Fitness | Understanding Food and Weight Loss...

Calories in. Calories out. It’s basic biology. If you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. If you take in more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you eat. And unless you’ve jumped species, it’s true for you, too. Exercise is necessary and important, but no exercise program will transcend a bad diet.

You can determine your daily caloric need through a computational formula that factors the relationship between your age, weight, and height, and the amount of daily activity your engage in. Once you have determined this number, you can figure out what you need to do to adjust your weight.


For instance, let’s say you require 2000 calories to maintain your current weight. By adding or subtracting 500 calories a day, you can safely gain or lose a pound a week. In other words, by cutting your intake from 2000 calories per day to 1500 calories per day, you can lose about 4 pounds a month or 10 pounds by Christmas! (500 calories is equal to a tall Cappuccino and a butter croissant or bottle of beer and a slice of pizza) You can come at this from both ends, too. You can choose to burn more calories through exercise simultaneously. In fact, a solid program of weight training will prevent you from losing muscle while you burn fat. As long as you run at a calorie deficit you WILL lose weight. If you’re doing it right, you’ll feel hungry because you’re not used to eating less. You may also get bitchy. We call it “hangry.’ It’s normal and it’s okay. You won’t starve. Remember nothing tastes as good as fit feels.

But what if you want to gain weight? The same formula holds true. By adding 500 calories a day, you will gain a pound a week. You have to be careful here because you don’t want to gain fat. That means you’ll need a a program of resistance training (weights) to insure you’re building muscle. If you’re looking to gain muscle, you’ll want to train with weights four to five times per week for about an hour a day. And since muscle grows a little slower you may want to increase your calories slower, say 150 to 250 calories per day. So instead of pushing away from the buffet while you’re still hungry, you’ll need to eat PAST the feeling of being full. Be sure to focus on high protein foods like chicken and fish. Eating more than you’re used to eating can make you feel stuffed and lethargic. It’s normal and okay. Keep eating.

All calories are not equal. While you can lose weight eating only chocolate cake, your nutrition will absolutely suck. What many people want to do is change their body composition while keeping their weight basically the same. This is achieved by changing the the type of calories you consume (high protein/ low carb) combined with a targeted exercise program.

And to be sure your abs pop, here are three abdominal moves that require very little equipment:

Philip Hitchcock is an independent, Certified Personal Trainer specializing in “Fitness after 40,” Resistance Training and Weight Loss. He maintains his own client base and is also the exclusive trainer for the Four Seasons Hotel. Check out