Increase calories

Conventional wisdom says that getting fit is losing fat. Losing fat requires more exercise, and fewer calories. What you’ve just learned in the previous posts though, is that fitness is more complex than just your weight on the scales. There are many other measures of fitness and achieving progress in some avenues may require not eating less, but instead eating more.

To explain a situation where eating more calories could be beneficial, let’s look at a business analogy. When you purchase stock in a company, you’re taking a bigger risk than putting money in a bank and getting whatever interest they might pay. In summary, you’re a speculator. You’re expecting that the company will be a worthwhile investment in one of two ways. They will either pay you a dividend, which is a share of the company’s profits, or the company will reinvest any profit they accrue back into the company making it worth more in the future, than at the time you purchased stock.

Amazon is a good example of a company that has gone all in on the second strategy. They’ve increased the reach they initially had as an online book store into a marketplace for all kinds of home goods; they are the world’s largest cloud computing provider; they make ebook readers, and have an online streaming platform for TV shows and movies. And yet, they never pay a dividend to shareholders. Whether they do or not isn’t the important point. They could if they wanted to, and the profits now are immense compared to what it was when they survived through the early 2000s dotcom bubble.

Consider someone starting to get fit. How many calories are burned off running 20 miles versus running one? How many calories are burned off lifting 100kg ten times versus lifting 20kg once? Calories are energy for exercise. Calories are the fuel for recovery from activity. If profit is like losing fat, you don’t have to lose any fat to become fitter. You could retain the amount of fat you have, or even increase it, and still become fitter. Once you have built up your body’s engine, you will find it much easier to shift a few pounds of fat because your exercises will be that much more demanding.

This is not to say that you cannot lose fat and build muscle at the same time — you absolutely can. The choice is yours though. The key takeaway is that a fit person is less susceptible to easily piling on the pounds; a fit person has more control over their body fat, and can produce workouts that burn through fat effectively. And finally, the best route to becoming fit for some people might mean they need to increase their calories, rather than reduce them.