers market. If not try and find the best possible produce your budget allows. Consuming fruits and vegetables in high amounts never affected me in a negative manner.  Only on one occasion my skin did have an orange tint from eating a large bag of carrots in one sitting.

 Don’t skip out on your cheeses. Why would you want to keep such a wonderful and delicious item away from yourself? Eat some cheese. Keep it in moderation but I think its beneficial and is a great way to balance out the calories and still meet some of your daily requirements.

 Snacking is always a great idea. I keep a container of sliced up veggies, some trail mix, 90% dark chocolate or rice cakes handy. Having healthy snacks around during the bulking phase helps fight the urge to slip off the diet.

 The most suggested complex carb sources always seem to be oats, sweet potato, brown rice, or some time of pasta. I tend to stick to the basics and keep within this group range. I do bring in some breads and bagels every now and then. I think those are good items to keep as staples in your main diet. But branching out and trying new things is how you make it your own.

 Another piece of advice, drink whole milk. It really helps.

 Bulk Your Way

 By selecting a balanced diet based on incorporating predominantly whole foods based items your journey to a much larger and lean physique can and will become possible. Keeping a close eye on what goes in is a direct reflection of what will come out.

 Always keep in mind your end result and goals.

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An Apple A Day Keeps The Fat Away

red applesApples have always been touted as a great pre workout snack. Consuming an apple within 30 minutes prior to working out is a great way to get some low-glycemic or slow-digesting carbs in. Due to the fact that apples are high in fructose the liver must convert the apple to glucose aiding in the slowing of digestion. Another key factor in apples digestibility is the high fiber content.

Apples provide additional benefits along side carbs and fiber. Studies done by the Nippon Sport Science University and the University of Arts and Sciences discovered that ables provide benefits similar to green tea by increasing strength and endurance, and decreasing body fat.

The teams gave make rats apples or placebos for three weeks. During that time frame the researchers studied body fat, strength, and muscle fatigue. Reported earlier in 2007 in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the rats given apples had 30% less body fat as opposed to the placebo group. The genes that spur fat-burning within the rats activity was increased due to the consumption of apples.

More than 70 obese male and female subjects were given an ample percentage of apples or a placebo as well for a 12 week period. LDL, total cholesterol, bodyweight, and abdominal fat were measurements taken to provide the data for the study. By the end of the study the subjects who consumed the apples had a significant loss on abdominal fat and bodyweight, as well as lower cholesterol and LDL levels.

Try supplementing your diet with apple polyphenols which come in capsule or pill form. Best taken with breakfast and dinner, as well as a large apple pre workout with your pre workout shake.

An apple a day keeps the fat away!

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Learn To Calculate Your BMR And Asses Your Daily Caloric Intake

What’s All This About BMR and Calories

calculate your daily caloriesBy figuring out how much fuel your body needs to maintain its current weight will tell you how to gauge how many calories you need to either loose or build. Building muscle and losing fat are quite simple. Once you know how much energy your body needs you can then judge how much you either need to cut by creating a deficit or how much you need to add by creating a surplus.

Calculating Your Basal Metabolic Rate

How exactly do you calculate your caloric intake? With a simple formula called the Harris-Benedict principle you can can assess your basal metabolic rate aka BMR.

BMR is the amount of energy your body needs to function. We use about 60% of the calories we consume each day for basic bodily functions such as breathing. Other factors that influence your BMR are height, weight, age and sex.

Step 1: Calculate your BMR with the following formula:

Women:
65 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

Men:
66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
Please note that this formula applies only to adults.

Step 2: Incorporate activity into your daily caloric needs, with the following calculation:

Sedentary : BMR x 20 percent
Lightly active: BMR x 30 percent
Moderately active (You exercise most days a week.): BMR x 40 percent
Very active (exercise intensely on a daily basis or for prolonged periods.): BMR x 50 percent
Extra active (You do hard labor or are in athletic training.): BMR x 60 percent

Add this number to your BMR.

The result of this formula will be the number of calories you can eat every day and maintain your current weight.

Tailor Your Diet For Your Goals

calculate daily caloric intakeBy knowing how much fuel you need helps in a major way. Training at the gym with intensity and pushing yourself to the max requires a good bit of nutrition. Make sure you feed the furnace and stoke that fire! Keep a log of what your eating. If you haven’t read Setting The Building Blocks: An Overview Of Nutrition swing on by and take a look.