Sooo I’m gonna talk about the importance of eating enough food to fuel your body, especially when you’re exercising quite often. I’m also gonna go over the importance of carbohydrates (which I’ll just be calling carbs from here on out). I’m just pretty fed up with people spreading misinformation, so here we go.
I’ve been seriously alarmed in the past, and more recently over the last few days, by stories of women who exercise multiple days a week for hours at a time who are barely taking in 1500 calories. Also by people coming into my work (I work at a supplement store) telling me they eat a whopping 700-900 calories a day when they run and lift weights.
Let me please stress the importance of eating enough calories when you’re exercising, and even when you’re not exercising.
First I wanna discuss a couple things so you really get why making sure you’re eating enough calories is SO IMPORTANT. Some of you may have heard of them before:
- RMR (very similar to BMR, they are practically the same thing and IIFYM does a great job at explaining this) is known as “resting metabolic rate”, this is what your body burns at rest. If you did absolutely NOTHING all day, this is how many calories you would need to just simply be alive, sleep, digest food, and breathe. For most [healthy] adults, their RMR ranges anywhere from 1600-2000 calories. There are a lot of RMR (and BMR) calculators online if you’re curious as to what yours may be. Just keep in mind these are not 100% accurate.
- TDEE is total daily energy expenditure, this is your BMR/RMR + any activity you do throughout the day. It’s ALL of the calories you burn throughout the day. If you were trying to figure out your TDEE, you would take your BMR/RMR and factor in your activity: sitting, standing, walking, exercise, etc. These are going to increase your caloric needs, DRASTICALLY. Luckily, there is also an online calculator for this. Thank goodness because doing this stuff by hand is a pain in the butt, lemme tell ya.
Check out IIFYM’s calculator’s as well as further explanation of the difference between RMR and BMR here.
Ok so listen to me ladies (and men, too): y’all need to eat enough to fuel your body for what you want it to be capable of. Are you lifting 3+ times a week and running a few times a week as well? You better be eating more than 1400 calories a day. No grown adult should be eating that little. There is absolutely no reason for you to be eating less than your body needs to simply LIVE, you are literally starving yourself.
Now for my favorite thing to talk about: CARBS.
Fun fact about carbs: adults need 130 grams of carbs MINIMUM just for proper brain function. I want you to really think about this. I know for my carb lovers out there, y’all are probably thinking “okay but why are you even discussing this…carbs are life and I eat way more than that”. You would be extremely surprised at how many people I tell this to who say something along the lines of: “oh I’m doing low carb right now…I eat like 60 grams a day”. If you’ve done a low carb diet, EVER, you’re about to understand why you’re such a miserable person to be around when doing so.
The brain’s main and only source of energy is glucose (which is a sugar, which is a carb).
So if your brain needs you to eat 130 grams of carbs every single day just to be able to perform at its best, you should definitely be nice to it and give it what it wants.
Food is fuel. It should be looked at that way. Please do not deprive yourself of the fuel you need to thrive/succeed in school, at your job, on your runs, and in the gym.
Also: I know this was brief so if you’re interested in me going into more detail about carbs, exercise, etc. please just comment with future requests/suggestions/whatever else ya want! 🙂