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How To Maintain a Caloric Deficit While Working Out?

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How To Maintain a Caloric Deficit While Working Out?

Losing weight is a challenge. And pretty much all of us faces that challenge at some point in our lives. Not achieving this goal can be frustrating. The way to achieve your desired output is to understand some basic caloric principles first, to know your caloric inputs and outputs, to create a plan, and to execute in a disciplined way. 

There is no magic pill. There is now silver bullet. There is no magic diet. People wait for miracles to lose weight but often they don't understand their calorie intake and calorie burn. We need to understand the basics about how our bodies work with energy. 

In this article, I will explore effective strategies to help you maintain a caloric deficit while working out.

What Is a Caloric Deficit?

A person is said to be calorie deficient if they are burning more calories than they are consuming. This is also referred to as the weight loss equation. The caloric deficit is the difference of calories taken and calories burnt. It is the input calories minus output calories:

Caloric Deficit = Input of Calories minus Output of Calories 

If you are in a caloric deficit, you will lose weight. If you are in a surplus, you will gain weight. It all depends on your goals and what you want to achieve. So, it is important to first decide what you want to achieve, and then quantify that in a caloric numbers. To do this there are plenty of tools available.

One such example for calculating caloric daily intake can be found at Other very important concepts that you should be familiar with are your BMR (basal metabolic rate) and your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure)

Ways To Create a Caloric Deficit

Basically, there are three ways to create a caloric deficit in your body to lose weight:

  1. Eat less calories
  2. Burn more calories through movement and exercise
  3. A combination of the two

Eat Less Calories

One part of the equation is to consume less calories. Depending on your goals this can be more or less challenging. Nutrition is one of the 4 legs of my concept. A professional nutritionist certainly can be of great help to achieve your goals. 

Burn More Calories Through Movement 

The other part of the equation is more movement and/or engaging in more sportive activities. I will look at this in more detail in later section in this article. 

A Combination Of Eating Less And Burning More

The most effective and also fun way is to combine the two: eating less calories and moving more. If you need to put an emphasize on something, put it on your nutrition as nutrition typically makes up 70% of your success during your weight loss journey.

How To Maintain a Caloric Deficit While Working Out?

Start Moving

After you understand what a caloric deficit is, what your goals are and which caloric need corresponds to your goal, you can go ahead and implement the right strategy. First off: start moving. Find a balance between cardiovascular and strength training

Incorporate a combination of cardiovascular exercises and strength training into your routine. Cardiovascular exercises like running, cycling, swimming or even Thai boxing will burn calories, while strength training builds muscle and boosts metabolism. 

Pro tip: Increasing your muscle mass can contribute to a higher caloric burn throughout the day, even at rest.

Decide What To Eat

In line with your goal, understand how your food needs to be composed. This is referred to as the macro split, which is made up of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. In my article the 16 Habits of Health To Keep the Weight off — for Life I write about some of the key, small habits that make it easier to achieve that. 

One of these is to focus on nutrient-dense foods. It is highly effective to prioritize nutrient-dense foods. These are foods that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients while being relatively low in calories. Fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. These foods will keep you satisfied and provide the necessary nutrients for optimal health, even when in a caloric deficit.

Plan Your Meals and Snacks

Planning your meals and snacks in advance can help you stay on track with your caloric deficit. Prepare and portion your meals ahead of time to avoid impulsive choices. Include the right balance of macro-nutrients to promote satiety and keep your energy levels stable throughout the day. 

Having healthy, pre-portioned snacks readily available can prevent you from reaching for high-calorie options when hunger strikes. It is a great way to avoid the junk food trap.

Track Your Intake And Monitor Your Progress

Maintaining a caloric deficit requires careful monitoring of your food and beverage intake. Keep a food journal, use a calorie tracking app, and plan your meals to ensure you stay within your daily caloric limits. By tracking your intake and monitoring your progress, you can identify areas where you can make adjustments to reduce calorie consumption while still meeting your nutritional needs. 

There are great apps out there -- many of them for free -- that you can use to track your food intake. Some of them even offer a feature to scan bar codes so that tracking is easier. I always recommend to track food intake for a period of 4-8 weeks. It is really eye-opening when you learn what you consume and what’s the calories of all the foods. After that period you probably have a very good idea of what you consume daily and can stop tracking everything. 

Maintaining a Caloric Deficit While Working Out

Maintaining a caloric deficit while working out is a delicate balance.

It is achievable with proper planning, discipline, and consistency. Determine your caloric needs, track your intake, focus on nutrient-dense foods, plan your meals and snacks, find a balance between cardiovascular and strength training, and monitor your progress. 

Keep in mind that weight loss is not always linear and can fluctuate due to various factors like water retention. Focus on long-term trends rather than daily fluctuations. It's essential to prioritize your overall health and well-being, so consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized guidance to ensure you meet your weight loss goals safely. 

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