How to find out how many calories you need

So, you’ve read all about calories and how you should burn more than you spend if you want to lose weight? But you are wondering how are you supposed to know how much calories do you actually need? No worries, we’ve got your back! Here we’ll discuss how to find out how much calories should you consume based on different factors. Let’s delve into this topic.

A simple method

Start by finding out what your body weight is in kilograms. If you are using the pound metric system, divide the weight in pounds by 2.2 and you’ll get how much you weight in kilograms.
Then proceed to multiplying the weight. If you are a woman, use a factor of 0.9. If you are a man, use a factor of 1.0. Multiply the number you’ve got by 24. Then multiply this number by the “Lean factor” using the multiplier we’ll give below.

  • Female
    Body fat percentage 14-18 – multiplier 1.0
    Body fat percentage 19-28 – multiplier 0.95
    Body fat percentage 29-38 – multiplier 0.90
    Body fat percentage over 39 – multiplier 0.85.
  • Male
    Body fat percentage 10-14 – multiplier 1.0
    Body fat percentage 15-20 – multiplier 0.95
    Body fat percentage 21-28 – multiplier 0.90
    Body fat percentage over 28 – multiplier 0.85

The number you’ll get is what is called BMR, or Basal Metabolic Rate. It shows you the amount of calories you’ll burn a day just by the mere functioning of your body. Now, to find out the amount of calories you actually burn per day, multiply this number by the “Activity
Modifier” using the multiplier we’ll give below.

  • 1.3 – this is a very light activity level, mostly sitting, studying, just a little walking
  • 1.55 – a light activity level where you mostly walk or stand during the day.
  • 1.65 – moderate activity level where physical activity is required to do your job.
  • 1.80 – a heavy activity level where you do a heavy manual labor
  • 2.00 – a very heavy activity level where you do moderate to hard physical activity for at least 8 hours per day.

Don’t do the mistake of overestimating your level of activity. The higher factors are for those of you who do physical activity almost constantly during the day – like athletes, construction workers, etc.

If you are pretty active and somehow fit, go with the “Very light” or “Light” multiplier. If are just in the beginning of a new fitness program, go for the “Very light” multiplier.

Now you know what is the amount of calories you’ll burn per fay. Then decide whether you want to gain or to lose weight. For weight loss it’s recommended to consume about 400-500 calories less than the amount you burn which should allow you to achieve a healthy weight loss of around 1 Ibs. a week.

For muscle gains start by consuming 500 more calores a day than the amount you burn. If you think that you are also gaining more fat than you’d like to, slightly decrease the calorie consumption.

A weight loss calculator

If your goal is to lose weight, then you can use a weight loss calculator. This is a simple tool. There you input the necessary data and the device uses the Mifflin St. Jeor equation to calculate the RMR (Resting metabolic rate), aka the amount of calories the body needs to function at rest. Then, using the personalized lifestyle information, the calculator adds the calories you need for doing daily activities. Then it subtracts calories if it’s for a weight loss

The information you’ll need to input is age, gender, height and current weight. The calculator needs those numbers to provide accurate measurements for those factors influence the metabolic rate. Usually women need less calories then man. Smaller bodies need less calories than larger ones and younger adults need more calories than older ones.

The calculator will also ask you for your activity level. If you are more active throughout the day, the body will require more calories for energy. Be honest here because wrong numbers will lead to inaccurate results.

Afterwards the calculator may ask you what your goal is. Be realistic while answering the question. Set an attainable goal. When you reach it, you are always able to set yourself a new goal.
Then the calculator may need data about when you want to achieve the desired weight.
After you’ve provided all the necessary data, the calculator will output a number which is a daily calorie goal. That represents what number of calories should you consume per day in order to reach the desired weight in the specified time frame. If you want to gain weight, the daily calorie goal will contain a calorie surplus. For weight loss, into the final number is factored a calorie deficit.

Calorie deficit is simply a shortfall of energy. When you create such, your body is deprived of the fuel (aka energy) it requires in order to function. Thus, your body will start burning the stored fat (which is the excess weight) for fuel instead on relying on the calories you are consuming. Calorie deficit is when you eat less calories than your body needs or when you burn more calories through physical activity.

Remember that it’s neither safe, nor practical to cut too huge a number of calories. This may lead to bad results and even to health problems. It’s better to stick to a calorie deficit of maximum 500 calories less a day.

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