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How Many Calories Should I Eat?

Ben Nutrition

Your personal calorie calculator

Everyone knows it is important to track calories when trying to lose weight. Consuming more calories than your body requires is not going to deliver results and endless hours in the gym may not counteract the surplus energy in your body.

So how many calories do I need?

Calories are a measurement of energy and everyone has different energy requirements. It is determined by how much lean tissue you have (read: how big your engine is) and how active you are on a daily basis.

The human body requires a significant amount of energy just to function. Breathing, digesting, your heart beating - these actions all consume energy! The amount of energy - measured in calories over time - that the body needs to function while resting is known as the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).

Your personal BMR reflects how much energy your body requires to support vital body functions if, hypothetically, you were resting in bed for an entire day.

How to measure your personal BMR

For men: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5

For women: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) – 161

Armed with your BMR, you can now work out how many calories you need per day. This is known as your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). It is your entire daily calorie allowance, factoring in the BMR basics as well as general daily activity, exercising and toilet breaks.

What about high tea?

TDEE is determined by your Thermic Effect of Activity (TEA) and Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF).

TEA refers to the amount of calories burnt whilst exercising. High intensity training = High TEA.

TEF refers to the calories used in digesting food. Protein and fibre require the most calories to digest per calorie consumed. Hence they have the lead to high TEF.

Simply put: High TEA and High TEF lead to High TDEE.

What is my TDEE?

To calculate TDEE, pick the most appropriate activity level:

  • Sedentary = BMR x 1.2 = Little or no exercise / desk job
  • Lightly active = BMR x 1.375 = Light exercise / sports 1-3 times per week
  • Moderately active = BMR x 1.55 = Moderate exercise / sports 4-7 times per week
  • Very active = BMR x 1.725 = Hard exercise every day
  • Extra active = BMR x 1.9 = Vigorous exercise every day such as training for a triathlon

Losing weight for summer

Dropping a pound of weight per week requires a deficit of 500 kcal per day.

Subtract 500kcal from your TDEE for every pound of weight you want to lose per week and watch that weight fall off. Just remember to buy swimming shorts or bikinis in a smaller size!

Looking for support? Our Virtual Personal Trainer subscription will give you a shopping list, meal plans and example recipes as part of our workout package. Try it today!

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