How many calories does it take to build muscle or lose fat?

How many calories does it take? Here’s a simple way to figure it out!

At the risk of being redundant – yah yah I know – Here’s another rant about calories…[Read my last one]

First, you need to understand what a calorie is. It’s an arbitrary number assigned to food by the “powers that be” in order to make it easier for the average person to eat enough (or not too much). It is literally just a measure of temperature, or heat, given off by burning a certain amount of sugar. woop-dee-doo.

It doesn’t matter how many calories you eat. If you don’t fulfill your body’s requirement for nutrients, you will always be hungry.

Calories. Dont. Matter.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to build some muscle. You go to the gym, you work out hard. Now how much do you have to eat? lets make up a number. How bout 3000 calories? That sounds good…

Everyone says you need caloric excess to build muscle. That’s the “common knowledge” of bro-science. If it takes a caloric excess to build muscle, you could eat 3000 calories of brownies. What’s going to happen if you eat 3000 calories of brownies?

Brownies don’t = muscle, that’s certain. You might actually lose lean mass. (Actually, I’m certain you would). Because you will be malnourished.

What does it take to “lose weight”? Well you could eat a hypocaloric amount of brownies, lets say 1000 calories below your RDA, and you’ll likely lose weight. BUT IT WON’T BE FAT YOU’RE LOSING, it will be mostly lean mass, making up for your malnourishment. Now you’re skinny fat. Congrats.

So all it takes to “lose weight” is to be malnourished. That’s pretty clear.

So how do you build muscles and lose fat?

To build muscles you don’t need calories. To build muscles you need protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. You need to get enough to satisfy your body’s need for basic function and tissue repair and avoid a catabolic state. It’s the nutrients that matter, not the calories. If you are lifting heavy things, you will be more hungry, because there is more tissue in need of repair. Your body is a reactionary mechanism that adapts to change. If you are not lifting, you will not need so many nutrients, and you won’t be as hungry. Simple.

So, how do you measure what your body needs for nutrients if we ignore calories?

You have to listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs. (because individual nutrient needs are difficult to measure, plus counting all those nutrients is downright tedious!)

In order to hear your body correctly, you need to make sure your hormones and inflammation are in check, so that your hunger and satiety signals will function properly to deliver the right signals. When you are hungry, eat. When you are not hungry, don’t friggin eat!

Eating Paleo keeps inflammation in check, and keeps positive hormones flowing. It also ensures you are getting the nutrients you need, while avoiding food toxins that throw your signals off track.

If you are overweight, Paleo will correct your body’s regulatory mechanisms and bring bodyweight to an appropriate level. If you are creating the need to build more muscle tissue by working out, you will need more nutrients and will be more hungry. Simple. So what do we eat?

Eat Paleo. Lose fat. Build muscle. It’s that easy. Your body is able to regulate itself, you just have to listen.


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