What Is A Calorie?: Calorie and Macro Basics

Calories are essentially how we measure the energy contained in the food you eat. Calories are split up into 3 different macronutrients: Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fat. For each macronutrient, the amount of calories they contain per gram is unique. Per 1 gram, each contains the following number of calories:

1 Gram Carbohydrate: 4 calories

1 Gram Protein: 4 calories

1 Gram Fat: 9 calories

Now before you jump to the conclusion that fat has more calories per gram and thus is bad, we need to slow down. Per gram, fat is just more dense of a macronutrient. You can eat a tablespoon of peanut butter and it would contain 120 calories, whereas you can eat a tablespoon of rolled oats and it only contains 20 calories. This doesn't make it “bad” or “evil.” Fats are essential for brain function, libido, your hormones and a variety of other processes. The point I want to stress is that you can't JUST think in terms of raw numbers, the source of these numbers matters. Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals can make sure you feel more recovered even while on a lower calorie diet. Vegetables and protein also have the benefit of making you feel more full, which can reduce the amount of suffering you have to go through during a cut.

When it comes down to it, you will need to eat fewer calories than you are burning if you are going to lose weight. Finding the right number of calories for you can be tough. Calorie calculators (including the ones that come with our programs) are not 100% accurate. If done well they serve as a good guide, but usually you will need to make small adjustments to find the sweet spot, where you can lose fat without losing muscle, and not feel like a pile of burning garbage in the gym.