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Energy Balance: What Is It and How To Get It

Posted Feb 02 2009 10:41pm

The latest buzz in the health and fitness industry is ‘ energy balance ‘. But what the heck is it and how do you get it?

Energy balance in simple terms is the balance between energy intake and energy expenditure, i.e. the state in which the total energy intake equals total energy needs.

Your energy in and out doesn’t have to balance exactly every day, but if you are wanting to lose weight permanently - then your energy balance must be negative i.e. use more energy (physical activity) than you take in (eat).

We all understand that weight management is dependent on the equation of energy balance - the amount of energy you put into your body (food calories ) vs. the amount of energy you use or amount of physical activity you do, but given the fact that we’re all unique individuals, it’s pretty difficult to know how many calories the body needs to reach or maintain a certain weight and keep hold of that ‘energy balance’ and still keep the unwanted bulges and kilo’s at bay.

Walking, lifting, even cleaning the house or just moving around burns calories, although the number of calories you’ll burn in any activity depends on the bodies weight.

BMR or basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy your body needs to function when you’re for example resting where generally men have a higher BMR than women. BMR accounts for about 60% to 70% of the calories burned during a day, which includes the energy needed to keep the heart beating, lungs breathing, eyes blinking, nose twitching and body temperature stabilised. One of the most accurate methods of estimating your own basal metabolic rate is the Harris-Benedict formula:

For an adult male: 66 + (6.3 x body weight in lbs) + (12.9 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)
For an adult female: 655 + (4.3 x weight in lbs.) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)

If you use centimetres and/or kilograms - click here for a BMR metric calculator.

The second factor in this is physical activity, which consumes the next highest number of calories. Physical activity includes everything from making your bed in the morning to jogging, cleaning and generally moving around burns calories, but the number of calories you burn in any activity depends on your body weight. Click here for a comprehensive listing of the calories used in various physical activities and for varying individual weights.

The thermic effect of food is the final factor in this equation and relates to the number of calories your body burns. This is the amount of energy your body uses to digest the food you eat as it takes energy to break down food in order to be utilized by the body. So, to calculate the number of calories your body uses in this process, you need to multiply the total number of calories you eat in a day by 10%.

If you’re interested in finding out what your BMI ( Body Mass Index ) is, for metric click here - for non metric click here.

When you know the number of calories needed to maintain your weight, it’s easy to calculate the number of calories needed in order to gain or lose weight.

Recommended energy balance information from other authority sites ….

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