FAQ part IV
Do I have to match my calorie expenditure to my calorie intake?
This is a common belief that I see playing out in the gym a lot, staying on the treadmill and pounding it out until you have burned ‘x’ calories so that you can eat ‘x’ amount of calories. Firstly your body needs calories and energy for more than just exercise, if you are burning the same amount of calories in the gym as you are eating, you are putting your health at risk. Let’s break this down (this is an estimate) your body needs roughly these calories BEFORE exercise:
- Kidneys ~400kcal
- Heart ~400kcal
- Brain ~250kcal
- Liver ~200kcal
- Bone/skin/other ~50kcal
So before you even consider exercise your body needs ~1300. This will differ for different people and I cannot stress enough how much of an estimate these numbers are, but they give you an idea of what your body needs to function!
Now add your exercise calories on top of that, most people will burn between 200-600kcal depending on activity, intensity and duration. So your BMR + exercise calories takes the total up and that’s not even considering non-exercise energy expenditure and all of the other processes that your body has to handle every day. Your body is an amazing machine, make sure you are giving it the fuel and ingredients it needs to function properly.
NB not everyone is able to burn as many calories as the machines say – they are liable to be off by ~20% or more! So just be aware of the energy balance and don’t put your health at risk, those organs are kinda important!
Do I always have to ache after a gym/exercise session for it to be effective?
Absolutely not, the after effects of exercise will depend on your goals firstly and the exercise selection, after this is will depend on intensity and frequency. When you push your body during exercise, it is likely that you will feel some muscle soreness and fatigue – but you don’t have to be pushing your body super hard every time you exercise. Exercise can be a gently walk or gentle yoga where you are more likely to feel refreshed and energised than achey and tired. It would be my suggestion that you find the right balance between exercise that pushes your body and exercise that relaxes your body in order to get the best results.
Do I have to join a gym to lose weight?
Certainly not, the good news is that if you hate gyms there are tonnes of different exercise modalities out there to try so don’t give up! If you are a sociable person why not try team sports, if you prefer solo activities perhaps running, cycling or swimming might be for you. The key is not to quit if you find that you don’t like something, it’s likely you’ll go through phases where you enjoy different activities anyway. So be open minded, give each opportunity a chance before you write it off and remember, it’s going to feel hard at first, anything new and different is going to come with challenges! If all else fails walking is by far the cheapest and easiest exercise you can do!
If you have any more questions do get in touch