Whenever the subject of energy and calories come up there are disagreements. Everyone who is selling a diet will claim 100% that their way is the only way and that their calculations are the only ones you need to pay attention to.
The problem with those places is that they are inevitably financially invested in getting you to think and act a certain way, so where else could you go looking to find some information that isn’t being published to make money?
The guys and girls who publish scientific articles in well respected journals are rarely also involved in making money from people signing up to a certain program or product. The data presented tends to be a lot more factual in nature and unbiased.
For today’s gem of wisdom, we’re diving into the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition for the 2018 paper titled “ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations”
The quote worth paying attention to is:
“The primary component to optimize training and performance through nutrition is to ensure the athlete is consuming enough calories to offset energy expenditure. People who participate in a general fitness program (e.g., exercising 30–40 min per day, 3 times per week) can typically meet nutritional needs following a normal diet (e.g., 1800–2400 kcals/day or about 25–35 kcals/kg/day for a 50–80 kg individual) because their caloric demands from exercise are not too great (e.g., 200–400 kcals/session).”
Key takeaways from this are that whilst there is quite a large range of calories per kg per day talked about (25-35), the paper also defines a general fitness program as training 3 times a week for 30-40 minutes at a time – something very similar to what you might be doing in a CrossFit gym!
So how could you apply this information to your daily life?
Maybe sit down with a calculator and crunch a few numbers…
If you are 70kg and training 3 days a week for 30 minutes at a time at a reasonable intensity then your calorie demands would be somewhere between 1750 and 2450 per day. It seems likely that if you’re training 3 times and not really pushing the pace then you may well want to be towards the lower end of that range. With a bit of experimenting you will doubtless find a level of intake that keeps your bodyweight stable (you may even be at that level now!).
If you then want to add time to each session or another session, you can easily add some food to your day to balance the books!
The article goes on to discuss how those people who are training more, and/or more intensely will unsurprisingly need more fuel, but that will be covered in another post…