Recently, a co-worker asked me about my nutrition needs, and I realized that aside from the daily calorie counts that I posted on the Calories page, I hadn’t gone too much into depth with the calories requirements when tackling an aggressive workout schedule.
Almost everything I’ve researched indicates that if you did nothing but lie in bed for 24 hours, that the bare minimum requirement for your caloric intake would be around 10 calories per pound of body-weight… and that would ONLY MAINTAIN your bodily functions (i.e. heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, stomach, liver, etc).
For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, then your caloric daily intake shouldn’t be less than 1300 calories – EVER.
Starving yourself to lose weight is not safe, not healthy, and is detrimental to most everyone’s fitness goals.
That being said, for the rest of us who’re not laying in a bed doing nothing all day long, our caloric needs go up from there… if you work from a desk all day like me, then your caloric needs are not much higher… maybe 100 to 300 more per day. However, if you have an active job where you’re readily on-the-move and/or doing some form of manual labor, then your caloric needs could literally be around 1000 more calories per day. Add to it an additional 500-600 calories, if you’re doing a highly active daily workout (P90X, CrossFit, etc).
NOTE: Every body-type and metabolism starts at a different place. If you’ve been eating junk-food and staying sedentary, then your body will attempt to rebel when you start eating better foods with lower caloric consumption.
So back to the calories… for me… at 165 pounds… my daily caloric minimum is at 1650. Add to that another 200-300 calories to keep me from passing-out at my desk or while playing with my kids, and another 500-600 calories to pour into my workouts, and my daily caloric intake is now at around 2400.
I manage those caloric needs with a 50/30/20 nutrition plan, and I keep food with me all day long, eating every 2-3 hours. However, when I first started applying portion management to my daily nutrition, I stuck with around 2000 calories per day, and this helped get my body fat down to around 10% very quickly. I modified this to fit my goals and my life-style… I encourage you to do the same, as what works for me will not work 100% for you.
Here are some of the portions I incorporated (for the 2400 calorie set – add some more protein and veggies):
Proteins 100 calories (7 servings)…
- tuna packet, lean hamburger, tenderloin, fat-free ham slices, fish, egg-whites, chicken/turkey breast (boneless+skinless), natural peanut butter
Dairy 120 calories (3 servings)…
- cottage cheese, feta cheese, low-fat cheese, parmesan cheese, skim milk, non-fat plain yogurt, low-fat/low-sodium string cheese
Fruits 100 calories (1 serving)…
- apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, dried fruit, grapes, kiwi, large orange, mango, medium apple, medium banana, medium cantaloupe, medium grapefruit, medium nectarine, medium papaya, medium peach, medium pear, medium tangerine, raspberries, sliced strawberries
Vegetables 50 calories (4 servings)
- cooked vegetables, 8 oz glass of low-sodium V8, or vegetable soup, leafy greens,
Fats 120 calories (1 serving)
- avocado, canola oil, flax seed oil, olive oil, olives
Carbs 200 calories (1 serving)
- beans, bread (wheat/rye 3+ g. dietary fiber), Brown/wild rice, whole grain cereal, couscous, cup pasta, hummus, pita/tortilla (whole wheat), medium whole wheat bagel, medium sweet potato, oatmeal, whole wheat waffles
Snacks (total of 300 calories)
- X1 100 calories each serving (dried fruit, fig newtons, frozen fruit bar, fruit sorbet, large sour dough slice, medium fruit, mini rice cake, non fat plain yogurt, peanut butter, pita chips, pop corn “lite”, soy nuts, string cheese, low-fat tortilla chips, nonfat frozen yogurt)
- X2 200 calories each serving (nuts, 4 oz bean dip with 1 oz chips, low fat 1 oz cheese with 6 crackers, soy nuts, string cheese, humus with carrot sticks, nuts, non-fat fruit flavored yogurt)
- 8 to 10 servings… 10 ounces each serving
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