Okay, so after a few calculations you now know your resting metabolic rate and how to figure out your activity level. You also know how to add in your exercise. There are many on line calculators to help tabulate how many calories a given activity burns. If you missed them - PART 1, PART 2
But let’s go back to the easy routine part.
If you remember, with my sedentary activity factored in I burn about 2000 calories a day. I make sure that I get this amount each and every day. However, I am not a calories counter. I am calorie conscious but I have but up routines to help me better cope with my diet.
I like to eat fairly often – I am not talking 10 meals day or anything more like 4 or 5 meals a day. So I break the 2000 calories into meals. I can have five 400 calorie meals or four 500 calorie meals. I used to make little ‘deal-a-meal’ type index cards. Now I just have these meals in my head.
For breakfast I almost always have a big bowl of oatmeal (300 calories) with a huge heaping tablespoon of natural peanut butter (180 calories). For lunch, well it might be a large bowl of homemade black bean soup – it has squash, black beans, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic and jerk Caribbean spices – I call it Jamaican Me Crazy Soup (350 calories) and a hardboiled egg (75 calories). Many times I will have another small bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter for an afternoon snack (250 calories). At dinner I will eat a HUGE salad consisting of spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, sugar snap peas, and a grilled chicken breast topped with a couple of tablespoons of low at ranch dressing (about 500 calories for the entire mix). For an after dinner snack it might be a cup of low fat cottage cheese (150 calories), a cup of vanilla almond milk (90 calories) and a half cup of fiber one cereal (60 calories).
Okay, after I typed that out it does not seem so easy but it really is – my meals are modular and they are all around 400 – 500 calories. I have several to choose from and I can mix and match. The grilled chicken I prepare all at once on the weekends. The Jamaican Me Crazy Soup is also prepared in a weekly batch. Everything is always prepared and you just have to throw it together.
So that handles all of my RMR calories; each and every day. But what about the training calories? Well that is taken care of immediately pre and post workout. Most morning I do not get much to eat before hitting the trail. But I add the calories in protein shakes and extra bowls of oatmeal (complex carbohydrates). So let’s look at last Sunday’s first bike ride. It was an hour of intense cycling. I would guess that it was about 600 – 700 calories. When I got back from the ride I had a scoop of protein power (120 calories) and a large bowl of oatmeal (500 calories). I know that I should not have the fat from the peanut butter but my diet is not perfect.
The take home message is to determine the necessary calories to sustain yourself on a daily basis and then break it up into manageable meals. Next add the extra calories for your training.
Try this out of a couple of weeks. If you want to lose weight then cut out a couple hundred calories. Do the opposite to put weight on. This does not take a lot of math or discipline; it only takes building a habit.