Understanding Your Calorie Needs
Raise your virtual hands if you’ve ramped up your workouts, cut back on bad carbs and sugar, and cut your caloric intake seemingly in half, and you’re still not losing weight? First, don’t be discouraged! There are a number of elements that determine your needs, and simply cutting calories and working out a little harder may not be enough to get the results you’re looking for. Here are a few factors that determine what your personal calorie needs will be:
1. BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)
Your BMR, a.k.a. your body’s metabolism, is the number of calories that your body burns in a resting state on a given day. It’s important to note that this is not the number of calories you need to be eating for weight loss. Your BMR just tells you how many calories your body burns to keep you alive (at a resting state).
To calculate your BMR, you need your scale weight, height, and age. Men and women use different formulas so depending on your gender, make sure to use the correct formula for you. The most common way to find your BMR is to use the Harris-Benedict Equation or simply use the calorie calculator at the end of this blog post to find your calorie needs.
2. TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)
Understanding your TDEE, is like knowing how not to gain weight; it can give you insight on how to lose weight as well! Sounds incredibly complex, but it’s actually pretty simple; TDEE is the number of calories you need to consume (based on your activity level) to maintain your current weight. Want to know how to calculate your TDEE? I’ll give you the formula and share a handy online calculator below!
3. Activity Level
To make TDEE easier to calculate researchers came up with a set of “activity multipliers” known as the Katch-McArdle multipliers. By using these multipliers you can measure the average number of calories you burn on a daily basis, including your activity. To calculate your approximate TDEE, simply multiply these activity factors by your BMR:
- Sedentary (little to no exercise + work a desk job) = 1.2
- Lightly Active (light exercise 1-3 days / week) = 1.375
- Moderately Active (moderate exercise 3-5 days / week) = 1.55
- Very Active (heavy exercise 6-7 days / week) = 1.725
- Extremely Active (very heavy exercise, hard labor job, training 2x / day) = 1.9
As promised, you can use this online calculator to find your TDEE, or skip these steps and use the calorie calculator at the end of this blog for your calorie needs.
4. Your Current Body Info
As you may already know, everyone’s calorie needs will be different depending on factors like age, weight, and height—your habits, your work environment, and the amount of rest you get also play a role in determining how many calories to lose weight.