If you expect to stand a chance in getting the beach body you always wanted, you need to first educate yourself on how the human body works.
First and foremost, it’s a calories in-calories out process in which we should operate. You can exercise all you want, but if you are only burning 3,000 calories throughout the day and eating 5,000 calories, you will not get the same results as if you burn 2,500 calories and only consume 1,500 calories.
We naturally burn a certain number of calories per day by just living. This can be most accurately calculated by figuring out your Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR (it is the rate at which energy is used by an organism at complete rest, measured in humans by the heat given off per unit of time, and expressed as the calories released per kilogram of body weight per square meter of body surface per hour).
Generally, the calculations are quite accurate, unless you are extremely lean but muscular, or extremely obese. This is because BMR does not consider muscle-to-fat ratio.
To Calculate BMR
For women: 655 + (4.35 × weight) + (4.7 × height in inches) – (4.7 × age) = BMR For men: 66 + (6.23 × weight) + (12.7 × height) – (6.8 × age) = BMR).
So two examples to give you an idea:
155-pound female, 5-foot-8, 27 years old
655 + (674.25) + (319.6) – (126.9) = 1,521.95 (calories burned just by living)
190-pound male, 5-foot-7, 27 years old
66 + (1183.7) + (850.9) – (183.6) = 1,917 (calories burned just by living)
From here, you can use the Harris Benedict Equation to calculate how many calories you need to maintain your current weight. The calculation is based on lifestyle/activity:
Maintain Your Weight
Sedentary: BMR x 1.2 Lightly active 1-3 days/week: BMR x 1.375 Moderately active 3-5 days/week: BMR x 1.55 Very active 6-7 days/week: BMR x 1.725 Extremely active (physical job + exercise, or double the amount of training): BMR x 1.9
Using the same figures from above if the female is lightly active:
1521.95 x 1.375 = 2092.68 calories consumed to maintain current weight
And if the male is sedentary:
1917 x 1.2 = 2300.4 calories consumed to maintain current weight
On the same end, and to the point of both ideas described above, when it comes to diet and exercise, some of us might totally overestimate how many calories we burn in a workout in comparison to how many calories we consume in a meal. This is why it’s vastly important to be educated in this topic.
PAY ATTENTION: “If you want to lose fat, a useful guideline for lowering your calorie intake is to reduce your calories by at least 500, but not more than 1000 below your maintenance level,” according to BMI-Calculator.net. “For people with only a small amount of weight to lose, 1000 calories will be too much of a deficit. As a guide to minimum calorie intake, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that calorie levels never drop below 1200 calories per day for women or 1800 calories per day for men. Even these calorie levels are quite low.”
Burn, Baby, Burn
So now you know what you need to do to lose pounds each week, but like I said, how many calories are you burning during your workouts? A semi-accurate way is a heart rate monitor, although I wouldn’t recommend spending your money here. You could also use your trusty cardio machine’s readout, but that’s just an estimate.
Brian Koning posted a great article back in 2012 (and revised it in 2014) that reveals the Journal of Sports Sciences’ formulas for each gender.
Calculate Calories Burned
For Men: [(age x 0.2017) – (weight x 0.09036) + (heart rate x 0.6309) – 55.0969] x (minutes/4.184) = calories burned For Women: [(age x 0.074) – (weight x 0.05741) + (heart rate x 0.4472) – 20.4022] x (minutes/4.184) = calories burned
So in the same example above, the female’s heart rate 160 beats per minutes (bpm), and she worked out for 60 minutes:
[(1.998) – (8.89855) + (71.552) – 20.4022] x (14.3403) = 634.55 calories burned
And the male using the same bpm and time as the female:
[(5.4459) – (17.1684) + (100.944) – 55.0969] x (14.3403) = 489.36 calories burned
By the Numbers: Food
Of course you will also need to know how many calories are in your meals if you want to go that route. There are plenty of apps out there, but I find them to be less accurate (unless they are confirmed by the USDA). These apps also are high in name-brand foods, like processed products and restaurant menu items.
If you can swing it, calculate your meals based on the USDA’s recommendations. Here is the tracker from the department’s official website.
Now you are equipped with the tools to strengthen your goals (and your muscles, *wink wink*). Sound like too much work? Beach bodies take some effort, but there are ways to go through a diet and exercise program without religiously counting your calories. I personally enjoy doing it as it’s a great way to stay on track. It’s not always the answer, however.
In Fit Mind, Fit Life, I discuss the importance (and strategies) of portion control and identifying fullness vs. satisfaction, and many other tips, tricks and mind hacks that supplement the 7-step process I’ve developed to help you achieve your ultimate body image. These principal methods will certainly help you manage your personal journey, so I suggest you check it out!
What is the biggest struggle you are experiencing in achieving your beach body? I want to help. Tell me in the comments below.