The #1 question I get from most people is “How many calories a day should I eat?” Well that’s a loaded question. The easy answer is “Eat less than your body can burn. Not so surprisingly, the next question I get is, “OK, well how much is that?” Oddly enough there is a term for the amount of calories your body burns in a day. It’s known as your Basal Metabolic Rate or simply BMR. Think of it as the amount of calories your body burns if you were to lay in the bed ALL DAY and do nothing. For instance, my BMR is 2,372.9.
The problem is most people use their BMR incorrectly. Think about it. If my body burns 2372 calories and im doing nothing, how much is it burning if Im working out as well? (more than 2372 BTW) So, you have to factor your activity level in to make sure you are feeding your body what it needs to build muscle and burn fat.
The correct way to use your BMR is to add in your activity level. The easy way to do that is follow this basic formula:
- An inactive individual with very little to no exercise -> 1.2 factor
- A slightly active person who performs light exercise or sports 1 to 3 days per week -> 1.375 factor
- A moderately active individual who performs exercise or sports 3 to 5 days per week -> 1.55 factor
- A hard training person who carries out hard exercise or sports 6 to 7 days per week -> 1.725 factor
- An extra active, very hard training individual who performs exercise or sports and works a physically demanding job or trains twice a day -> 1.9 factor
My BMR is 2372 with an activity level of 1.55. Simply multiply your BMR by your activity level and you’ll get what is called a Maintenance Level or ML.
2372 x 1.55 = 3676
Now that we know my ML, we can subtract how many pounds a week I want to lose. To lose weight, you need to eat LESS than your body burns. So, if my body burns 3676 a day (with exercise mind you) I can eat exactly that amount and not gain weight. I know this sounds completely crazy but it’s true. Now, 1 pound equals 3500 calories. Divide that by 7 days and its 500 calories a day. I always shoot for 1 more than I really intend on losing. (just in case I cheat later in the week. :) So for this example I want to lose 4 pounds a week which equals 2000 calories.
3676 – 2000 = 1676
So after all that I know I can consume 1675 calories a day and lose 4 lbs a week. Now this is extreme and is probably insufficient for a man my size, which is why I eat closer to 2000. But remember, I’m trying to lose weight. Once I reach my goal weight I will up this amount to about 2500-3500 a day and try to maintain. This formula works both ways as well. If you are trying to gain weight, just eat that much more OVER your BMR. It is actually very simple.
Want to find out what your BMR is? It’s easy, just follow this link: <a title="BMR
Calculator ” href=”http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/” target=”_blank”>BMR Calculator. Take your BMR, multiply it by your activity level, and then just subtract your weight loss goal. It’s as simple as that. I hope this has helped.
If you have any questions just leave them in the comments below and I’d love to assist any way I can.