Myths Regarding Caloric Input and Output

Myths Regarding Caloric Input and Output

It’s Not Just About Calories “IN” vs Calories “OUT”

Are you stuck in your training program? Are the traditional ways of lowering caloric intake and increasing activity level just not working?

This may be due to the fact that the measurement tools used to count calories consumed and burned can have very high margins of error.

This blog will “bust” some of the myths surrounding caloric input and output.

There are so many new devices and apps out there that it’s easy to get caught up in the calorie counting hype!

I find it very common place for individuals to use the usual tracking devices that are worn on the wrist to track calories burned during exercise.

Similarly, the use MyFitnessPal or other calorie tracking apps are used to measure the amount of calories consumed.

This is all great from an accountability standpoint, so don’t get me wrong, “tracking” is a VERY positive thing!

However, unfortunately these method are not always great tools for knowing EXACTLY how many calories you’re taking in vs how many you’re burning during exercise.

3 reasons why daily activity tracking counts can be inaccurate:

  • Fitness Trackers have a 9-23% margin of error depending on the brand
  • Calories are burned differently with each individual -There is a 20% variation on calories burned due to our genetic makeup, the environment we live in, the type of foods we eat, and the amount of sleep we get.

  • Genetic makeup can cause 160 less calories burned in some individuals

  • Living in a cold environment can burn up to 400 more calories a day

  • Eating foods with capsaicin can burn up to 120 more calories for some

  • Sleep deprivation can lower caloric burn by 5-20%

Macronutrients Choice

  • Foods high in protein burn 20-30% more calories during the breakdown process and digestion
  • Carbohydrates will burn additional 5-10% during digestion
  • Fats are at only 0-3% as they do not require many calories to digest

NEAT effects

Another huge factor in calories burned is measured by non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT.
NEAT is the calories you burn through fidgeting, staying upright, and all other physical activities except purposeful exercise. This, too, varies from person to person and day to day.

The changes in NEAT output directly predicts the amount of fat an individual will gain:

More NEAT, less fat gained.

Less NEAT, more fat gained.

Some people find it easy to gain weight, and hard to lose it. Their energy expenditure (especially NEAT) doesn’t go up much when they over-eat. They are also likely to be people that do a lot of sitting at a desk throughout the day and are more sedentary.

Other people find it hard to gain weight, and easy to lose it. Their bodies adapt to over-eating by firing up the metabolic furnace (cranking up their NEAT output). This is your classic “hardgainer” who struggles to gain mass. They are also likely to be natural fidgeters.

Overall, researchers calculate that changes in NEAT account for 85-90% of adaptive thermogenesis or (AT). When AT occurs, the brain, will slow down how much energy your body can burn, and which fuel sources to use to protect when it senses as starvation. *This process typically occurs during a long term calorie deficit

This is where it is helpful to have a bikini competition coach that is constantly working with you on adjusting your training output as well as your caloric intake.


In conclusion, the calorie certainly has it’s uses. However, it’s important to consider other various factors when taking a look at progress towards a goal. As a bikini coach or bikini competitor it is important to know how to apply calorie counts properly in regards to your bikini training program goals.

This blog may or may not have changed your understanding of the way that nutrition and exercise work together. However, I find that as a bikini prep coach it is crucial to communicate these margins of error with my clients. I feel that it’s important to educate bikini competitors about these factors and to account for these margins of error when writing their programming.

For more information on how to find the right bikini competition training program contact:

Or visit the website: to get a program that fits your body type and competition goals

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