When you are trying to build muscles or lose weight the amounts of calories you need is one of the most talked about points. Unfortunately it’s not the best metric for tracking and improving your performance.
Why Calories Aren’t Always the Best Metric
Simply put, a calorie is just a unit of measurement for energy. One single calorie is equivalent to the amount of energy you would need in heat to raise the temperature of one gram of water one single degree Celsius.
The energy is then converted into food and measured out to see how much energy you are consuming. The thing about this type of measurement is that it doesn’t take into account any of the other crucial facts like how much weight you actually gain or lose.
It’s What’s on Your Plate, It’s What’s in Your Body:
One of the aspects about calorie counting that is often overlooked is how many calories actually end up in your blood stream. For example, two people could eat the same meal and have completely different amounts of vitamins, minerals, fats, and toxins absorbed by their body. One person may take in a lot of the fat and gain weight, while the other might have the fat pass right through their body.
As you can see, what really matters is how many calories are absorbed, not necessarily how many are eaten.
Count the Quality of Your Food:
Instead of measuring calories you should be measuring the quality of the food. One calorie of ice cream isn’t the same as one calorie of lean meat. A few years ago experts would have said they were equal, now-a-days experts realise every calorie is not equal. When you take the calories out of the equation and think more about your quality of food, it’s a bigger factor in whether or not you lose weight.
Other Metrics to Track Progress:
There are several other ways you can track your progress. The best metric is by using your body fat percentage. If your percentage is going up, then your dietary habits need to change. If it’s going down, you are doing something right. Keep a food journal and keep track of what you eat. Compare the fluctuations in your body fat percentage to what you have been eating. This will tell you what kind of meals get you better results for your body. This can be a much better approach then counting calories since they may have a different effect on different people.
Another metric you can use is BMI. The BMI equation isn’t perfect, but it can be a very good indicator of overall muscle health for the most part.
Calories do have a limited use for people who are trying to gain muscle or lose weight. It leaves out a lot of useful information. Try using a variety of metrics. Find out your body fat percentage and BMI and then use a combination of counting calories and making sure you are eating good quality foods.