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Calories and Bodybuilding

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Understanding Calories

Calories are a measure of energy that is obtained through foods we eat, and are expended through daily activities as well as basic life support functions. What we do not use immediately is stored as fat for the body to use at a later date. To effectively lose fat there are a few simple guidelines that must be followed and some concepts that need to be understood.

Meals should be kept small and frequent.

*Consuming more than 400-600 calories per sitting will lead to fat storage; an excess of calories will be stored for later use as energy. 

*Not eating causes the body to decrease its temperature because there is not enough energy to maintain proper function of the body. This leads to an increase in fat storage in order to insulate the body; helping restore and maintain normal body temperature. The lack of available energy will also cause the body to conserve its caloric output due to the threat of famine thus further impeding fat loss.  

*If an excessive amount of carbohydrates are consumed at once a raise in insulin levels will occur quickly transporting extra calories to fat stores. 

Weight training is a key component for fat loss.

*The body expends between 40 and 60 calories a day to maintain one pound of muscle mass. Therefore adding just five pounds of muscle can increase over all calorie expenditure between 200 and 300 calories a day. 

*During cardio vascular training, added muscle mass will increase the amount of calories expended significantly. 

Nutritional facts to remember.

*Carbohydrates and protein both contain 4 calories per gram, fat contains 9. 

*The body can only assimilate at max 20-25 grams of protein per sitting; any additional protein is converted into calories and stored as fat.  

*Complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread, potatoes, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables are broken down slowly by the body; giving the body a chance to use the calories as they become available leaving less for storage as fat. 

*Simple carbohydrates such as chocolates, soda, jelly and candy in general is almost immediately broken down by the body, resulting in an abundance of available calories of witch a good portion will be stored as fat.

Many people are under the impression that starving them selves will dramatically decrease body fat. This is far from true, as previously stated the body’s reaction to the distress of famine is to hold onto any available energy stores (fat). High blood glucose (sugar) levels trigger a release in insulin to help store excess sugar calories, as fat so avoiding too many simple carbohydrates at one sitting is crucial to losing fat. To further compound the problem of excess insulin leading to fat storage, the set point at which the body releases insulin is severely lowered during and after a crash diet. This condition can last for months after regular eating is reinstated causing a large increase in insulin production, regardless of the amount of carbohydrates consumed, thus leading to a tendency to store fat that is 4-5 times greater than it was before famine was introduced to the body.  

Further more the body will devour muscle to obtain vital nutrients and to limit caloric expenditure. On crash diets, that is what you see when the scale starts going down as muscle weighs 2.5 times more than fat, ultimately leaving a weakened, unshapely, flabby, rebounding, frustrated individual. 

Decreasing body fat is as easy as reducing meal size and increasing the frequency of meals, moderate cardiovascular training and a sensible weight-training program. Any program that claims that you can lose fat and improve your appearance while maintaining a lazy life style and eating what ever you want is a scam and it will fail.

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