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Do You Need More Calories for Your Workouts?


Apr 15, 2022 #Calories, #workouts

Unless you’re an elite athlete, there’s no need to be hypervigilant about how you fuel your workouts. But even casual exercise burns more calories than your body if you were at rest, which means that you might need to eat more in order to support both your workouts and your recovery.

“In a culture that emphasizes ‘eat less, exercise more,’ a lot of people are scared to eat enough [to support their workouts],” says Zoë Schroder, RDN, a nutrition coach and certified strength and conditioning specialist based in Tucson, Arizona. But ultimately, underfueling will undermine your goals and slow your recovery.

Here’s why getting adequate calories is so important, and how to know when you need more calories to fuel your exercise routine.

Why Does Your Body Burn More Calories During Exercise Than It Does at Rest?

“Our body receives the energy it needs in the form of calories, mainly carbohydrates and fat,” says Todd Buckingham, PhD, an exercise physiologist at the Mary Free Bed Sports Rehabilitation Performance Lab in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Carbohydrates break down into glucose and glycogen, while fat breaks down into fatty acids. “From there, these glucose, glycogen, and fatty acid molecules get broken down even further into a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is what provides energy.” (Protein breaks down into amino acids, which also break down to ATP, but this process is less efficient and isn’t used to fuel exercise.)


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