What you intake, is 70% of fitness and most importantly how you obtain results. To be in control of these results, you must be cognizant of what your accurate intake is. If you are “playing it by eye” it can lead to a plateau or end you somewhere you do not want to be. As opposed to, recording for so long and learning how your body reacts to certain diet and exercise regiments, you open the possibility of manipulating your weight to the difference of even ten pounds up or down within a week, or even less if you’re that good. Being said calorie counting is a great method to try. Though, there are a few directions you can take based on your physical goals.
Calorie deficit is when you intake less than your body burns. Once the body runs out of deposits, it starts pulling from the body fat therefore, burning it much faster. This method is great for weight loss. It is also good for a toned physique. If you want to build muscle in a deficit your protein intake must be high, paired with a heavy lifting regime.
Calorie surplus is when you intake more than your body burns. This one is a bit trickier. You can use this to do what lifters often call “bulking” where you intake large amounts of carbs and proteins to give the muscles more to pull from. This leads to getting stronger a lot quicker. In the same way, you also gain more fat and, tone lines tend to fade away, which is why hitting a calorie deficit after, helps you “retone” while keeping majority of the acquired strength. Although, if you’re not exercising as much as necessary it will mostly transition to fat. Try incrementing in bits of cardio or adjusting calories to avoid.
I know this is alot of information to intake (see what I did there), but feel free to ask a local fitness professional to break down where your calorie count should be and what method is best for you.