April 12, 2022

The Basics of Energy Balance: Explaining Calories, NEAT, Basal Metabolic Rate, and More

The Basics of Energy Balance: Explaining Calories, NEAT, Basal Metabolic Rate, and More

If you're looking to lose weight, gain weight, or just maintain your current physique, it's important to understand the basics of energy balance. What are calories? What is basal metabolic rate? What is NEAT? And how do resistance training and cardio play into all of this? In this blog post, we will answer all of these questions and more! So whether you're a beginner or a seasoned fitness pro, read on for some essential knowledge about energy balance.

What even is a calorie?

A calorie is a unit of measurement that determines how much energy is stored in food. One calorie is equal to the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. In other words, calories are a way to measure how much energy food contains.

Basal metabolic rate (BMR)

Your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories your body burns at rest. It's determined by a variety of factors, including your weight, height, age, and sex. BMR accounts for the majority (60-70%) of your total daily energy expenditure, so it's important to make sure you're taking into account this number when trying to create a calorie deficit or surplus.

How can I increase my basal metabolic rate (BMR)?

There are a few things you can do to increase your BMR. First, make sure you're eating enough protein. Protein is essential for the maintenance of muscle mass, and the more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body will burn at rest. You can also try strength training. Strength-training not only helps to increase muscle mass, but it also boosts your basal metabolic rate. Finally, get enough sleep! Lack of sleep has been shown to decrease BMR.

So what does that mean for weight loss and gain?

In order to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit, which means you're burning more calories than you're taking in. On the other hand, in order to gain weight you need to create a calorie surplus, which means you're taking in more calories than you're burning.

How do I know how many calories I need?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as everyone's calorie needs vary depending on their age, weight, height, and activity level. However, there are a few ways to estimate your caloric needs. One is to use an online calculator like this one:


So what if I want to lose fat? How big of a deficit do I need to be in?

It will vary person to person based on how much weight they individually have to lose, but a general rule of thumb for most is to find their maintenence level of calories and decrease daily caloric intake by 2-500 calories depending upon how aggressive you'd like to be.

What if I want to gain muscle?

In order to gain muscle, you'll need to eat more than your maintenence level of calories. This will allow you to provide your body with the extra energy it needs to build new muscle tissue. A good guideline is to add an additional 3-500 calories per day on top of your maintenance level of calories. With that being said if adding quality tissue is the goal, the additional calories need to come from quality carb sources and protein sources.

How much protein do I need to gain muscle?

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, a good rule of thumb is to aim for 0.7g-1g grams of protein per pound of body weight. This will ensure that you're providing your body with enough of the essential nutrient to support muscle growth.

Let's talk about NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis)

NEAT is the energy you expend throughout the day from all of your non-exercise activities. This includes everything from walking to work, typing on your computer, doing the dishes, and even fidgeting! NEAT can account for up to 30% of your total daily energy expenditure, so it's important to make sure you're not inactive throughout the day.

How can I increase my NEAT?

There are a few ways to do this. First, try to break up prolonged periods of sitting with short bouts of activity. For example, stand up and walk around every 30 minutes or so. You can also try incorporating more movement into your everyday tasks. Park further away from your destination, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and do chores around the house with vigor. Finally, fidget! This may seem like a small thing, but it can add up to a lot of extra calories burned throughout the day.

How important is sleep to my progess in the gym?

Lack of sleep has been shown to decrease basal metabolic rate, which can hinder your progress in the gym. This is because when you're tired, your body isn't able to burn as many calories as it normally would. So make sure you're getting enough quality sleep each night! Seven to eight hours per night is generally recommended. Sleep deprivation directly increases stress hormone (cortisol levels) and decreases testosterone by up to 15%. This leads to reduced muscle mass, increased body fat storage and metabolic slowdown.

Not getting enough sleep is just about the worst thing you can do for your health and progress in the gym. It directly affects cardiac health, cognitive function, immune system health, and as a byproduct of elevated cortisol and decreased tesotosterone which would inhibit recovery, it also of course affects muscle mass. Aim for at least seven hours per night to see optimal results.

In conclusion,  there are many different factors to consider when it comes to calculating your caloric needs. However, by using the guidelines in this article you can get a good estimate of how many calories you should be eating each day. Remember, there is no one right answer – everyone is different and will require a different amount of calories depending on their goals and lifestyle. So experiment and find what works best for you!

If you need further help or simply want to remove the guesswork and use a shortcut to success, book a call or email me to see how 3G Fit can change your life and help every step along the way of your fitness journey.

Cornell Urquhart


Get in touch and start your Fitness journey with me!

Join Today!