Life is full of balance. Whether we’re trying to juggle our social lives, or squeeze in time for a workout, we’re pretty much the Queens of balancing!
But today, I’m not here to talk about balancing your home life, I’m here to tell you all about energy balance. If you’re wondering, ‘what is positive energy balance?’ you’ve come to the right place.
Below we’re going to cover the following:
Energy balance – What the hell is it?
Positive energy balance
Negative energy balance
Plus, of course, how a negative balance energy affects your weight loss efforts. Let’s go!
What is energy balance?
Right, ladies, it’s time to get stuck in.
There are many articles online waffling on about the differences between positive and negative energy balance, but many fail to tell you how these work and affect your weight loss efforts.
So I’m going to break it down for you, nice and simple.
Your energy balance is the difference between your calorie intake (input) and calorie output (aka, the calories you burn).
Sounds a little confusing, right? It doesn’t have to be. In order to work out whether you have a positive energy balance or a negative energy balance, you just need to do a little calculation…
Energy input = Number of calories in
Energy output = Calories out (how many you burn)
So when it comes to calculating your energy balance, it looks like this:
Energy input – output = Energy balance
But what does that mean in terms of losing weight? Well, if you’ve gained weight, it’s likely you’re in a positive caloric balance (in other words, you’re eating more calories than you’re burning).
A positive caloric balance – How does it impact weight loss?
As we just touched upon, if you’ve gained weight in recent months (and who hasn’t!), it’s likely you’ve been in a positive energy balance. This means you’ve been consuming more calories than your body needs to maintain its weight, resulting in fat storage.
So in order to lose weight, you need to be in a negative energy balance – otherwise known as a calorie deficit!
Incase you’re still confused as to how a positive and negative energy balance go together, we’ve broken down the three key areas of energy balance below:
Perfect energy balance
After completing the calculation above, if you’re met with a zero, it’s likely you’re hitting a perfect energy balance.
While the word ‘perfect’ leads us to believe it’s the best possible outcome, if you’re looking to lose weight, you’ll need to be hitting a different category (negative energy balance).
However, a perfect energy balance is something to rave above, since it helps you to maintain your weight. So if you’re trying to avoid weight gain and you’re happy with your current weight, this is where you want to be!
If you’re on a mission to lose a few pounds, a perfect energy balance is the place to aim for to maintain your new goal weight.
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Positive caloric balance
The likelihood is, if you’ve gained a few unwanted pounds (guilty as charged over lockdown!), you’ve been in a positive energy balance. Think of this category as working in the ‘plus’, consuming more calories than your body needs.
A positive energy balance is key for those looking to gain weight, especially if you’re pregnant, underweight or a bodybuilder looking to bulk up.
Negative energy balance
Now that we’ve covered positive energy balance and striking the perfect balance energy, it’s time to talk about negative energy balance!
For once, the word ‘negative’ isn’t a bad thing here, especially if you’re looking to lose weight. Think of a negative energy balance as a calorie deficit – consuming fewer calories with maximum calorie burn.
Once you’ve worked out your energy balance, it is far easier to understand your calorie intake and where it needs to be in order to achieve your goals.
A closer look at energy balance
When we talk about hitting the right energy balance for your goals, we’re referring to the number of calories you consume – or ‘energy input’.
To put things into perspective, here’s our calories are typically broken up:
- Protein – 4 calories per gram
- Carbs – 4 calories per gram
- Fat – 9 calories per gram
How can you start hitting that negative energy balance?
Keep track of what you’re eating. Whether it’s a written food diary or a food tracking app, keeping track is the easiest way to monitor your intake. The number of calories a woman consumes daily can vary greatly, anywhere between 1600 to 2400 each day.
So in order to start losing weight, you need to be aware of how many calories you’re consuming each day. Before creating a strategy to hit that negative energy balance, first you must review your current energy input (calories in!) and output (calorie burn).
To get the most accurate picture of how many calories you’re eating each day, track your intake for at least 7 days before calculating your positive and negative energy balance.
Energy input explained
Energy output refers to how much energy your body uses – or “calorie burn”. Your body uses calories on its own, performing basic functions such as breathing and circulating blood.
Of course, to increase this expenditure, we incorporate some exercise to maximize calorie burn (energy output).
Your strategy for hitting a negative energy balance
After doing the easy math to work out your energy balance, you’re more than likely on the path now to smashing a negative energy balance.
Well done ladies, keep going! Here’s how to get the most out of your new energy balance.
Reduce daily calorie intake
If you’re new to exercise or want to start off real slow, you can start your journey to a negative energy balance by cutting your calorie intake. Aim to reduce your daily calories intake by 500 to 1000 each day in order to lose weight.
Of course, to maximize your calorie burn and get into a negative energy balance to lose weight, regular exercise is recommended!
When paired with a calorie deficit diet, you’ll be well on your way to shedding the pounds. If you’re new to exercise, keep track of your calorie intake and gradually introduce exercise to ensure you avoid injuring yourself.
While your aim may not be to bulk up with muscle (don’t worry, you won’t get butch here!), adding some strength training to your routine will increase calorie burn.
Also Read: Weight Loss Comparison to Objects
Exercise in the form of cardio is great for burning calories while you exercise, while lifting weights can encourage “after burn” meaning you’ll be burning calories long after your workout has finished!
A positive energy balance – Example
While you may not realise how many calories you’re consuming, when you start to actively track your calorie intake, it’s easy to see how a positive caloric balance is formed!
Here’s an example:
- Sophie has a daily calorie intake of 2000
- She burns around 1750 calories each day
- This means that her energy input (2000) – output (1750) puts her into a positive energy balance of 250 calories
Over 7 days, that positive energy balance (250 calories) adds up!
It’s time to smash your goals, ladies!
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You’ve got this, ladies!