Here's a bit of science for those wanting to really know how to calculate their daily calories to either maintain their weight, lose weight, or bulk up.
STEP ONE is to calculate the total number of calories you burn up every day, aso know as TOTAL DAILY ENERGY EXPENDITURE (TDEE). This is also known as your "maintenance level". Once you know your TDEE you have a starting point depending on what you want to do.
A more acurate method of calculating TDEE is to determine your BASIC METABOLIC RATE (BMR)
Here's the science!!
*MEN: BMR = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) - (6.8 x age in years)
WOMEN: 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) - (4.7 x age in years)
39 years old
6 foot 1ins (185.4cm)
weight is 209.2lbs (94.8kg)
MY BMR = 66 + 1298 + 927 - 265 = 2026 calories per day
Once you knw your BMR, you can calculate your TDEE by multiplying your BMR by the following factor:
Sedentary = BMR x 1.2 (little or no exercise, desk job)
Lightly active = BMR x 1.375 (light exercise/sports 1-3 day per week)
Moderately active = BMR x 1.55 (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days per week)
Very active = BMR x 1.725 (hard exercise/sports 6-7 per week)
Extremely active = BMR x 1.9 (hard daily exercise/sports & physical job)
EXAMPLE (me again!)
My BMR is 2026, and I'd class myself as moderately active so my activity factor is 1.55
My TDEE = 1.55 x 2026 = 3140
Once you have this information you can begin to calculate how many calories you need to eat each day as follows:
To maintain my current weight = 3140 calories per day
To lose weight = 2826 calories (based on a 10% drop)
To bulk up = 3454 calories (based on a 10% increase)
The more weight you want to lose or bulk the higher the percentage you lose... BUT... Most reputable trainers would recommend no more than around a 20% change to ensure you can stick to the program. Any more than that and you'll begin to feel like you are (a) starving yourself or (b) gonna explode!
I hope this helps those of you who either want to take fitness seriously, want to understand why you are not losing or gaining weight or just like nerdy stuff like this!!
*Based on the Harris-Benedict formula - This equation is very accurate in all but the extremely muscular or the extremely overweight
Once you've calculated your numbers, in order to keep losing weight or bulking you simply see how much you weigh and do the calculation again at the beginning of each week.
Using an app like myfitnesspal will help you track the calories. Just change the numbers on the app to suit your calculations.
Hmm, using this calculation I get the same numbers for losing weight (TDEE minus 20%) that Myfitnesspal gives me for maintaining my weight.
Apart from that, thanks for yet another great post to refer to!
Putting this back in the active topics as there are a lot of posts on losing weight/gaining weight again.
being healthy is made up of 3 main parts in my view:
(1) MENTAL - If you aren't 100% committed to being healthy you'll fail. SIMPLE. You might lose a bt of weight eating cabbage soup or fasting until you wanna gnaw you're own arm off. You might melt a bit of body fat if you run on the treadmill for a few weeks, but you'll gain it back while your gym pass gathers dust.
Sort your head out!! If you're not 100% committed to something you'll fail, and that's ok, we all fail at something. but accept that if you haven't sorted your head out with regards to being healthy you'll never get the body you want
(2) NUTRITION - I'll say this twice.... Eating healthy is far more important than working out... EATING HEALTHY IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN WORKING OUT - if you don't eat healthy at least 80% of the time, you're are wasting your time. Simple.
(3) WORKING OUT - Sweat dammit!! If you wanna lose weight you should be dripping after every workout. Not lightly dabbing your face with a wet wipe, I mean "holy shit! Did you fall in the river?!" wet. If you're trying to gain weight and bulk up SEE POINT (2)!! You've gotta eat. A lot. I mean, a lot! Try eating 4000 clean, healthy calories like I did this month. It's hard!! 'Dirty' bulking is easy. Anyone can eat 4000 calories at McDonalds.. To gain weight the healthy way is TOUGH.. see point (1)!!!
It's the circle of life! Nothing is easy. That's why you feel superhuman when you've achieved something worth achieving.
Why am I ranting?!?! Coz believe it or not, I actually care. I want to stop seeing posts about people needing 'motivation', I want to see posts from people telling me how great it feels to have lost weight and thanking others for helping them on here. I want to see ideas for healthy recipes, workout ideas, success stories, again and again and again!!!
(And for those that know me on here.. "NO" I'm not hungry!)
Ok so im not sure im my maths is severely off track or if im actually just doing really shit at my calorie intake. My BMR:
655 + 518 + 273 - 94 = 1,352
1,352 + 1.55 = 2095
Now to loose weight i would need a 10% drop = 1,885 cals
And my current cal intake is average of 1,300 which works out to be 62% less than my TDEE?
I currently am burning about 500 cals a day with a 50 minute workout and 1.5 hour of physcial work in my job.
- should i be working to increase my intake so its not 62% less than i need?
- in relation to my intake is there a percentage or guideline on how many cals i should burn a day?
- the 1300 cals average for my intake is a well balanced and healthy diet eating 3 meals and 2 light snacks a day.
Thanks in advance for any help cause as a begginner this is getting so confusing. in the past i went with the "if i eat healthy and do moderate exercise i will be healthy" attitude but apparently this is really not true when i bother to work it all out.
Your calculations are correct & you're not the only one to be surprised at the figures that this method come out with. It's a tricky one to explain but here's my best shot!
My wife and I have fully researched this method of calculating calories for people who workout. Put simply, your body has a "sweet spot" - A calorie level that will result in you losing body fat as if it's melting away if combined with the correct macro ratios (protein/carbs/fats).
- If you eat too much and your macros are outta whack you'll either pack on weight regardless of whether you are working out or not, or you'll not lose weight
- if you eat too little your body can hold on to any little scrap of fat/carbs/protein it can get it's gruby little fingers on and again you'll either not lose weight or you might even gain! (Weird eh?!!?!)
- Hit that "sweet spot" though where you've got the calorie level right, and the macros correct, and you'll find over time that you can manipulate your weight either by adjusting your TDEE up or down, or by training more depending on your preference. I'm putting this to the test right now by doing both > training harder & dropping my TDEE by 15% this week, then 5% a week for the following 3 weeks. I've lost 5lbs since Friday.
If you wanna look at some seriously crazy stuff check out a guy called Timbawolf on google/youtube - He combines the TDEE/Macro method but eats an unbelievable amount of junk food!!! Because he's on his "sweet spot" the guy is insanely shredded!!! When I have a cheat meal I work to the same method, eat what I like but make sure the macros/calories are correct.
(Personally I don't wanna do that coz I feel gross after junk food... But it's INSANE!!!)
((**Disclaimer** I'm not promoting that people work out their sweet spot and start gorging on McDonalds!!))
I was in the "I need to eat less to lose weight" camp for long time but I now find that I can manipulate my weight with ease & I'd strongly recommend to anyone wanting to improve the way they look and lose weight in a healthy way to try this for at least 2 months.
I will try this when I get home after work.
Seriously, I eat, eat, eat, and eat and i never seem to go past 110 pounds, and for my height 5'3", im at my lowest limit i think
and now that i work out i'm sure I will need more calories. I love food but it is tough to gain weight. :/
The one thing I find hard to keep track of is the calories for homemade food since I can't really count the calories for stuff I make at home. For that reason, I usually give up on tracking my calorie intake.. :/
Thank you for this post! I have been slowly gaining weight. I use a estimated calorie counter for workouts and food consumption and I make sure to eat just above my workout. I forgot to take into account my metabolism. Also, the science and equation helps. Here's to quicker results! :)
A BIT MORE SCIENCE!!!
Once you've calculated the optimum calorie level you should be hitting to manipulate your weight the next VERY important step is to calculate your MACROS (the percentage split of protein/carbs/fats).
This is where it begins to get a little more interesting as there are different theories on the split that is the most effective.
Here are the percentages I believe in (ME, and I'm just an ordinary guy who has tried these numbers out and they have worked for me)
BULKING (to put weight on) - 30/50/20 - 30% protein, 50% carbs, 20% fats
SHREDDING (to lose weight but not lose muscle) - 50/30-35/20-15
MAINTAINING (just stay the way you are but healthy) - 40/40/20
After this you can begin to mix it up a little as you find out what your body reacts to the best...
I've found over the last few months that my body reacts best to a 'CARB SLIDE' method of losing weight when I'm SHREDDING.
I begin my week on a split of 50% protein, 35% carbs, 15% fats. As each day passes I drop my carbs by 5% a day until I get down to 20%. My fats increase by 5% each day to compensate and the protein remains the same. I stack my carbs up in the morning and straight after my gym workout.
Hope this helps some of you trying to figure out how to lose or gain weight and are stuck at the minute. It's a starting point to try to help you better understand what works for you.
Question..Once I know my TDEE, that already includes all calories I burn when working out right? So I do not have to add my workout calories on top of my TDEE?
Bump this back up!
May I link this and the one about ectomorph/endomorph to my health blog here in forum Scotty?
Man this is great Scott, so helpful! Thanks brother.
Another question answered! I know why I'm so dang tired and drained :/ I don't really count my calories or carbs (which I will be from now on) but I cut carbs almost completely out of my diet. I'm not really losing though. But thanks to this I have a really good idea of what I need to do now. I was absolutely clueless. Awesome sauce!
Wow this has answered alot of questions for me. If I did my math right I am a little off with my diet. Well alot off! Now I know what I need to do. Thank u!
So if I did this right my TDEE is 2507
Is 1950 calories a day ok? I have been aiming for that for 2 weeks now and am losing weight...about 6lbs so far.