UNDERSTANDING YOUR ACTIVITY FACTOR (HOW TO BURN CALORIES SERIES #2 OF 4).
Who was here last week for the first blog of this series?!
I’m excited about this blog today because I’m about to get real with you and ya know, hopefully it’s well received haha. I think we’re all a little over all the bullshit right?
[in my opinion] we see a lot of women on instagram who clearly have muscles and they are playing the game of trying to give you [the viewer] what you want which is something new, something flashy, something with lots of intensity and lighter weights. They gotta do what they gotta do, I get it. I’ve done it, but I want to educate you as well.
I recently did a poll and found that most people want shorter 30 min bodyweight workouts instead of 1 hour gym workouts which would be great for extra calorie burn but if you’re wanting to look like those girls on instagram, someones gotta tell you [i’ll tell you, because ILY] it’s going to take more than those quick, body weight, flashy circuits you’re seeing.
It’s safe to assume that those girls have put in the work of hard 1 hour gym workouts multiple times a week for years and now are at a point where they just need to maintain their body SO those workouts are great for them! Maintaining is easy, it’s getting to that point that takes more effort than what most people are showing us.
Here’s my thing…
I’m looking for some more realness, more explanations, and more substance.
Because it’s not fair to lead people to believe that if they do any kind of work out that they can eat whatever they want.
I think we’ve all been there right? I mean this info only made more sense to me over the last year. Before, I used to consume more calories because I walked on the tread, or because I went for a light hike and the mindset makes sense…I burned more calories than normal today so I can eat more, right?
Well, it depends on your goals. If your goal is to lose weight then it might be smarter and more efficient to just move more and stop feeling the need to refuel after every little thing. If you want to maintain your weight though then that would be a good plan for you.
I know the problem for me was that I read somewhere along the way that you need to eat right after exercise so I stuck with that and I became that person that would eat after any exercise even if I wasn’t hungry , simply because I thought I was supposed to.
So my calories remained equal to or above the amount that I was burning, hence, no weight loss.
But of course there are some workouts that we do where we truly burn a lot of calories, sometimes we even burn extra calories for up to 2 days and we can actually FEEL that we need to consume more food right? But how do we know how much extra we are supposed to have? What’s going to make us lose weight, what’s going to make us even out, and what is technically going to make us gain weight?
I have allll those answers for you. I will be blunt with you about some things and I will make everything as easy as possible to understand.
So to make it simple - when we use heavier weights, we need to consume more calories, and when we don’t, then we don’t need to. (This excludes professional athletic training and games, marathons, and any strenuous activities lasting longer than an hour). I’m really not trying to make a MASSIVE generalization but for the purpose of my readers I have a really good idea what most of you are doing.
Essentially I’m drawing a line between weight training and all other popular workouts right now like yoga, HIIT classes, spin, light hiking, power plate, mat pilates, barre, etc.
Yikes I feel like everyone is going to want to kill me here.
If it makes anyone feel any better, I was literally signed up for Classpass while I was learning about this concept. And the classes I went to were yoga, barre, pilates and spin haha SO….I GET IT.
I was taking all of those classes but never actually seeing any significant changes. When I talked to my coach about it he told me very simply, “Of course you’re not. What kind of overload is being put on your muscles in those classes? NONE.”
I replied with, “What the hell is overload “ lol.
Overload = weight. Weight challenges the nervous system and your muscles and requires them to work together to adapt to this new overload. When we DON’T have overload, our bodies don’t recognize a reason to change.
The demand we are putting on our bodies to preform the exercises in those classes definitely FEEL hard as fuck. You’re shaking and sweating and feel like dying but that’s because your muscles aren’t strong OR because they are fatigued from doing 800 million reps.
And continuing to do those same exercises over and over will of course get easier the more you do them and your body will adapt to a certain point but then it will stop because it is carrying the same weight day after day in a sequence of similar exercises and like I mentioned before, the demand will be low.
SO with all of that said - we need to begin to understand that if we want to take our bodies to the next level, we need to stop eating a ton of extra calories because we take one of these classes and we need to pick up some weights.
Real quick - I want it to be clear that there is nothing wrong with those classes.
I love all of those classes like I said and would gladly go to one right now! But let’s help ourselves out by going to one of those classes simply because we want to burn a few extra hundred calories, and not because we want to transform your body and eat more at brunch.
You’ll begin to notice that you can actually manage through your day without re eating those calories and you will be stoked because you will probably start to see some weight loss. But like I said, if you are really ready to take your body to the next level, then weights are essential to your fitness regime.
Once you start overloading your body and challenging it with new weights, then your Activity Factor will increase and you will be burning more calories.
This study mentioned in the article “A calories is Sometimes Not a Calorie” is worth reading…check out the whole article when you can!
There's a study to illustrate the point. It was published in the April 1999 Journal of the American College of Nutrition and looked at two groups of obese subjects put on identical very low calorie diets. One group was assigned an aerobic exercise protocol (walking, biking, or jogging four times per week). The other group was assigned resistance training three times per week and did no aerobic exercise.
After 12 weeks, both groups lost weight. The aerobic group lost 37 pounds, 27 of which was fat and 10 of which was muscle. The resistance-training group lost 32 pounds, and 32 pounds were fat, 0 was muscle. When resting metabolic rate was calculated after the study, the aerobic group was burning 210 fewer calories daily. In contrast, the resistance-training group had increased their metabolism by 63 calories per day.
Think of it this way…when we go to work, we clock in, we work, then we clock out. That’s like endurance training. You only get paid for the time you’re at work and you only burn calories for the time you’re in class.
BUT with strength training…strength training is like going to work, working, clocking out, and then getting paid overtime.
Your body keeps working even after you drop the weights and THIS is why your activity factor increases and why your AF is one of the biggest ways to burn calories.
Just to give you an example. I recently had to take a little 2 week week break from lifting heavy weights due to my scoliosis. My Physical Therapist said he needs some time to re align my pelvis before I can start going heavy in the gym again so I’ve been doing cardio and body weight exercises.
I AM LITERALLY NEVER EFFING HUNGRY. It’s very annoying to be honest lol and a little freaky. I can actually feel how not weight training has caused me to burn less calories hence why I’m less hungry.
Even when I was lifting heavy 3 days a week I was more hungry on an off day during that week than I am after a run or hike during this cardio period.
Also - lifting weights obviously builds muscle if done properly right? And muscle is HARDER for your body to maintain than fat so your body has to burn extra fuel just to MAINTAIN that muscle so the more muscle you have, the more calories you’re burning even when at rest.
With all that said - let’s get into the proper way to find out how much you should be eating depending on how often you are weight training.
The numbers look a little something like this:
Sedentary = BMR X 1.2 (no exercise)
Lightly active = BMR X 1.375 (light exercise 2-3 times a week)
Moderately active = BMR X 1.55 (moderate exercise 3-5 days a week)
Very active = BMR X 1.725 (rigorous exercise/sports 6-7 days a week)
Super, Extra Active = BMR X 1.9 (rigorous daily exercise/sports & physical job)
if you don’t know your BMR you can use this formula right here:
Men: BMR = 66 + (13.7 X wt in kg) + (5 X ht in cm) – (6.8 X age in years)
Women: BMR = 655 + (9.6 X wt in kg) + (1.8 X ht in cm) – (4.7 X age in years)
So I don’t like to give myself extra calories and I don’t like to give my clients extra calories because, well, all of my clients want to lose weight and they will probably overeat on accident anyway so depending on how consistently they are getting to the gym, I might change those numbers a little bit BUT to keep it simple….
My BMR is about 1,400 calories. BMR stands for basil metabolic rate and it’s the amount of calories that our bodies burn on their own in order to maintain our weight and keep our internal organs functioning.
Say I workout with weights 5 days a week, then I would take my BMR x 1.55 = 2,170.
So this is about how many calories I can eat if I’m working out that much BUT this would make me MAINTAIN my weight. So if I want to lose weight then I would need to create a deficit from that number. Depending on how much weight you want to lose you can subtract 20-30%.
So if I did 2,170 x .30 I would get 651. That’s my deficit. So if i’m working out 5 days a week but still want to consume a calorie amount that will let me lose weight then I would take 2,170 - 651 which = 1,519.
And THAT is how you figure out how to balance your activity factor with your calories.
Real quick - notice how it says if you’re working out 3-5 days a week, you can multiply by 1.55? So in my personal opinion, I would use a smaller number if I was definitely only doing weight 3 days a week.
i would pick a number like 1.2 then create a deficit from there.
I know this probably sounds tedious but if you’ve never tried paying close attention to these numbers then I think you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to seriously help yourself!
Any diet…I repeat…ANY DIET that works, works because it is creating a caloric deficit. So why don’t we just live our lives and pay more attention to what our calories should be and stop trying to chase fad diets?
Again - this is coming from someone who tried every diet in the book, fucked up their metabolism by eatting adderal for 3 months, and did every cardio class of every intensity until it made me sick SO I hope I don’t sound judgy or mean AT ALL, because anything I’m saying to you, I’m also saying to myself haha.
I have just learned the proper way to do things over the last 13 months and have seen and FELT the results from swallowing my pride and trying a new system.
Let me know what you think and definitely let me know below if you have any questions!