All you need to know about calories

Calories. We all secretly pay attention to them, right? But did you know that they are not only important to losing weight, but also to maintaining and gaining weight?

Caloric intake levels are different for every person and lifestyle. If you’re inactive, your body does not need as many calories as someone who exercises a lot. Think of Michael Phelps when he was training; he needed more than 12,000 calories because he burned so many in the water. The average adult needs about 2,000 calories a day. Can you imagine what would happen to your body if you had a 12,000 calorie diet?! Let’s hope that never happens.

Photo from Seriouseats.com

Calorie basics

Calories are the amount of energy supplied by a food. Energy can come in many different forms such as protein, carbohydrates, fats and sugars. The goal is to find what your body needs in order to perform to its maximum capacity, whether that’s maintaining your weight, building muscle and gaining weight, or losing weight.

Tips and tricks

  • Low-fat and fat-free doesn’t mean that there are less calories in what you’re eating.
  • Be sure to watch out for extra sugars or sugar substitutes. They have calories too.
  • Low-calorie isn’t always what you need. A healthy diet has a mix of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins and dairy.

Exercise and calories

How much energy are you using when you exercise? It depends on the type, your body weight and composition and the level of intensity at which you are working out. Here are a few examples for someone 150 pounds:

  • Playing basketball for an hour on a half-court burns approx. 405 calories
  • Biking on flat land for an hour burns approx. 441 calories
  • Dancing (depending on the type) burns approx. 370 calories an hour
  • Jogging burns approx. 675 calories an hour
  • Sleeping burns approx. 45 calories an hour (who knew?!)
  • Playing soccer for an hour burns approx. 468 calories
  • Swimming burns approx. 608 calories per hour

Listen to your body and find out what it needs. If you’re starving after a workout, you’re allowed to eat! It’s encouraged. A great post-workout snack is a lean protein that will fill you up and help you build muscle. If you’re going to have a hard day at the gym, make sure you’ve gotten enough fuel and water before you head out. It’ll take a little time to figure out what’s going to work best for you, but be patient and have a little faith!

Exercise etiquette: Don’t be a bro

As an experienced YMCA-goer I’ve witnessed more workout faux pas than I even want to admit within the past week. Now what could be possibly causing this? Welcome back ASU. And welcome freshman. And welcome to the gym. If we all follow the rules and play nice we might just lose some weight and gain a little muscle while we’re at it. And I might not have to call you out on bad behavior. And sorry if I already have…

The Anti-Bro

I may be a girl, but I still use the weight room. And I usually head to the gym after a long day at work and don’t want to deal with any bro-nonsense. So listen to my advice.

  • Whatever team/sport/club you were the king of in high school is now irrelevant. Our gym should be filled with a collection of Sparky, maroon and gold. Nothing screams freshman more than a football practice tee cutoff. It’s not cool.
  • Actually wear gym clothes and proper shoes. I’m all for sporting a “look” and following trends, but when you come to workout in cargo shorts and Sperry’s, you’re going to get hurt. And not just by my judgmental stares. The right shoes and workout gear can make all the difference. You’re more prone to injury in unsupportive footwear as well, especially if you’re weightlifting.
  • Don’t be that group of bros. I believe in circuit training, but when you come with a group of 6 guys and you all are using the same machine, you’re not working out efficiently and you’re making me wait. Divide and conquer.
  • DO NOT EVER BE THE MIRROR-BRO. If you need to obnoxiously stare at your body while you are lifting weights and make ridiculous faces and noises, you will be exiled. It’s gym social suicide.
  • Wipe down the mats, machines and weights. Seriously. Nobody wants to end up with some crazy skin disorder as a result of your neglect.
  • Flexing with your bros is lame. Save that for your roommate. Or the hottie down the hall. I really don’t care as long as I don’t need to witness it.
  • Put weights, dirty towels, water bottles and equipment back in the right spots. Your mom isn’t here to clean up after you anymore, so do it yourself.

Tossing towels? Come on, bro.

  • Be polite to the staff, the other gym-goers and people who walk really slow down the stairs. We’re all here to improve ourselves, so take it one step further and be nicer as well.
  • Remember that you’re sharing a space with real-live people as well and not just ASU students. That includes adults and children. So the crazy story from your first bro-gathering at ASU should not be shared with the entire YMCA population. We don’t want the details!
  • Play nice with others. When it’s open gym or open swim time, think of every cliché phrase you possibly can and follow them. Treat others as you would want to be treated. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. I’ll stop there, but just know that if you don’t, you’ll be as welcome as a skunk at a lawn party.

Follow these 10 simple rules and you, sir, won’t be labeled a bro.