Ray Minehane of RPM Fitness in Bantry explains how important calorie control is when you’re trying to lose or gain weight.
If you eat an excessive amount of calories then you will gain weight and if you eat less calories than your body uses, you will lose weight. Note the word used is ‘weight’ and not ‘fat’. Even if you eat nothing but ‘healthy’ food, if you eat too many calories, you will gain weight. If you randomly eat food, then you will get random results. Counting calories might sound like a pain at the start but after two weeks you will have a good idea of the calories in the foods you most commonly eat. You can download the free app myfitnesspal and it will show you in black and white if some of the foods you are eating are sinking your New Year’s goals or better still give you a good idea of how much of certain foods you can eat.
This is one of the most overlooked aspects of people’s diet – excessive portion sizes. Sadly it does not matter if you do eat healthily – if you eat too many calories for your goals, you will not be happy with the results. Learn the right amount of food for you. A general guideline to start with is: one or two handfuls of protein per meal, two handfuls of green veg and a thumb sized portion of fat.
Snacking is best avoided if at all possible. You may be needlessly eating more calories than you imagine. Once you add butter and some jam to that fruit scone with that frothy coffee you may have taken in 500-600 calories. If you have bad hunger pangs every day at a certain time and don’t have access to decent food, then try and have a bigger meal beforehand.
If you live a modern life, chances are you are stationary for most of the day. This is not the best for your body, which will get stiffer and dramatically burn less calories. The good news is that just one hour of brisk activity can undo eight hours of sitting. That can be walking the dog, cycling or a gym session. Increased activity will decrease your mortality rate, improve your quality of life and either make room for more food or help your burn off those excess pounds.
If improving your health is your goal, then sleep is key. You need to be getting seven or better still eight hours a night. That may mean turning screens off an hour earlier, but longterm you will feel and think better. When you are sleep deprived, your hunger hormone is higher, which is why you keep eating after a poor night’s sleep.
Hold on to your muscle like a loved one
Your body prefers to be fat over lovely and lean; I know this is awful news but sadly the truth. Muscle is expensive. It requires a lot of calories to keep and uses a lot of calories. Fat on the other hand does not.
Your body sheds muscle quickly; once you have stopped growing, when you hit about 25, unless you are using your muscle, your body will slowly get rid of it. This loss of muscle is what slows your metabolism down, meaning you have to eat less, or if you eat the same you always did, you will gain fat!
Unless you have an active job like farming or blocklaying, you are probably going to lose muscle unless you do something about it. The best way to keep your muscle is to do some resistance training – the most common form is to lift weights, do exercises like squats, deadlifts, kettlebells swings, etc. Although you may think Arnold Schwarzenegger when you think weights, unless you are the genetic elite and train three hours a day every day, it is near impossible to look this way.
If you lift weights three to four times a week for roughly an hour, you will keep your muscle, which gives your body shape, make you feel great and gives you more freedom to eat, as you burn more calories.
RPM FITNESS in Bantry offers fitness for everyone – from the ages of three to 93 – in a private or group setting. RPM offers a variety of classes and services for all levels of fitness. So whether you are starting your fitness journey or looking to get to the next level in athletic performance, RPM is looking to help you.