Today I would like to talk about the calories and a person’s total daily need for them. Every day, individuals need a certain number of calories to maintain their bodies. This is known as our Total Daily Need (TDN). The precise number of calories each person needs is based on a few factors added together to come up with our total. We will go over the components that make up your TDN and begin to explore how many calories you will need based on your goals.
The first component of TDN is Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which can best be described as the number of calories a body would need if it spent all day at rest. Functions like breathing, cell repair, blinking, muscle tone maintenance, heart beating – these all require calories in order to happen every day. Think of your body at rest for an entire day: the base level of calories that you would burn in a day equals your BMR. Your body must burn this minimum number of calories daily just to maintain function and life. This happens every second, every minute and every hour of every day.
The second component of TDN calculation is activity level. Most of us do not lay in bed all day, so we need to factor in our lifestyle. What kind of movement or activity does an average day involve? Do we sit, stand, move or lift consistently on an average day? We can calculate an average based on our everyday lifestyle to increase the total number of calories burned in a day.
The last component of TDN is digestion. In order to digest food, we need to push it along through active transport. Our body burns calories as it breaks down the food and gets nutrients into the bloodstream. This accounts for roughly 10% of all calories eaten, which we must consider when calculating daily caloric need.
If we add all three of these components together then we have our Total Daily Need. Our TDN is the total we need every day in order to maintain our current weight. If we eat more or less than our TDN then our body will either gain or lose weight, respectively.
When we want to lose weight we need to eat fewer calories than we burn on a daily basis, creating caloric deficit. The body then turns to stored body fat in order to make up the deficit. Over time, we burn off body fat and develop a leaner, fitter body. The total daily deficit, however, cannot be too extreme or our body will start to burn muscle and store more body fat. This is the subject of next week’s blog, so we’ll leave it at that for now.
If we want to gain weight, we need to eat more calories than we burn on a daily basis. We want to eat just a little bit more than we burn so the extra calories will be used to build lean body mass. If we eat too many calories on a daily basis, then they will end up being stored as body fat. This will also be discussed next week, so take us at our word for this week.
An individual’s Total Daily Need is not related to eating healthy or unhealthy foods: it is merely a total of how many calories we need on a daily basis. If we need 3000 calories daily and we eat 3000 calories from ice cream, then we would not gain any weight. Healthy and unhealthy food choices create another discussion for another day. TDN just comes down to how many calories we consume as compared to the number of calories we burn off. Over time this deficit or excess, along with our eating patterns, will determine whether we are gaining, losing or maintaining weight.
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Article written by Spencer Aiken, CSCS, CEO, TrueFitness.
Edited by Clarissa Constantine, FitToPublish.com