A lot of people struggle with the nutritional side of fitness, whether it is losing weight or gaining weight - depending on your goal. So below is one way of working out the number of calories a day an individual should be eating. As everyone is unique and individual, this is only a guide but can be a useful starting point for people gaining control over their calorie intake and where they should be starting.
When it comes to weight change energy balance is one of the most important factors in what is going to happen to your body.
Energy in VS energy out:
- To lose weight, consume fewer calories than your body uses on a daily basis.
- To gain weight, consume more calories than your body uses on a daily basis.
That is energy balance!
HOW TO CALCULATE CALORIE NEEDS:
Step 1: Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Your BMR is the number of calories you need to eat to maintain your current weight with no exercise. So, if you sat around all day doing nothing, how many calories do you need?
Men = Bodyweight (KG) x 24
Women = bodyweight (KG) x 22
e.g 90kg bodyweight, so 90 x 24 = 2160 calories
Step 2: account for activity
Now you need to account for how much you move during the day. Use your best judgment for which one you feel you fall into:
1.1 – sedentary, barely move all day, chained to your desk. No exercise
1.3– lightly active, inactive job, train 1-3 hours a week
1.5 – moderately active, relatively active job, on your feet most of the day, train 4 – 6 hours a week
1.7 – very active, on your feet all day, have a labour-intensive job and train 7+ hours a week
Multiply your BMR by the number related to the activity level most appropriate for you, e.g I work at a desk but train 3 x a week. So...
2160 x 1.3 = 2808 calories
Step 3: deficit or surplus
Now it’s time to adjust calories to suit your goals:
Want to lose fat?
e.g 20% deficit: 2808 / 100 = 28.08 X 20 =561.6
2808 – 561.6 = 2246.4 calories
Want to add muscle?
e.g 10% surplus: 2808 / 100 = 28.08 X 10 = 280.8
2808 + 280.8 = 3088.8 calories
Step 4: adjust as required
The above calculations will get in you roughly the right area, however you may still need to make further adjustments.
Too hungry? Doing extra cardio? – increase calories
Not losing weight? – decrease calories
The key with any calorie change is to monitor your weight for a 2-week period and adjust according to progress, it’s a little trial and error! Don’t panic if it’s not right straight away!
Remember this is a guide to estimate calories, experimentation and adaptation will play a part in you progress, don’t be afraid to change if it’s not working.