How Many Calories Do I Need?


Daily Caloric Intake and Basil Metabolic Rate

Click here to determine approximately how many calories your body needs at rest in order to sustain your current condition (i.e. weight, body fat%, fat weight). Remember, this is your body at rest. You then must add on additional calories for physical activity. Please read further to determine your approximate total caloric intake per day.

Gaining weight and losing weight is a very simple formula. When caloric intake exceeds caloric expenditure you will gain weight. When caloric expenditure is greater than caloric intake, you will lose weight. Thus, you must know how many calories (kcal) are in a gram of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. You should also know approximately how many calories you should consume and expend in a day. Food

Simply put, you must burn off more calories than what you consume in any given day in order to lose weight. Knowing how many calories you are consuming every day is going to be an important part of losing weight. Therefore, you should know how many calories are in the nutrients you consume.

  • Protein – one gram equals 4 kcal
  • Carbohydrate – one gram equals 4 kcal
  • Fat – one gram equals 9 kcal
  • Alcohol – one gram equals 7 kcal

To find out approximately how many calories you are consuming in a day is easy. There are apps available for smart phones and tablets such as lose it and fitness pal. These apps can help you to stay focused on your eating habits and keep you aware of the amount of calories you’ve been consuming. If you don’t have access to apps, then you can keep track of your caloric intake by writing down the foods you consumed in a daily food journal. Be sure to write down all foods, portion size, and liquids. You must do this for one full week. We then can compare your average daily caloric intake to your approximate Basil Metabolic Rate (BMR).

Your BMR measures the amount of energy expended at rest and usually represents about 70% of an individual’s total daily energy expenditure. Additional calories are then added on to one’s BMR based on physical activity level. Depending on whether the person is sedentary or very active, 400 to 800 kcal may be added. For example, if you have a job that requires you to sit at a desk all day and you don’t workout regularly, then you should add 400 calories on to your BMR. So, if your BMR equals 1,200 calories then add 400 calories to that number. This equals 1,600 cal/day to sustain your current weight and body fat. Remember, your BMR tells us how many calories your body needs in order to sustain your current condition (i.e. body weight, % body fat, muscle tissue) at rest. Now, if you are trying to lose weight you should try to decrease your daily caloric intake by 500 cal/day. This can be done by decreasing food intake, exercising more, or the combination of the two. Try to burn or reduce 3,500 calories in one week. That is equivalent to 500 calories a day. This will help you to lose 1 lb in one week (3,500 calories equals one pound of fat).

Basil Metabolic Rate is influenced by several factors. One’s BMR is primarily effected by body size (height and weight). If two people, one weighing 100 lbs and the other weighing 130 lbs, jog one mile together, the heavier person will expend more energy and burn more calories. Other important factors that effect one’s BMR include age and sex. BMR decreases with age and is highest in a growing child. Men have a higher BMR than women due to the fact that males are generally larger than females. Other factors related to BMR include diet, heredity, and hormones.


My Go To Snack: Nuts!


Almonds are a good source of protein, fiber, and Omega-3 fatty acids.


The other day a client asked me what my most favorite snack is. I thought about the pretzels and Fritos corn chips I enjoy from time to time. Yes, even personal trainers like to occasionally indulge in unhealthy food. However, the one snack I do consistently eat  is a variety of nuts.

My three “go to” favorites are almonds, pistachios, and cashews. These 3 types of nuts, eaten in moderation, are a healthy choice for snacking. Per ounce, they are about equal in calorie content and are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein.

As I said, nuts should be eaten in moderation. This means small serving sizes. I recommended a small handful which equals about 12-15 nuts per serving. Eating more than this will certainly add unwanted calories and delay any weight loss goals you may have set. Also, stay away from salted nuts and nuts roasted in oil. Choose nuts that are dry roasted or raw. These will have the best natural flavors, the most nutrients, and are best for a heart healthy diet.

Pistachios are a great tasting heart healthy snack.

Pistachios are a great tasting heart healthy snack.

A one ounce serving of almonds has approximately 160 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 14 grams of fat. Remember, fats from nuts are good for weight loss and heart health. It’s the saturated fats from beef that you should limit in your diet. Pistachios also have 6 grams of protein and 13 grams of fat in a one ounce serving. Cashews have approximately 5 grams of protein and 13 grams of fat in one ounce.

Ounce for ounce, almonds, pistachios, and cashews are very similar in nutrient content. Each has their own unique taste. All three make an excellent mid-afternoon snack when you’re feeling hungry and not wanting to reach for a bag of Fritos. As with any food, remember to eat nuts only in moderation! Enjoy!

Importance of Eating After Your Workout


Eating is an extremely important part of staying fit and healthy. We need food in order to fuel our bodies for physiological functions, daily activities, and exercise. An automobile, for instance, needs clean gasoline to make it go. Without gasoline, the car will not move. As with our bodies, we need the proper fuel to give us energy to get through our day. Without proper nourishment, our bodies feel tired and run down. Eating foods that are highly processed, full of sugar,  and high in saturated fat will certainly make your body feel slow and sluggish. How can you get through a long day of school, work, dealing with your kids, and exercise when proper fueling for your body is not in place? It’s difficult!

If you exercise regularly, your body needs proper nourishment throughout the entire day. Most importantly, immediately following your workout. No matter what type of training you are doing for the day, your body’s nutrients need to be replenished immediately after your training session. Immediately means within 20-30 minutes of finishing the workout. This may be difficult for some of you, however with proper planning you can certainly accomplish this.

After a hard workout, the body is drained of many of the nutrients it needs in order to grow, heal, and become stronger. Complex carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals are all needed after your workout. These nutrients are vital in helping with repair and recovery of broken down muscle tissue, replenishing drained glucose levels (energy) needed for tomorrow’s workout, and keeping all physiological functions of the body performing with high-efficiency.

This is where the planning comes in to place. If you know you are training tomorrow, then have a pre-packaged meal, or meal supplement, prepared that can be immediately consumed after the workout. Some ideas for a post-workout meal are as follows:

  • Protein shake that contains some carbohydrates and plenty of vitamins and minerals. There are so many of these on the market and may be difficult to choose the proper one. Choose one that has whey protein, contains 15-20 grams of protein per serving, has low sugar (less than 15 grams), can be mixed easily with water, and, most importantly, tastes good.
  • Broiled or grilled chicken breast and a small, baked, sweet potato.
  • Turkey sandwich, with fresh spinach leaves and tomatoes on whole grain bread.
  • Natural peanut butter and low sugar preservatives on multi-grain bread.
  • Arugula and spinach leaf salad with chopped grilled chicken breast and red, yellow, and orange peppers. Use your favorite dressing sparingly.

These examples of post-workout meals are some of my favorites. There are plenty of choices out there for everyone. Remember, you must plan and prepare ahead of time.

The post-workout meal is one of the most important meals of the day. You are not only replenishing the nutrients you burned up while exercising, you are also fueling your body for tomorrow’s workout. Fueling your body with complex carbs, lean protein, and plenty of vegetables and fruit will have a direct effect on your energy levels, lean muscle mass, and weight loss. So be prepared, have a plan, be consistent, and stay focused with your refueling. You will find yourself increasing your exercise intensity and continually improving your fitness levels.

Top 10 Super Foods


On any given day I have clients ask nutritional questions. A recent question was, “What is a super food and should I be eating these?”

My definition of a “super food” is foods that not only promote health/wellness and weight control but tastes good, too. Super foods should provide multiple disease-fighting nutrients, fill you up so you can enjoy plenty of food without excess calories, and are easy to include in everyday meals.

Eaten regularly, these foods will help you satisfy the recommendations of the U.S. government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines, giving you nutrients that are typically missing from American diets. Most Americans need to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.

Please remember that this list of super foods may differ from others and that you should include a wide variety of nutritious foods. Also, it is most important to combine healthy eating with daily exercise in order to promote good health.

  1. Salmon – high in omega-3 fatty acids which promotes heart health, low in calories and high in protein.
  2. Eggs – contain 12 vitamins and minerals, high in protein, versatile, and economical.
  3. Quinoa – a grain that is high in fiber, high in protein, and a good source of iron. Quinoa is also rich in zinc, vitamin E, and selenium.
  4. Legumes – high in insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. Also a good source of protein, magnesium, and potassium.
  5. Nuts – in particular almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. Good source of protein, heart-healthy fats, high fiber, and antioxidants.
  6. Low fat of fat-free yogurt – high in protein, calcium, and potassium.
  7. Kiwi fruit – nutritionally dense food that is high in antioxidants. Kiwis are a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin A and E, and fiber.
  8. Broccoli – high in vitamin A and C, vitamin K, and good source of fiber.
  9. Berries –  full of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber. Blueberries and cranberries are some of the best. Fresh or frozen, either way, berries are highly nutritionous.
  10. Sweet potatoes – high in vitamin A and C, calcium, and potassium. Also lower in calories than a bake white potato. Natural rich sweetness flavor may help to reduce cravings for high calorie sweets such as cookies and cakes.