Tag Archives: calories
Have you been exercising consistently for awhile now and been getting some decent results but looking to take your training to the next level? Sometimes when you start to see positive gains that can generate after months of healthy eating and regular exercise, you may begin to get more serious about fitness and might want to maximise your results. What l would like to go through with you are some techniques you may want to look at trying, which could help increase your body’s development even further.
When we think of weight loss, we think diet and exercise. The fundamental rule is that we create an energy deficit which therefore encourages weight loss. Simple enough right?
Of course there is always going to be a bit more to it than that. One thing of particular importance is that a calorie from one food isn't going to necessarily equate to the same amount of energy digested from another food.
For example, let's consider 20g of jelly beans (practically all glucose) and an apple. Both foods are high in sugar and both are approximately 80 calories (roughly 334 kJ), from about 20g of carbohydrate (in the form of sugar). But the net effect of the jelly beans will have a much greater impact in preventing your weight loss as compared to the apple.
Why is this so?
A jelly bean is predominantly glucose, a simple sugar that is naturally found in the blood stream. Our body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose in order to feed vital organs and muscles. When consuming a jelly bean, it's already in a very simple form and therefore the body doesn't really have to do all that much to digest the food. Think about it - minimal chewing is involved (which does expend energy) and then the stomach quickly and easily breaks this jelly bean down into a form that can be easily absorbed into the blood stream.
Conversely, an apple is comprised of a much more complex structure, full of fibre too. The apple is much more difficult to break down into your body. Much more chewing is involved and then the stomach has to work much harder to digest the apple for absorption into the body.
If we compare the glycaemic indexes (GI's) of these two foods, you can easily see the contrast in the rate of absorption of both foods. A jelly bean will have a GI close to 100 (very fast to absorb), while an apple will have a low GI around 40 depending upon the variety and region of growth.
These GI's, by definition, advise us that the 20g of carbohydrates are absorbed very rapidly in the jelly beans, in contrast to a very slow rate of absorption with the apple. The jelly bean sugars will be in your blood stream within an hour (give or take), while the apple will take about 2-3 hours. What this means is that the glycaemic load (GL) is much lower in the apple than in the jelly beans. A serving of food with a lower GL will be less likely to provide you with a surplus of calories at any point in time and instead provide a sustained release of energy into your body. Ultimately this means that it will be more effective for weight loss by avoiding fluctuations in energy being utilised by the body.
Although this is only just one example, the morale of this story is that a calorie from one food is not the same as a calorie from another food. Sure, it all ends up as energy, but it is very important to understand how foods will impact your body differently.
Generally speaking, you should be aiming to consume foods that are natural in nature. The more processed a food is, the more likely it is to be absorbed quickly into the body. Instead of confectionary, have whole grains or fruits. Instead of fatty fried foods, have seeds or nuts. And instead of highly processed deli meats, have some turkey or chicken breast. Not only will these foods contain better "quality" calories, they will also generally contain higher quality nutrients too. And of course ensure that your diet is well balanced with an array of foods including plenty of vegetables too!
If I consume more calories in versus calories out, how long do I have until the extra calories go to my waist?
It's impossible to give you an exact time frame because everyone is different. A person with a fast metabolism may process food much quicker than someone with a much slower metabolism.
However at the end of the day, the absolute speed at which foods are metabolised really is not all that important in order to achieve a desired goal. It can be useful to know...but unless you are a nutritionist for a top athlete, I don't believe that this is vital. Don't confuse absolute absorption rates with relative speeds though (ie. how quickly one food is absorbed compared to another) - this are important to understand (for example, glycemic index).
What is important to understand is your goal - to gain or lose weight. If you are seeking to gain weight, then you will require a calorie surplus. Conversely to lose weight a caloric deficit is required.
For more information on this topic, I highly recommend our free course Introduction to Physical Freedom
What would burn more calories, the PS2 game Dance Dance Revolution or using a treadmill for 30 minutes?
This is a near impossible question to answer accurately without some very specific information.
For the information of our readers, the Dance Dance Revolution game requires a dance mat where the player has to place their feet in different positions according to what is shown on the screen.
The number of calories burnt greatly depends upon the intensity of the activity undertaken. If we consider the treadmill and the game you refer to, either activity could result in more calories being utilised. Condier two extreme examples:
Scenario 1: Running at a very fast pace on the treadmill for 30 minutes versus a relatively low-energy, 30 minute game of Dance Dance Revolution.
After 30 minutes on the treadmill, you would have burnt a very significant amount of calories due to the high intensity nature of the activity. Sweat will be pouring out and no doubt, you will be absolutely pooped! The number of calories used in order to perform the treadmill activity would therefore be far greater than using the Dance Dance Revolution game.
Scenario 2: Walking at a leisurely pace on the treadmill for 30 minutes versus a vigorous game of Dance Dance Revolution for 30 minutes.
A leisurely walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes will not require an excessive number of calories. In contrast to this, jumping around for 30 minutes using the Dance Dance Revolution game will. The amount of energy required (ie. Calories) for the game will therefore be far greater than the treadmill activity.
And of course there is plenty of grey area in between these two extremes, so as you can see, there is no simple answer to the question.
This example also illustrates a very important point when it comes to exercising. It is not necessarily the type of exercise that is important when considering what form will burn more calories. What is often more important to consider is the duration and intensity of the exercise being undertaken. For example, I could burn far more calories on a bike (using only my legs) than I could on a cross trainer machine (using both legs and arms) in a period of 15 minutes if the intensity of the bike is far greater than that of the cross trainer.
I don’t diet! I don’t really count calories, and I don’t get overly concerned about numbers. But at the same time I have no problems getting down to sub 5% body-fat levels when needed. So what’s the secret?