Understanding Calories For Building Muscle And Losing Fat

By | July 19, 2013


Whenever the subject “building muscle and losing fat” comes up anywhere the term “calories” must come up as well. Calorie intake is one of the most important factors that affect both building muscle and losing fat. You need more of it in your body to gain muscle mass and less of it to lose fat.

If you don’t get your calorie intake right when going after either goal, you may not build muscle or lose fat as you need to get the body you are after.

So it’s very important for everyone with the intention to gain muscle mass and get lean have an adequate and accurate understanding of calories.

What Are Calories?

A calorie is the measurement unit for energy. Calories are not exactly another name for food, but rather a measure of the specific content in food that can be used up by the body to produce energy. Most foods sold in packages have the amount of calories and other nutritional components they contain per serving in a certain location, usually in the back, of the package.

How many calories in protein, fat and carb?

The calorie content per gram of each macronutrient:

Protein contains 4 calories per gram
Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram
Fat contains 9 calories per gram

The Main Use Of Calories In The Body

The body needs calories to burn for energy to do everything. Just like gas is needed to make a vehicle run and electricity is needed to make electrical appliances work, the body needs calories as energy to do anything it has to do.

“Even when you’re at rest, your body needs energy for all its “hidden” functions, such as breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels, and growing and repairing cells”. Mayoclinic.org

But the majority of calories we consume in food gets used up or burned for physical activities that we perform everyday such as walking and running. Normally, our bodies would store calories as fat when they are consumed in excess. Excess meaning more calories are consumed than the amount the body burns in a day.

Foods Which Contain Calories

Calories And Body Weight

When you consume just the right amount of calories that your body needs daily they all get burned for energy by the body. When this happens your weight remains normal as it is – you do not gain nor lose weight.

If you consume less calories than your body requires (calorie deficit), your body will burn stored calories to make up for the shortage and you’ll lose weight as a result.

If you take in calories over the amount your body needs to use as energy (calorie surplus), your body will store the excess calories as fat and you’ll gain weight.

The only time an excess consumption of calories will not all be stored as fat is when you perform effective resistance training that’s good enough to cause those extra calories in your body to be used for building muscle. So your weight gain would at least be some muscle mass built instead of  fat.

Calories For Building Muscle And Losing Fat

Building muscle is a form of weight gain and requires a calorie surplus (extra calories in the body) and losing fat is a form of weight loss that requires a calorie deficit (less calories than the amount your body burns). Therefore, properly modifying calorie intake in accordance with your muscle building and fat loss goals is essential to get the right results.

The exact amount of calories a person needs to consume to build muscle or lose fat depend on a number of factors that are specific to the individual. There is not a standard number of calories that are required by everyone to maintain, gain or lose weight. The amount varies from person to person.

It’s also very important to follow correct nutritional procedures, so that when you are eating to build muscle you do not gain fat, and when you are dieting to lose fat you do not lose muscle.

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