To start the New Year off on the right foot, I decided to answer a basic question that I get asked a lot:
The answer isn’t as easy as just giving you a number because there a few variables to consider first:
- What are your goals? Lose weight? Gain weight? Maintain weight but lean out and tone up (so, change your body composition)? Maintain but be healthier? Other?
- Are you M/F?
- How active are you currently? Do you plan on changing your activity level? What does ‘active’ mean to you?
- Do you lose or gain weight more easily when you stop working out (i.e. what is your ‘body type’ predisposition? Endo-, meso-, or ecto-morph?)
- What kind of calories are you currently intaking? Quality nutrient rich foods like veggies, whole grains, and lean meats? Or low nutrient, high caloricvolume foods like fast food and microwave dinners, packaged snacks, and processed preservative-laden foods?
There are many variables to consider and I’m sharing a few with you to help you understand that you do have to put some thought into it all, but I also want you to know that it’s not as complicated as it seems! Here are some simple steps to estimate your daily calorie intake:
- Find your BMR (basal metabolic rate). Your BMR is the minimum number of calories your body needs daily to function (brain function, organfunction, digestion, etc…). You need to eat at least your BMR level of calories so that you keep your body from going into starvation-mode (catabolism) where it will start storing body fat for survival (not enough calories in means your body doesn’t know when it will be getting enough fuel, so it stores it just in case). You can calculate your BMR using online calculators like this one: CLICK HERE.
- Once you know your BMR, you can calculate your daily caloric needs (maintenance level calories) based on your activity level using the Harris Benedict Equation. And if you know your body fat % and lean body mass, I’d recommend using the Katch-McArdle Equation for a slightly more accurate estimate.
- Once you find out how many calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight, you can either maintain your current weight healthfully with clean nutrition adding up to that many calories a day, or you can use that number to gain or lose pounds. You can either add 300-500 calories to that number (to put on weight healthfully) or subtract 300-500 calories (to lose weight healthfully). This small change should help you gain or lose 1-2 pounds a week.
Now that you know how to successfully, healthfully, and effectively gain or lose weight using the BMR formula and tracking your body’s caloric needs daily, how your body changes to look is dependent on the type of training you’re doing. Meaning, if you don’t just want to lose pounds, but you want to change what your body looks like (tone, sculpt, lean, lengthen, build, etc.) your resistance training and cardio have to be on point too, but that’s another question for another day.
Until then: send me your questions! I want to A your Q’s and help you be the cause of your own fitness effect!
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