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How Many Calories Do I "Need?"

Feb 7, 2013

Hello all,

In the last blog post I wrote I talked at length about nutrition, getting the proper amounts of the macronutrients protein, carbohydrates and fats. I spoke about a few other things in there as well such as caloric deficits, whether to work out more or worry about your eating more, etc. However, everything should come together as one great plan to solidify your meal timing, nutrient intake and caloric deficit (for those of you looking to continue building muscle while losing fat.)

That sounds great Joe! Now how do I do that? Well first we need to understand a few principles. In order to live and function at what we would consider our normal acceptable levels, our body needs a certain amount of food to be ingested daily to act as fuel. The amount of energy stored in food, muscles cells and fat is called a calorie. Just living burns calories…eating, sleeping, and watching television, not many calories but still. So now we will calculate what our Basal Metabolic Rate is or BMR, which is the amount of calories our body burns through just keeping us alive through our daily processes. I will walk you through that process using a 185lb individual who is moderately active as our example.

Step 1: Turn your weight in pounds (lbs) to kilograms (kg) by dividing your weight by 2.2

185 ÷ 2.2= 84.09kg

Step 2: Calculate calories burned in a 24 hour period by someone your weight.

Men: 1 x bodyweight (kg) x 24(the amount of hours in a day)

1x84.09x24=2,018.16 cal

Women: .9 x bodyweight (kg) x 24

.9 x 84.09 x 24= 1,816.344

Now that we have those numbers we factor in our level of body fat by multiplying the results from step 2 by the multiplier in the right column of the table below.

Let’s say our individual is a male who is 15% body fat, so we multiply results from step 2 by .95

2,018.16 x .95= 1,917.252

BMR= 1,917.252 calories for a 185lb male with 15% body fat.

Sweet! All done right? Well not quite yet. Remember BMR means basal metabolic rate so that is without us doing any activity, so now activity level will be factored by establishing daily activity levels and how those factor into our metabolic rates.

Couch Potato level of Activity

1.30 (130%): This is an individual who is not very active, spends a lot of time sitting, talking, typing, desk work and does not do much walking or other activities throughout the day.

1.55 (155%): This is for an individual who does light activities on top of their usual daily sitting, working, typing or talking. They might do some light walking throughout the day.

Average Active Person

1.65 (165%): This is for an individual who does moderate activities 1-2 hours, 3-5 times a week such as weight lifting, skiing or dancing on top of their regular activities at work.

Athletic Individuals/Gym Rats

1.80 (180%): This is an individual who has might have an active job such as construction who also does 2 hours a day of another intense activity such as weight training, football etc. Or an individual who has a lightly moderate job but they do 2-4 hours of intense activity daily

2.00 (200%): This is an individual with a moderate or very active job who works 8 hours on top of 2-4 hours of intense training a day.

Step 3: So let’s say our individual is your average active person, we will take the BMR we figured out earlier and multiply it by 1.65 to find out his caloric needs.

1,917.252 x 1.65= 3,163.46 cal

With these numbers our individual uses a total of 3,163.46 calories on an average day.

Do this: Calculate your daily caloric requirements over this weekend while you are stuck at home in the awesome snow storm we are going to have (unless it is a complete bust!) This is going to be important to know as next week I will be doing a post on what kind of meal plan a person should be trying to put together if they are trying to lose fat and gain muscle. You will need to know your BMR and total daily caloric requirements in order to use this info. Check-in next week where we will work out meal plans!

Remember if you have questions or comments feel free to email the studio, or even better…leave comments! I would love to have threads going on the blogs.

P.S. You can subscribe to this blog and be updated when I write up our newest, most amazing blog.

Joseph Stephen, Fitness Together Newtonville


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