Thursday, April 12, 2012

Calorie Cycling Explained

Let me begin by saying that I did not create the Calorie Cycling idea. Nor when I first ever heard about it, a few years back, was I even willing to try it. I didn't believe that it would really work- I'm sure I had made up some semi-justifiable reasons in my mind at the time. I also was mainly not interested in going through the trouble of eating less on one day, more on another and having to track it all as well.

Well, times have changed. I was finally ready to give this method a try. The basic idea is to find out your BMR - Basal Metabolic Rate. This varies from person to person, and is a mathematical calculation that is based on your weight, height, gender, and level of activity during the day. The number you receive is translated as the calories you need to just survive , or maintain your current weight.

There are various BMR calculators you may use online- the most reliable, in my opinion, is either use the USDA's on their site, or

Now, most likely if you're reading this- you want to do one of two things (or perhaps, both) - lose fat, gain muscle. Calorie Cycling works out pretty easily to achieve both these fitness goals.

Here's how it works: On days you work out at a high intensity ( high intensity interval cardio, hiking trip, long bike or road workout, etc.) or working a large muscle group( back, chest, legs) you simply eat between 200-300 calories MORE than your BMR. BMR is your Basal Metabolic Rate - this means the amount of calories your body requires to simply function if you were to rest for a full 24 hours. 

Then,on your Rest, or Light workout Days, (going for walk, day at the beach or on vacation) or with weight lifting on smaller muscle groups ( shoulders, arms, abs) you will consume exactly your BMR calories. 

The reason this method can work is because varying your caloric intake keeps your body from staying at homeostasis- that is, remaining the same. By doing this, your metabolism kept guessing and therefore will burn more fat overall than simply eating the same calories every day.

 A simple calculation for figuring this out is to take your goal weight- let's say 120 pounds - and multiply that by 10. This gives you 1200 calories. Add 200 to that number, giving you 1400 calories. So, on LOW CALORIE DAYS you will consumer only 1400 calories. Then, on HIGH CALORIE DAYS you will consumer 1600-1700 calories. 

Please keep in mind that it is NEVER recommended to eat fewer than 1200 calories a day. Eating below this amount is dangerous to your health, will sacrifice both muscle and fat, and can further cause metabolic damage. Your body will think it's starving and go into a starvation mode.  This means that your metabolism can slow down drastically, so that when you do eat more you will gain even more weight back. 

Be smart, and always consumer more than 1200 calories a day. If you don't believe me, read this article here on How Eating More, Not Less will help you lose Weight Faster. 

This simple method is easy to figure out, easy to follow (especially with all the choices of free, online fitness trackers out there!), and will give results quicker than you'd imagine. Now, I'm definitely not saying overnight results - but I recommend you try it out for 30 days along with a set workout routine consisting of both weight training and cardio.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

It's smart to track your fat loss over weighing yourself everyday. Body fat calipers are easy to use, don't cost a lot of money (less than 10 bucks!) and are fairly accurate, even if you don't have a lot of experience.

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Hi! I 'm Karlene Murphy. A lover of food (especially if it's gluten and dairy free!), getting outdoors, lifting weights, travel, writing, and snuggling with my two puppies. My addictions include chocolate, coffee, cookies, and sharing my love of being HAPPY and HEALTHY! My passion is educating others - whether at my full time job as a high school Psychology teacher, or with YOU my readers. I have been in the fitness wold for almost 10 years, and currently am an Online Fitness Coach, Fitness Instructor, Pilates and Yoga and Aerial Yoga Instructor in Southern New Hampshire. Contact Me if you need help with designing your own fitness and nutrition program.

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