Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Understanding Metabolism

Tuesday Tip: Understanding Metabolism 🤓

Despite what you might think most of your daily calorie burn doesn’t come from exercise. It’s driven by your metabolism (converting food cals to energy) which determines the number of cals you need to maintain your weight.

Your calorie burn consists of:

#1 60-70% Basal metabolic rate; the cals you need at rest, to survive; breathing, digesting, filtering waste, nothing more. It varies with body size (bigger = higher bmr), composition (more muscle = higher bmr), age (younger = higher bmr), genetics, hormones (thyroid hormones) and health (ill = higher bmr).

#2 10% is from food thermogenesis (digesting food). Protein requires the most to digest. 0-3 percent of fat cals are used to digest it, 5-10 % for carbs and 20-30 % for protein. But as food thermogenesis only accounts for 10% of daily burn, eating more protein will only have a small effect on your metabolic rate.

#3 20% is from physical activity; walking, workouts, and day to day activities; typing, carrying heavy loads, standing, fidgeting, shopping, etc.

So if you aren’t seeing the results you want, but are tracking your food right, then maybe you’re overestimating your calorie burn? There’s lots of tips out there to boost metabolism e.g. eating more frequently, or not eating late at night etc but few have studies to back them up.

Some tips which are backed by science include:

# including strength training in your workouts. Boosting your muscle mass increases your BMR and burns more calories at rest. You don’t have to lift big weights, body weight exercises are also effective.

# increase intensity in your workouts; short bursts of intense effort increase afterburn e.g. intervals when running, swimming or cycling, or doing workouts that naturally include it like hiit/ bodyattack/ circuits etc.

#3 Eat enough protein. You’re still only contributing a little extra burn, but by ensuring you have protein with every meal you will not only burn a little more digesting, but more importantly you’ll feel fuller for longer, and you’ll have amino acids to support muscle recovery and repair.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Why you shouldn’t eat back your exercise calories….

Why you shouldn’t eat back your exercise calories…. 🏃🏼‍♀️

Many of us use activity trackers / fitness watches; they’re fab tools to monitor activity and motivate us to get fitter, but they can also cause some issues.

The main issue is the figure they provide for calories burned, particularly when linked to food logging apps. Apps like myfitnesspal give you a daily calorie target or budget to spend, based on your current stats, goals and activity levels. If you have a tracker linked then it automatically adds any calories burned to this figure e.g if your goal is 1700 cals and you burn 500 cals in spin it gives you 2200 cals to ‘spend’ (eat).

Great! So you can eat more right? Wrong! You shouldn’t be eating back those exercise calories. Aside from the fact that you have already accounted for your activity level in the daily calorie goal, the main issue is that the tracker is overestimating calories burned. Recent studies found that, despite being pretty accurate for heart rate readings, devices overestimated calories burned by 27 – 93% ! If we assume a 40% error rate you can see on the graph how much it overestimates (blue is actual burn, red is the tracker reading) e.g. a long walk burns 1500 cals on the tracker, but if you ate those back you’re actually over eating by 300 and 1450 cals!

This is why if you’re eating back those exercise calories you could easily wipe out the calorie deficit. Best-case, it slows progress, worst-case you overeat and put on weight. Also, as you get leaner and fitter the calories burnt in general activity and exercise decreases, so you’re burning even fewer calories than the device is reporting.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t record workouts and steps; it’s a great way to look at your relative effort and fitness. Use them as a way to encourage more activity but not as a reason to eat more. In the paid version of myfitnesspal you can choose not to add those extra calories, or simply un-link your tracker so it no longer gets that info.

So if you workout as a way to increase your calorie expenditure, that’s fine, just don’t eat back those calories, as it defeats the entire point of increasing activity in the first place.

🤗 xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Too Much sugar….’

‘Too Much sugar….’🍬 🍎

Sugar – so often vilified as something to be avoided, something bad, the root of all our health problems… yet is it really?

The simple answer is no. We need sugar – it’s a great source of easy energy and it also tastes great. Sugar is made up of two components, fructose and glucose. The molecular structure is the same no matter where they come from. Fruit contains fructose, glucose and also some sucrose (a combination of fructose and glucose). Sweets will tend to be higher in sucrose.

Once digested the sugar from 40g of haribo has the same effect in terms of calories as the sugar from an apple. It’s not worse, and no better. There is a however a difference in how it’s metabolised – fructose is metabolised in the liver so doesn’t produce the same blood sugar high and insulin response – fruit is therefore a better choice in that respect.

In the case of the haribo you’re getting mostly just sugar (and a small amount of protein), with an apple you’re getting the sugar, fibre, vitamins and minerals. The fibre slows digestion making it more filling (and good for your gut heath). This means you’re less likely to want to eat more later, and it’s better for your blood sugar levels. So objectively the apple is a better choice health-wise.

However, foods also provide other things – such as pleasure, convenience etc. So if you’re trying to watch your calories, and you really fancy some sweets you’re better off just having them. If you’re rushing and need a quick burst of energy before a run you’re also better off going for sweets. In terms of the impact on weight/fat loss there will be no difference as long as you stay within your daily calories and are aware they will be a less filling option. And in terms of sugar content the apple is actually higher.

I’m not suggesting sweets are better than apples for you, nor that you swap all your fruit for haribo. I’m just suggesting we recognise that no foods are ‘bad’, and that as part of a balanced, healthy diet you can have both! Sometimes the haribo will be what you need, sometimes the apple!

Enjoy 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Just a banana…’

‘Just a banana…’ 🍌

Bananas make a fab snack option or addition to your breakfast or lunch. They’re full of carbs for energy and a reasonable amount of fibre and are a great source of potassium. They’re also easily portable and have their own in build packaging so are handy for when you’re on the go.

However, if you are trying to lose fat/weight and watching those cals then it’s worth just being aware that bananas can pack a punch when it comes to calories and they also vary wildly. If you’re using a calorie tracking app you’ll often find entries like ‘one small banana’ or ‘one medium banana’ with the associated calories. You’d probably just enter that and assume you were pretty much right. But how small is small? What exactly is ‘medium’? Small to me may be medium to someone else and the calorie differences are pretty large!

The difference between these two bananas is nearly 100g and both are sold as ‘bananas’ – not small or large. So if you were regularly snacking on the larger one you’d be taking in almost 80 extra calories every time. That may not sound like much but over the course of a week or month that will add up. I’m not suggesting you stop having bananas – they’re fab! But just have a go at weighing the next banana you have and see exactly how many calories it does contain.

Knowledge is power right? And if you’re trying to lower that bodyfat then every calorie counts! The more aware you are of what goes in to your mouth the better!

Enjoy 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: How to Get a Flat Stomach

Tuesday Tip: How to Get a Flat Stomach 🙌🏼

Everyone wants a flat stomach or visible abs right? Social media is full of pics of 6 packs selling miracle supplements, teas, exercise programs, or ‘waist’ trainers which can supposedly make you lose belly fat. But sadly there’s no quick fix – if you want a flat stomach it’s going to take more than some magic tea or a load of ab exercises.

First off; everyone has abs – the muscles may be tiny or weak but that 6 pack is there. They’re just hidden under a layer of fat for most people.

Fat does NOT turn into muscle; they are two different things. You could have strong abs, but if they are buried under fat no amount of exercise will give you a flat stomach or a 6 pack, because it doesn’t address the fat on top of your muscles.

A flat stomach only appears when you have a low enough bodyfat percentage.

But ab exercises and magic teas are a lot more exciting to market than ‘eat less, move more’ … so it’s not surprising there are so many products out there making these claims.

So if you’re punishing yourself with endless sit ups every day – stop – it’s not going to give you a flat stomach. You can’t target or spot reduce fat from anywhere. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work those muscles, it’s important to work the ab muscles to protect your back etc.

So how can you lose belly fat? Everyone loses fat from certain parts of their body in different orders depending on age, weight, sex, genetics etc. You can’t control where it goes from first. Women will tend to hold more fat in their belly, hips and thighs, whilst men tend to store more in the belly and butt. You may not lose it from those areas first; it may go from your arms or legs etc.

All you can do is aim to lose bodyfat generally and once you lose enough of it you will see it go from everywhere eventually! The only way to do this is to consume fewer calories than you currently are. So track your calories, find out how many you’re currently eating and then reduce it! And stick with it for weeks or months (not just 5 days!). If you’re at a calorie deficit you will lose fat and at some point that fat will come off your belly too!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx