today I’m answering sort of a beginner question but it is one that I get asked very often which is: Should you eat back the calories burned from exercise? Now it’s actually kind of a confusing question to be honest because it really just stems from a basic misunderstanding of how the fat-burning process works.
Now this does apply to a muscle growth as well but almost everybody who asks me this question usually has fat loss as their main goal.
If muscle growth is your goal then the same basic logic applies with the answer that I’ll be giving but I will be addressing it from a fat loss perspective.
But the thing to understand here is that fat loss ultimately just comes down to managing your total net energy balance in the big picture.
Meaning that at the end of the day or the end of th week, when you add up all the energy you consume so the calories that you eat an all the energy that you expand so all the calories that you burned at rest and during exercise.
You need to be in a situation where you’re expending more energy than you’re taking in.
if you do that and the amount of your expending in comparison to what you’re taking in is large enough then you’re going to lose fat.
Now you can tip that balance in your favor in two ways: you can eat less food to reduce your energy intake and you can exercise more to increase your energy expenditure.
In almost all cases you’re going to be doing some combination of both.
You’ll be tracking your food intake and eating a bit less food than you normally do and you’ll be performing weight training and cardio session throughout the week as well.
And the combination of those two, so eating less and exercising more not going to result in fat loss.
Now some people, depending on their preference may go a little further in either direction.
Some people like myself, prefer to cut dietary calories a bit further and do a bit less cardio.
While others prefer to only reduce their food intake slightly and then burn more calories through cardio.
Either one is acceptable though, and it does create the same basic bottom line result.
But at the end of the day it’s really just about creating a net calorie deficit by burning more than you consume in the overall picture.
So there’s really no question of, “Should I eat back my calories burned from exercise?”, you simply have a certain daily calorie intake that you shoot for and you have a certain amount of exercise that you perform throughout the week.
And the combination of those two creates an overall calorie deficit for fat loss.
Again, it’s really just about managing your calorie intake versus your total calorie burned in the big pictures.
So the question of eating back exercise calories it really doesn’t come into play.
Just fine the right balance for yourself between eating fewer calories and performing additional exercise until you’re landing somewhere in that one to two pound per week fat loss range.
And there’s really nothing more to it than that.
Yes you can create a larger deficit and lose fat faster than that but for most people usually around one to two pounds per week is typically a good range for maximizing short and long term adherence, maintain your training performance and keeping your hunger, your energy levels, your mood, your libido and other factors in check.
And again if you’re asking this question and your main goal is to gain muscle than the basic logic of everything that I’ve said here still applies, except that you need to do the opposite and consume more calories than you burn.
And on top of that your total weight change should be closer to around half a pound per week gain rather than the one to two pound per week loss that I previously outlined.
So I hope that answer the question.
Again, it really basic but one that I do get asked a lot.