How many calories do you need?

Hi, guys. It’s been a while, so I thought I should share some of the tools I use for losing weight. After all, to lose weight you need to keep your energy intake below your energy expenditure. I’ll warn you now, though, there are some maths involved, so grab your calculator.

What is a calorie?

If you are a regular gym goer, you probably already know what a calorie is and why it is so important to count them. However, it is a common household word now and people know it is related to weight but nothing else about it. So here is the definition.

A calorie is a measurement of energy. Specifically, 1 calorie is required to raise the temperature of 1 gramme of water by 1 degree celsius. The main thing you need to take away from this is that the calories that we eat, get stored as energy to be used later.

To lose weight we need to keep our average caloric intake below that of which we burn. We know that a calorie is the measurement of energy, but what does this mean?

Putting it into relevant terms, 1lb of fat stores 3,500 calories. To burn 2lbs of fat over a week, you would need to eat less. And by less I mean 1000 calories fewer than you burn on a typical day – 7000 calories per week.

How many calories do you burn?

Now we know what a calorie is and why it is important to measure them, we can now work out how many calories we need. For this, we will use the Katch-Mcardle formula. It is widely perceived as the most accurate calculator – so let’s get to it.

LBM (Lean Body Mass)

Firstly you need to work out your body fat. Most personal trainers can give you measurements and provide you with an accurate reading. Once you have this, you can work out your LBM – as below.

body mass * (1 – % body fat) = LBM

For a 200lb person with 25% body fat, it would look like this.

200 * (1 – 0.25) = 150 lbs

Once you have done this for yourself, you can begin to work out your BMR and TDEE (see below).

BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

Now you have your LBM reading, we can work out your BMR. This is the amount of energy the body need to function properly if we were to lie in bed all day and not move, this is how much the body would burn naturally.

For this, I’ll give you two formulas, one for Pounds (lbs) and one for Kilogramme (kg).

Pounds (lbs)

370 + (9.8 * LBM in pounds) = BMR in Calories

Example –  370 + (9.8 * 150lbs) = 1,840 Calories

Kilogramme (kg)

*Remember 1kg = 2.2lbs – (150lbs / 2.2 = 68.2kg)*

370 + (21.6 * LBM in kg) = BMR in Calories

Example – 370 + (21.6 * 68.2kg) = 1840 Calories

TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)

Finally, we can use these results to work out how much we burn on a daily average. There is no need to change your intake on a daily basis. This is many cases causes a lot of confusion and causes mistakes which lead to less results.

All we need to do now is take our BMR in calories and multiply it by the number next to the statement you find fits you best.

1.2 = Sedentary (1 hours of exercise per week or less)

1.35 = Somewhat active (1-3 hours of exercise per week)

1.5 = Fairly active ( 3-5 hours of exercise per week)

1.75 = Very active (5+ hours of exercise per week)

For example, if our subject at 200lbs was fairly active. we would take his BMR at 1840 and multiply it by 1.35 . So this would be 1840 * 1.35 = 2,484 Calories.

What is left?

What is left? This is the question we need to ask ourselves now. depending on how much weight you want to lose, you want to set a meal plan up so that you are under the resulting TDEE. Doctors would recommend not going below the TDEE by any more than 1,000 calories.

Doctors would recommend not going below the TDEE by any more than 1,000 calories. I, on the other hand, would not drop below my BMR. That’s because dropping below the BMR can cause the body to go too deep into the catabolic state, causing increased muscle loss.

I hope this has helped some of you as much as it has helped me on my journey. Happy weight loss!


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