In order to maintain our bodies while running we require energy, which is given to our bodies in the form of nutrition. This energy is measured in calories (kcal). The body’s energy requirements comprise several factors: firstly, the energy required to maintain the bodily functions (basal metabolism) while the remaining energy is needed for our work and free time (physical activity level). The personal energy requirement can be easily calculated with a calorie counter. The results can be used as a benchmark for your guideline daily amount.  

Macronutrients and calorific value

Every foodstuff consists of three macronutrients which supply different amounts of energy.
Macronutrient Kcal per 1 gram
Carbohydrate 4.1 kcal
Protein 4.1 kcal
Fat 9.3 kcal
 

Counting calories

Counting calories is a simple, mathematical table. The used up calories are placed next to the daily input of calories.
  • calorie surplus The body is supplied more energy than it needs. This extra energy will be saved in the body, for example in the form of muscle or fat.
  • Calorie deficit The body is supplied less energy than it needs. In order to compensate for the increased demand, the body uses up its energy reserves, for example from muscle tissue or fatty deposits.
 
Therefore we can establish the principle: We need to maintain a calorie surplus to build muscle while we reuire a calorie deficit to burn fat.
 

Optimal macronutrient intake for athletes

Several studies have been conducted along this topic. The study by Eric Helms, Alan Aragon and Peter Fitschen is current (May 2014) and the parameters have been chosen well. The following values have been optimally defined there (based on 1kg body weight):
Fat burning Muscle building
Protein 2.5 – 3.0 g 1.6 – 2.0 g
Fat 0.6 – 0.8 g 0.8 – 1 g
Carbohydrate Remaining calories1 Remaining calories1
  1Aggregate calories from protein and fat subtracted from the daily requirement. Then divided by condensing the carbohydrates (see table above).   Bodybilding Contest Preparation