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How To Understand Energy Balance

“Match Energy Intake To Needs And Goals .”

Anything we consume, i.e. food & drink is considered ENERGY

Two things to clarify.



These terms will be used interchangeably


Just because we are talking about calories it doesn't mean you will have to count them. It's just easier to explain when we use a measurable unit.

Alright this next part is going to get a bit “sciencey” for a second so bear with us.

Energy In (Food & Drink consumed)


Energy Out (Metabolism: Up to 65%,

Thermodynamic effect of food: Up to 10%,

Non-exercise related activity + Exercise related activity: Remaining % )

(^ these are rough guides)

To simplify what happens to the body:

More energy IN than energy OUT = weight gain

More energy OUT than energy IN = weight loss

Energy is measured in terms of calories.

If you want to change your weight, in either direction, you must find a way to create an imbalance between the calories you take in and the calories you expend.

What's important to know about the energy balance is that it's dynamic.

This is a really important concept to understand (more on this later).

This equation changes depending on a whole host of factors.

Just because you got in shape back in high school eating a certain amount of food doesn’t mean it will still be the case today.

But some fitness guru told me calories don't matter...

This drives us crazy...

When we talk about why people put on weight, everyone agrees on this principle.

Of course, if you eat too much you put on weight.

That doesn't happen eating salad and drinking green tea.

But for some reason it's controversial when we talk about fat loss.

Other resources to help you get started with blogging

Here's what's funny: The people who argue against this basic rule of weight control are among the best at finding ways for people to eat less total food.

The biggest benefit of any weight control diet (either up or down) is that it gives you a systematic way to account for and reduce the number of calories you eat on a daily basis.

OK enough of the science lol,

How can we actually control this so I can achieve the body I want?

Below are some of the most important elements of the energy balance and how we can manipulate them.

Energy In: This side of the equation has to do with the food & drink we consume on a daily basis.

How to optimize:

1. Eat mostly single ingredient foods; the less ingredients, the more we know what is in our food, packaged foods often contain a bunch of high calorie additives

2. Eat slowly; prevents over-eating, aids in digestion

3. If fat loss is the goal avoid drinking calories; this includes fruit juice & soft drinks

Metabolism: This is how much energy the body burns daily to stay alive


How to optimize:

1. Stress; lack of sleep, relationship troubles, over-training, food intolerances, problems at work. The body deals with it the same way, it slows our metabolism down as a defense mechanism.

2. More muscle = faster metabolism​ (* only slightly but it still makes a difference)

Thermodynamic effect of food: Energy lost in the digestive process.


How to optimize:

1. Eat more protein; up to 30% of protein calories are lost in digestion

2. Get enough fiber (roughly 30g women, 40g men),


Don't go overboard! Huge increases can cause digestive issues.

Fiber is also really important in supporting gut health.

Non-exercise related activity: This includes stuff like fidgeting, walking to your car & maintaining your posture


How to optimize:

1. Get up off your chair.

Add more activity to your daily life. Park further from the shops, work while standing up. They don't sound like much, but it all adds up​

Fun Fact: If you were to stand up at work over the course of a year you would burn enough energy to run 21 marathons!!

Exercise related activity: This is the energy used at the gym or during sport.


How to optimize:

1. Use more muscles; think squats, pushes, pulls, lunges & deadlifts

2. Rest less; get more work done in a shorter period of time

3. Mix up your training, the better you get at something the less energy you use.

4. Have a program & keep a training log​​​​​​​

The pitfalls of energy balance & some FAQs


This is easy...

So you're saying just eat less food and just move more and the weight will continue to drop off?

Not so fast. The body is not a machine, it is a highly adaptable organism. The keyword here is adaptable. Although having an understanding of the energy balance is great unfortunately the body doesn't work in a linear fashion.

This is why super low calorie diets only work for a very short period of time. The body adapts and slows down to adjust to this new normal.

The answer:

  • Eat real food

  • Exercise intelligently - promote positive changes in the body

  • Allow for periods of adaption (changes) & periods of maintenance

I am doing all the right stuff, but my weight is not changing

Again, this touches on the fact the body is pretty complicated and doesn't always work in a linear fashion.

The body is comprised of 45-65% water (depending on your level of body fat).

This can fluctuate day-to-day by several pounds.

Using the scales alone as a short-term measurement of progress can mess with people’s heads and it's not always an accurate representation of what's really happening.

You need to trust the process. Although some of it may feel counter intuitive at first if you follow the program, we will have accurate data to adjust the program as your body adapts.

The key points

  • Food quantity & choices are a huge part of achieving your goals

  • Getting adequate protein & fiber are essential

  • Mix your training up

  • The body is a highly adaptable organism

  • Measuring body weight alone is not an accurate short-term assessment of progress

If you haven’t found a personal trainer in Lodi, Ca yet and you’re looking for the best way to shed off body fat- DUBb FITNESS is accepting new clients!

Other ways you can contact us:



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