What's the Balance of Energy?
After the holiday season, many people start new goals. One of the most common goals is to lose weight. The same happens with athletes. In their case, their proximity to the playing season often affects their balance of energy at any given time.
Many people don’t even know about this essential factor that can make all the difference with regards to weight control: the balance of energy. In today’s article, you’re going to learn everything you need to know about this concept. You’ll learn how to achieve this balance and you’ll see why it’s so important when going for your weight loss goals.
What is the balance of energy?
Your body, like any other type of motor mechanism, needs energy (that is, combustible) in source in order to function. Human beings get this through the foods they eat. That being the case, you can define the balance of energy as the balance you can gain by ingesting the same amount of energy as that which you waste.
What types of balance are there?
You’ll find that there are three different types of energy balance. These are going to reflect on your weight loss or your weight gain:
- The first one is a neutral balance of energy. When you’re in this category, you’re maintaining a stable weight level because you have a balance between what you eat and what you use.
- Alternatively, you might have a negative balance of energy. In this state, you’re going to lose weight. That’s because you’re going to be taking in less energy than you consume.
- Finally, there’s a positive balance of energy. If this is your situation, you’re going to have an excess of energy because you’ll be eating more than you use.
How can you reach an ideal balance of energy?
In order to get to the right balance of energy for you, you need to keep your specific individual needs in mind. This goes for both athletes and non-athletes. At the same time, you have to pay close attention to your lifestyle. That includes the types of sports and exercise activities you’re involved in.
If you want to optimize your performance and achieve a good balance of energy that’s going to meet your needs, you have to pay attention to different factors that might alter your caloric intake. These are going to be subjective factors. As such, you need to take them individually and analyze them separately, as we said before.
You should also be aware that there’s no “standard” balance of energy. Instead, everyone has to adapt their habits to their specific individual needs.
The importance of an adequate nutritional program
In order to ensure that the food you take in is adequate for getting the balance of energy you want, you’re going to have to focus on your diet. You’re also going to have to adapt your nutritional program to your physical characteristics and life habits.
If what you’re looking to do is to improve your performance or quality of life, having the right balance of energy is as important as good training and an appropriate amount of rest.
The benefits of a good balance of energy
When an athlete achieves a good balance of energy, they’ll probably report enjoying some very important health benefits including:
- Keeping the immune system in a good state
- Facilitating the maintenance of lean mass
- Better performance during athletic activities
- Helping with the functions of the reproductive system
Macronutrients and the balance of energy
You can define macronutrients as those nutrients that provide a large chunk of the metabolic energy the body needs. In the world of sports, the most important macronutrients are carbohydrates and proteins.
Carbohydrates aim to help with the recovery and maintenance of fuel deposits in the body. On the other hand, the purpose of proteins is to repair muscle tissue that has been damaged by stressful stimuli faster and more effectively.
Both factors, along with the intensity and the time you spend on an athletic activity, are going to determine the energy demands of your body. That’s why we’re not going to generalize here.
We’ll be analyzing both factors separately below.
Carbohydrates, performance, and the balance of energy
As we mentioned previously, the intensity with which you can exercise is closely related to your carbohydrate consumption. That’s because these nutrients are in charge of maintaining your energy deposits.
In order to be able to obtain a good balance of energy, an athlete should take in about 60 percent of their diet as carbohydrates. Nevertheless, any athlete should always consult with a nutritional professional before making changes to their diet.
Likewise, if you want the best results, it’s going to be important to pay attention to when you take in these carbohydrates. In other words, you have to decide whether you’re going to consume them before, during, or after training.
Protein needs for exercise
We can say with certainty that athletes need a lot of protein in order to achieve a good balance of energy. Nevertheless, these requirements aren’t the same for say, athletes who train for strength as those who train for endurance.
With proteins, it’s important to pay special attention to their quality. There’s a wide range of products on the market today. Many of them don’t have the quality that experts recommend and may even be harmful to your health.
Likewise, you should include whey, soy, and egg protein in your nutritional program if you want a suitable balance of energy.
Fats and the balance
As you’ve seen in this article, achieving an adequate balance isn’t as easy a task as you might at first think. Nevertheless, if you pay attention to your specific needs and characteristics, you’ll be able to achieve optimal results without throwing in the towel at the first signs of change.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Joint Position Statement: Nutrition and athletic performance. American College of Sports Medicine, American Dietetic Association, and Dietitians of Canada. Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise 2000, 32:2130–2145.
- Meredith CN, Zackin MJ, Frontera WR, Evans WJ: Dietary protein requirements and body protein metabolism in endurance- trained men. Journal of Applied Physiology 1989, 66:2850–2856.