”You cannot out-exercise a bad diet”. A golden rule in life and in fitness.
Eating the right amount of calories for your body is extremely important. Eating too much or too little can affect your fat loss results.
So, how do you calculate your ideal calorie intake?
How to know what is right for you and your body?
Below, I will show you formulas that work for calculating your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) & Total Energy Expenditure (TEE)
These are fancy terms for how many calories you need to just stay alive and how many if you’re remotely or moderately active/working out :) )
You can calculate both BMR & TEE to get your daily ideal calorie intake using the calculator below.
If you want to know more details read below my breakdown of formulas and more details about what BMR & TEE mean for you.
Note: Please remember that these formulas may not be exactly right for everyone but they are a pretty good indication.
Also, the formulas are for women only. There are different formulas for men.
Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories required to keep your body functioning at rest.
Meaning if you lie in bed all day and do nothing, this is the number of calories your body will spend just to keep everything running properly.
BMR is also known as your body’s metabolism; meaning that any increase to your metabolic weight, such as exercise, will increase your BMR.
This formula is the revised Harris-Benedict equation. It can get a bit confusing, so stay with me!
The formula is: 447.593 + (9.247 x body weight (kg)) + (3.098 x height (cm)) – (4.33 x age in years)
My weight is around 52kgs, my height is 167cm and my age is 27 years. So here’s my example.
This means that if I were to lie in bed all day and do absolutely nothing, my body would use up 1329 calories per day.
Total energy expenditure is the amount of energy that a person needs to carry out all physical functions (breathing, digesting food, exercising).
Energy is measured in calories, and your total energy expenditure (TEE) is the number of calories you burn each day.
Multiply your BMR by the TEE value below, based on your activity level.
|Little to none||1.2|
|Light (1-3 days)||1.375|
|Moderate (3-5 days)||1.55|
|Heavy (6-7 days)||1.725|
|Very heavy (twice daily)||1.9|
I exercise 6 times per week for about an hour, but usually 2 of these sessions are low intensity cardio such as power walking.
I would considerate myself in the moderate range so I will multiply my BMR (1329) by 1.55.
Total Energy Expenditure = 1329 x 1.55 = 2060 calories.
This means that if I were to exercise 5 times per week, my body would burn 2060 calories per day.
Usually, for fat loss, you should be in a daily calorie deficit of around 200-500 calories.
A more severe calorie restriction will result in a more severe fat loss.
However, any form of dieting and calorie restriction will reduce your metabolic rate, so just keep that in mind (also remember that resistance training increases your metabolic rate).
I like to be at a 300 calorie deficit because I don’t get as hungry.
Therefore, my ideal calorie intake should be 2060 – 300 = 1760 calories.
But if I were to be at the 500 calorie deficit, my ideal calorie intake would be 2060 – 500 = 1560 calories.
If you are trying to maintain your weight, you would just stick to your total energy expenditure, which would be 2060 calories for me (which we worked out in step 2).
If you are trying to gain weight, you would want to eat more than 2060 calories.
I would also advise gaining weight in a slow and steady manner- so up your calories for 500 a day for gaining weight slowly.
I hope this makes sense and has answered your questions on how to calculate your daily calorie intake! xx