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check outWhen people start tracking their nutrition they usually come to the question, “should I eat the calories I burn and workout?” Or, “how do I track my workouts and MyFitnessPal?” Both are good questions but if you don’t completely understand the way you calculated your calorie goal it might lead you to overeat.

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If you have used the P90X formula and my recommendations, don’t add workouts in MyFitnessPal and don’t eat extra to “make up” for calories you burn in your workouts.

Workout Calories

During every workout you burn calories. Pretty basic huh? Every workout is a little bit different, and the number of calories you burn depends on a lot of factors. Your weight, fitness level, intensity, workout duration, and even exercise type. The best way to see how many calories you actually burn and workout is to use a heart rate monitor – but even that can be flawed. If you’d like to learn more about using a HRM, check out Heart Rate Monitors.

If you do Chest and Back from P90X and burn 643 calories, you have increased your caloric need for the day by those calories. Your body would need more calories to maintain weight because of the extra work you did. But most of us are NOT trying to maintain weight, at least when we start. Working out is one of the ways that we create a caloric deficit in the proper environment to lose body fat and weight.

Caloric Needs Calculations

In case you’ve missed it, I posted a really great calorie calculator while back. It can be found HERE. In my teamRIPPED calorie calculator, I use the P90X formula for calculating caloric need. As I wrote in that post, I have found the P90X formula to be the most consistent and accurate for most people’s needs. It gives you a great starting point, but you always need to actually use that calorie goal and monitor it for a few weeks to see how your body responds.  Then you may have to adjust that guideline to better fit you.

Here the main components to the P90X formula:

BMR = base metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn just breathing
(That’s your weight * 10)

DAB = daily activity burn or the number of calories your daily activity adds
(20% of BMR for most people – really active maybe 30% – very sedentary maybe only 10%)

Daily Workout = here P90X gives you an average of 600 cal per workout.
You are already adding workout calories!

Add those all together: BMR + DAB + Daily Workout = Calories Needed to Maintain Weight (CMW)

So you can see, the P90X formula already adds in an average number of calories for your workouts. Some workouts you may burn more than 600 but there are also workouts that you burn less than 600.

From those calories, we need to maintain weight we subtracted a certain number of calories to create a deficit. YOU HAVE TO EAT FEWER CALORIES THAN YOU “NEED” IN A DAY TO LOSE WEIGHT! If you don’t create a caloric deficit, you won’t lose weight. In some cases, you may think you created a caloric deficit and still not lose weight. That means whatever calorie goal you picked is still too much.

Eating Workout Calories

So now that you have your calorie goal from the P90X formula and you’ve applied 600 for a deficit, what happens if you eat your calories from your workout? YOU WILL BE DOUBLE EATING THOSE CALORIES! You already added an average daily workout of 600 calories. That’s factored in before you even take your deficit. If you do eat the calories that you burn during your workout, you’ll just be eating extra calories. True, there may be some workouts that you burn more than 600 calories.  Consider that a nice bonus and an even bigger effective deficit.

The only time I would ever recommend eating your workout calories is if for some reason you do two workouts in a day. Say you go for a run in the evening and burn an extra 300 cal, when you eat those calories you would still have your deficit from the first workout and just be replenishing that extra work.

Distinction without a Difference

Ok, so say you don’t add in an average workout burn. You will have your BMR + DAB – Deficit… In this case, you could eat your workout calories. It will seem like a TINY number of calories though. Say you are 180 lbs. Ex – 1800 + 360 – 600 = 1660 without a workout. Now if you burn 432 with Back to Core, then you could eat 2100 total and you’d still be at your deficit of 600. But can you see how inconsistent this will be? What if you forget to wear your HRM? Are you going to guess at what you burned? Maybe be a little generous. What if you workout late? And burn 1000 calories? Are you going to pound a 1000 calorie meal before bed?

It really makes no difference, it just can make it harder if you don’t have a solid goal. Moving targets are hard to hit and consistency pays off.

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