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How To Calculate Caloric Intake

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The best way to lose weight or build muscle is through your diet. Along side a proper exercise program, of course. 


You can exercise as much as you want but if you don’t have a good diet result will be little to none. For starters, try to start logging your daily intake. Then based on your goals, you can decide to cut or increase your calories.


On average women need 2,000 calories to maintain their body weight and should consume 1,500 to lose a pound a week. Men averagely need 2,500 calories to maintain weight and 2,000 to lose a pound a week of course this is just an average and does not include everybody. 


When looking to change your body composition, it is recommend to cut or increase your caloric intake by about 500 calories. This is because a pound of fat is about 3500 calories. So, increase or decreasing calories 500 a day, over the course of 7 days adds up to 3500 calories. 


An easy way to calculate your caloric needs is to use this equation:


[Weight (kg) x 9.99] + [Height (cm) x 6.25] – [age x 4.92] = _____ 

  • - 161 for women 
  • + 5 for men

This will be your resting metabolic rate the number of calories your body needs to survive. 

Then Choose the activity level that matches your lifestyle: 

  • 20% Sedentary: mainly sitting, driving a car, lying down, standing still
  • 30% Light activity: jobs/lifestyle that keeps person active < 2 hours daily
  • 40%  Moderate activity: moderate activity with very little sitting
  • 50% Very active: labor-intensive job, such as construction work 

Next, multiply your basic energy needs by the percent that matches your activity level. Remember to covert to a decimal!

_____ calories for basic needs (RMR) X _____% for activity level = ________ calories for physical activity 


Now, calculate total calories burned each day:

  • Add exercise: sum the total calories burned for the week (over 7 days) 
  • Divide by 7 to get average calories burned/day (even if there are rest days)  
  • Add: “Thermic Effect of Food” (TEF): your RMR + calories for physical activity, then multiply the total by 10%. 


(_____ RMR + _____ Activity + ____ Ex) X 10% = _____ calories for digestion and nutrient absorption 

So, the final should look like:

_____ calories for basic needs (RMR) +

_____ calories for daily physical activity +

_____ calories for exercise (training) =

_____ Subtotal +

_____ calories for TEF (10% of subtotal above)

= _____ Total Caloric Needs 


From here you will now decide if you want to add or subtract around 500 calories  If subtracting and the number seems too low, subtract to a level you feel is sustainable. It is important to note that maintaining a caloric intake that is too low can damage your metabolism. 


Now that we have your overall calorie count. Let's talk macronutrients (carbs, fats & protein)


Do not be afraid of carbs... Carbs have gotten a bad rep, but you should include carbs in your daily intake. Carbs are your bodies go to fuel source, so to deprive yourself from carbs will cause you to have less energy and can make you feel moody. The best source of carbs come from complex carbohydrates. 


The same thing goes for fats, you should have some fat per day. The best way to get in fat intake healthfully is to take omega 3 or fish oils. 

If putting on muscle add 500 calories and increase your protein intake to anywhere from 1.0 g/lb to 1.6g/lb of your body weight. The harder and more you work out, the higher you should make this. 


Carbs: 5 - 10 g/kg or 45 - 65% total calories

Fat: 20 - 35% total calories 

Protein: 1.2 – 2.0 g/kg or 10 - 20% total calories


These equations are a rough estimate of what your metabolism may be. Remember everyone is different and we all require different combinations of macros to meet our goals. So this may not be 100% accurate. If you want to know your true metabolic rate come in to Genesis for a RMR Assessment! 

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