Calorie Know-How: Get The Equation Right To Get Results!
Calories in and calories out. Maintaining, losing or gaining weight is supposed to be as simple as this balanced equation. In reality, we all know that nutrition can be much more mind-boggling than this. To accomplish your physique goals you must be aware of your caloric goals.
How Many Calories Do I Need Each Day?
Energy requirements are based on multiple factors including training frequency, type, intensity, body composition, size, and goals. The formulas and recommendations are not set in stone. It is important to use a multitude of tools to determine if you're achieving proper energy balance such as appetite, weight, mood, body fat percentage, and overall health.
The human body uses about 60% of calories just to keep up with natural processes at rest. The amount of calories you burn at rest is termed your basal metabolic rate (BMR). The more lean muscle mass you have the higher your BMR. By building a leaner more muscular physique you increase your calorie burning abilities around the clock!
The remainder of the energy pie is divided between activity and digestion. 30% of energy (calories) is used for physical activity while 10% is used in the process of digestion. This is why you can burn more calories by eating smaller meals more often.
To determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR), aka how many calories your body burns at rest, use the following formula:
Formula For BMR:
W = weight in kilograms (weight (lbs)/2.2) =weight in kg
H = height in centimeters (inches x 2.54) =height in cm
A = age in years
Men: BMR=66.47+ (13.75 x W) + (5.0 x H) - (6.75 x A)
Women: BMR=665.09 + (9.56 x W) + (1.84 x H) - (4.67 x A)
Looking For Quick And Easy?
Use the Rule of Ten (or Eleven):
BMR= 10 calories/pound of bodyweight for women
BMR= 11 calories/pound of bodyweight for men
Example: If you weigh 200 lbs your BMR is 2,200 calories.
Note: The above equations do not account for individual body composition.
But this one does:
This equation is based on your body composition. You need 13.8 calories to support 1 pound of lean muscle mass.
BMR= Lean body mass (lbs) x 13.8 calories
You can obtain your lean body mass from body fat measurements.
Calculate lean muscle mass vs. fat mass:
Body fat % x scale weight= fat mass
Scale weight - fat mass= lean body mass
Once you calculate your BMR factor in activity to account for calories burned during exercise.
BMR x 1.2 for low intensity activities and leisure activities (primarily sedentary)
BMR x 1.375 for light exercise (leisurely walking for 30-50 minutes 3-4 days/week, golfing, house chores)
BMR x 1.55 for moderate exercise 3-5 days per week (60-70% MHR for 30-60 minutes/session)
BMR x 1.725 for active individuals (exercising 6-7 days/week at moderate to high intensity (70-85% MHR) for 45-60 minutes/session)
BMR x 1.9 for the extremely active individuals (engaged in heavy/intense exercise like heavy manual labor, heavy lifting, endurance athletes, and competitive team sports athletes 6-7 days/week for 90 + minutes/session)
Energy Requirements For Athletes
Athletes require the proper nutrition to fuel performance. This varies depending on the sport and the individual.
Remember to convert weight in pounds (lb) to kilograms (kg) by dividing your weight in pounds by 2.2 to equal weight in kilograms.
Sedentary men and non-pregnant women: Approximately 31 calories/kg
Male and non-pregnant female recreational athletes: Approximately 33-38 calories/kg
Endurance athletes: 35-50 calories/kg depending on training
Strength-trained athlete: 30-60 calories/kg depending on training
How Many Calories To Build Muscle Mass And Gain Weight?
Athletes should increase their total caloric intake by 250-500 calories per day to gain weight. Some experts even recommend a 1,000 caloric increase per day. Remember to consider activity level when calculating caloric intake. Athletes should aim to consume the proper ratios of nutrients.
Studies have indicated that the timing of protein intake may be more beneficial for building lean muscle mass rather than quantity since the body can only absorb about 30 grams of protein at a time. Athletes should consume protein and carbohydrates within the first 30-60 minutes post training since the body is in an ideal state to repair and build.
Sufficient nutrient intake from clean food sources at multiple times throughout the day will provide the body with the fuel it needs to build lean hard muscle.
How Many Calories To Lose Weight?
Athletes should decrease their total caloric intake by 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound in 1 week. The caloric deficit can be created from additional exercise, diet, or a combination of both. Remember to consider activity level when calculating caloric intake. Athletes should aim to consume the proper ratios of nutrients.
Just cutting calories alone may reduce the number on the scale, but losing body fat while maintaining hard earned lean muscle mass is a science. When trying to lose body fat and obtain a lean healthy body it's important to maintain training intensity. Caloric intake should not drop so low that training severely suffers, metabolism slows, or the body becomes catabolic.
Losing weight and reducing body fat is a gradual process- for lasting results aim to lose no more than 1-2 pounds per week through training and diet.
The provided formulas can help you create the balance you need for a well toned and balanced physique. When it comes to nutrition don't be afraid of the math and science component; after all your ideal physique is a science project in the works!
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Thank you Jasonleal for catching that error. I was wondering why the huge difference, until I saw your comment and did my own math :)
Ok. I'm trying to find a balance for my calories in/out. I use the myfitnesspal app and I love it. To lose 1lb. per week. It has me consuming 1370 cal/day. Now when I work out and burn between 600-800 calories. Do I need to still eat 1370 calories or consume some of the calories I burned as well. I've been trying to stay to my 1370 regardless of how many calories I burn at the gym. Could you help?
if you burned 600-800 and consumed 1370 calories you would be in a huge defect. the 1370 number has probably been calculated so that you'd loose 1lb per week with no excersize.
myfitnesspal says you should eat your exercise calories back. without that your calories are way too low.
I've been using MyFitnessPal for about a month and was wondering the same thing. I got my answer. Thanks!
Awesome but the only thing here is that meal frequency alone does not make you burn more calories. If you eat 3000 cal in 1 or 6 meals and all else being the same, it takes the same amount of energy to digest it.
The easiest way to count is Using my fitnesspal.com you add the food , the amount and it will calculate everything for you. that's the only way i have been able to keep track and not go crazy counting. for example if you had a banana for breakfest and a cup of almond milk it will give you the cal for the banana and the cal for the almond milk some items are even listed by brand so you could just add the brand and it would give you exact cal. hope this helps!
Anyone have any advice as far as calorie intake...I am breastfeeding almost exclusively a 7 month old. I just ran a marathon last weekend so I'm running a lot and lifting 3-5 times a week as well. I'm having a hard time finding the appropriate amount of calories. I'm either not hungry at all or I'm starving...! Any advice is helpful!
I'm still confused. I'm not sure if I should or how many calories above my BMR or RMR I should intake. RIght now I am eating about 1800 cals a day. every BMR calculator I try is different.. I really could use some advice
I think the best thing to do is to try different caloric intakes. Try one for a week or two and compare your weight at the end of the week to the weight you started with. If you gain a pound by the end of the week then you are doing something right. If you stay the same or lose, go up 200 or 300 calories. Since everyone is different you kind of just have to do a trial and error run