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Question
Posted by: Lyn | 2010/05/13

Energy intake

Hi there, my BMI is at 21.8. I exercise 6 days a week. I want to tone, and have read that my Protein vs Carbs should then be 1:2, but what I would like to know is: My calorie intake is quite less than what I burn, if I want to tone, must it be aproximately the same. What would happen if I still take in less than I burn? Somebody said that it will mean that I cannot build muscle, I will just keep on losing weight.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Lyn

Well, you don't keep losing weight, because if that were true, you'd get smaller and smaller and then eventually disappear! That obviously doesn't happen, and that's because the body is smart enough to know that it's losing weight as a result of being in energy balance, and it gradually, over time, reduces the energy use do match the two. The result is that your metabolic rate drops.

That's why a lot of people who try to diet to lose weight actually fail - they cut down too much andt he body just responds to burning less. End result, they stay the same.

So, in your situation, what you need to aim for is a small increase in your energy intake, because if you're trying to increase muscle mass, then you do need to at very least match the intake to the output. Otherwise, you'll just stay where you are. So I'd look at the number of meals a day, and the size of those meals, and make sure that I'm matching intake to output. Also, on the exercise, it may be good to reduce the cardio component for a short time, switching your focus to toning.

Good luck

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Our users say:
Posted by: fitnessdoc | 2010/05/15

Hi Lyn

Well, you don't keep losing weight, because if that were true, you'd get smaller and smaller and then eventually disappear! That obviously doesn't happen, and that's because the body is smart enough to know that it's losing weight as a result of being in energy balance, and it gradually, over time, reduces the energy use do match the two. The result is that your metabolic rate drops.

That's why a lot of people who try to diet to lose weight actually fail - they cut down too much andt he body just responds to burning less. End result, they stay the same.

So, in your situation, what you need to aim for is a small increase in your energy intake, because if you're trying to increase muscle mass, then you do need to at very least match the intake to the output. Otherwise, you'll just stay where you are. So I'd look at the number of meals a day, and the size of those meals, and make sure that I'm matching intake to output. Also, on the exercise, it may be good to reduce the cardio component for a short time, switching your focus to toning.

Good luck

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