Exercise does not burn as many calories as you think…

Exercise is an essential part of staying healthy. If you’re on a fat loss diet it can also be used to increase the calories you burn on any given day, therefore helping to create an energy deficit required for fat loss. Saying this, people tend to be at risk of overcompensation here, especially if  sedentary during the rest of the day. If you’re doing a 45 minute spin class that’s great, but it’s certainly no excuse to stop keeping track of your daily calories.

A spin class, on average burns around 400 cals for a 70kg woman. This doesn’t mean in this case that her overall energy expenditure has increased by 400 calories because you need to take into account the calories she’d have burned regardless. If you burn 1700 calories per day, this means you’ll burn roughly 90 calories per waking hour. This means that sweaty session at your local boutique studio actually only burned 310 additional calories, otherwise known as the amount of calories in the almond croissant you regularly dip into your morning coffee.

Similarly, when your goal is to build muscle, this is not a justification to just eat in a massive calorie surplus all of the time. Yes, building muscle is easier in a calorie surplus but not impossible in a deficit, and a small surplus is sufficient for most. Muscle growth is a slow process and being in an excessive calorie surplus can be culprit to simply adding  on extra fat, rather than muscle.

We tend to overestimate the calories we burn in the gym and underestimate the effect of activity we do outside of the gym. A good way to increase your overall energy expenditure is by being more active throughout the day. This includes walking more, cycling to work rather than taking the tube and standing up to have a phone call, rather than sat slumped at your desk. This may not sound like a lot, but implementing  these small changes will add up.

You are not as skilled at counting calories as you think and you end up slipping up at the weekend…

For fat loss you need to be in a consistent energy deficit. Maintaining a deficit is hard and we are all terrible at estimating the energy value of food. We also tend to forget (intentionally or not) about foods we have outside of meals: so things like snacks, condiments and drinks. Have you ever wondered how many calories are in the sauces you add to your meals or the glass of wine you have after dinner? Did you ever consider that the biscotti you get with your black coffee might actually contain more calories than the sugar you so carefully exclude? All these small things are often forgotten when  tracking calories but together they do add up, and can result in a unwanted calorie surplus rather than the deficit you desire.

by Robin Swinkels Fresh Fitness Food Nutritionist

Fresh Fitness Food creates highly personalised meal plans which provide the precision, structure and consistency to their clients who need to achieve their health and fitness goals.

Every single week day, Fresh Fitness Food deliver thousands of meals across London in the early hours of the morning in convenient cooler bags, straight to our clients’ home, work or office.

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