Diet and Exercise Part II: Safe Gains
Energy balance - the amount of food that you take in compared to the number of calories you burn - is perhaps the most vital component of living a fit, active, healthy lifestyle. Consume too many calories without enough activity, and you gain weight in the form of increased body fat. If you don't consume enough calories, you will not have the energy to support the physiological adaptations to exercise, or more simply put, muscle growth.
Last week I talked about safely cutting calories through simple, sensible food choices while increasing one's activity level by a moderate amount to eliminate 500 calories a day and lose one pound per week. For basic weight loss, this is the best approach to help retrain the body's metabolism and ensure that one eats enough to sustain a certain level of activity. But what if weight gain is the goal? If someone wants or needs to build muscle mass, she needs a caloric surplus.