Balancing Your Calories In and Out | Bakcountry Athlete Journal

Energy Balancing

Sometimes it can be difficult to calculate how many calories we actually burn or consume in a given day. You probably only hear negative things associated with high amounts of calories, but too many people overlook the fact that they could also suffer health issues from consuming too little amounts of calories. I’m not saying go stuff yourself with 5,000 calories right now if you don’t want to get a disease, but there is definitely a balance that we are going to help YOU find for your individual body so you can perform your best.

As stated from, “The energy balance equation is the relationship between energy consumed – measured in calories and the energy expanded – also measured in calories.” Maintaining a healthy weight requires that we replenish our bodies with the same amount of energy we take out of it, not excessively more or less. Too much calories in and not enough burned results in fat being stored, while too much burned and not enough energy being put back in can result in weight loss.


(Representation above provided by )

Still with me? Good because this is important for your health and well-being while not only outdoors, but during everyday life. Your energy in and out does not have to add up exactly the same each and every day. In fact it’s impossible. However, the energy equation must balance over time for people to maintain an optimal weight for their size and athletic levels.

Understanding diet and how different types of food will effect you is key to achieving weight goal success. Here are the five nutrients that are key to you staying healthy.


Macronutrients means large, meaning they need to be eaten in larger quantities than micronutrients. Simple enough right.

Proteins – Known as the body’s building blocks, proteins are used for tissue growth. Examples of such include animal products like chicken, steak, fish and dairy; plants such as lentils, beans, and nuts; also frequently used by athletes and body builders are protein supplements in the form of powders used in meal shakes.

Carbohydrates – Carbs are where our body gets our energy from. Athletes need a large amount of carbs to maintain the high energy levels they exert. You may have heard how athletes “carbo-load” the night before a big race to make sure their body has enough carbs to source energy from the next day. There are two types of carbs: simple carbs include sugar ( honey is my favorite ), glucose, fructose, or people also use energy gels; complex carbs are things like pasta, bread, rice and potatoes.

Fats – Fats are a source of energy that are stored under the skin and essential for our bodies health. Too much fat can increase weight and hinder an athletes performance, too little can be unhealthy and cause injury and malnutrition. Avocados, nuts, olive oil, oily fish and many snack foods will be sources for this nutrient.


Vitamins & Minerals – Essential for bone growth, metabolic rate, immune system, nervous system, red blood cells, and vision, you need vitamins and minerals for a well rounded diet, but not too many. Calcium found in milk and broccoli, iron from brown rice and meat, zinc from shellfish and cheese or also in tablet form, and potassium from fruit and white meat are all needed sources of minerals.

Vitamins such as ‘A’ are found in dairy, oily fish, and fruits, ‘B’ in vegetables and wholegrain cereals, ‘C’ in citrus fruits, broccoli and sprouts, and ‘D’ in oily fish and eggs.

Water / Hydration:

You’re an athlete. When you exercise you sweat. Similar to the balance of replenishing lost calories you need to re-hydate yourself. Dehydration is a serious issue in the backcountry and not to be taken lightly. It is recommended that women should drink at least 1.6 liters ( around 8 glasses ) and mens should drink around 2 liters ( around 10 glasses ) a day depending on the amount of activity they did and how rigorous. More rigorous, more water. Fruit juices and other drinks can be used in moderation but the amount of sugar in most of them makes them an unhealthy alternative to water. Stick to good old fashion H2O for your main source of liquid.


Fiber is a very important part of our dietary needs and can only be found through plant-based foods that we eat. There are two types:

Soluble: Soluble fiber are things like oatmeal, root vegetables and fruit that help reduce cholesterol.

Insoluble: Things like wholemeal cereal, wholemeal bread, and nuts are insoluble fibers that keep the bowels happy and healthy.

Diet + Physical Activity Levels:

On average, men need around 2,500 calories a day and woman need around 2,000 a day. When athletes are training they increase that amount up closer to 5,000 calories in a given day. You do not want to rob your body of the nutrients and calories it needs to be healthy and perform at it’s highest level.

Here is the basic formula to calculate how much energy the body needs:

Basal Metabolic Rate ( BMR ) + Physical Activity Level ( PAL ) = total energy requirement

BMR is the basic amount of energy the body needs to keep itself working properly.

PAL is the amount of energy needed for a physical activity such as a hike or bike ride.

A bigger athlete like a rugby player will have a higher BMR while an athlete like a trail runner or cross-country skier will have a higher PAL.

Since I do not have the technology to create my own calculator at this time, I still want you guys to be able to do this on your own so I am providing this link ( BMR Calculator ) from for you to use.

I am also going to give a link to’s Calorie Calculator. I get no payment or royalty for sending you guys to their site but their calculators are great and their content is pretty good as well. Stay tuned for Bakcountry’s own calculators and supplements in the future.

I hope these resources and tips will help you to achieve your fitness and nutrition goals or at least take you one step closer to fulfilling them. Keeping a well rounded diet and maintaining adequate exercise levels is so important if you want to be able to perform in the outdoors and live a healthy life.

“Big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details.” – John Wooden.

If you stay consistent with your diet plan and training you will get there, believe me. If you found this post useful feel free to like or drop a comment below, we love hearing what your guys think. Likewise, if there is a fitness or nutrition topic you would like us to discuss feel free to say so below!

Train hard, eat right, be #BakcountryStrong




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