How to calculate caloric intake

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How to calculate caloric intake

Nutrition is considered the MOST important aspect of fitness training. A lot of people who initially get into fitness training of any type, particularly those who are more focused on the bodybuilding component of it, fail to recognize the importance of nutrition. They focus mainly on what’s happening in the gym and neglect to develop a proper diet or to calculate the right amount of calories they are suppose to consume to get a particular goal they are seeking.

The reason for this, is pretty obvious. People observe the training at the gym but don’t see what these individuals who have the 6 packs, developed pecs and definition in their arms, are putting into their mouth when they leave the gym. It’s a type of illusion that can fool a beginner to be convinced that training is the ultimate component of fitness training and not the diet.

This article isn’t going to focus on what types of diet to consume, because that’s been talked about many times in here and will be talked many times again. But rather, this article will focus on the very EASY way to calculate your caloric intake if you find the link I have under the Useful Links, is a tad bit too confusing.


Most people have a hard time trying to figure out their level of activity that goes appropriately with calculating their caloric intake and become a little anxious when they use a generic caloric calculator that ask for this information. Not only that but, they don’t realize that caloric intake, depends on a lot of things besides the activity levels. Some people maybe training at an intensity a little more than what those generic calculators are asking, or have other factors that they wish a longer or more detailed calculator existed for them. Ill-regardless of what variables one may desire to be included in these calculators, we have to work with what we have. Not only that but you have those different body types who can consume very little amounts of calories but gain weight easily, or consume a lot of calories and still have a problem with gaining any muscle mass or whatever it may be.

The whole point is that we’re all different and we have to basically guesstimate as much as these GUIDELINES provide to us. Now, you see the word I used; guidelines. This is a ball figure, to give you an idea of what you need to consume but one is to adjust it by increasing or decreasing calories to produce the appropriate weight loss or weight gain response one desires.

This breakdown I found, and I am going to introduce to you today, just focuses on 3 levels of activity: sedentary lifestyle, moderate active lifestyle and very vigorous lifestyle outside and inside of the gym. Sedentary basically means a little or no physical activity. So your basic couch potato who doesn’t like to fidget, one bit. Moderate obviously means you have some form of level of activity, where you train or do some kind of physical activity throughout your day and week. Obviously, vigorous means that you either work a heavily physical job, like a construction worker and then also workout at the gym.

Now as that has been said, below is the numbers to use:

Sedentary lifestyle: 26 to 30 kcal/day/kg or 12 to 14 kcal/day/lb (pound)

Moderate lifestyle: 31 to 37 kcal/day/kg or 14 to 16 kcal/day/lb (pound)

Vigorous lifestyle: 38 to 40 kcal/day/kg or 16 to 18 kcal/day/lb (pound)

*Now, kcal is your value associated with your caloric intake.

Now, this is to maintain the weight one is currently at while living within one of those type of lifestyles. To get to a particular goal of losing body fat or gaining muscle, however manner, an increase or decrease in caloric intake would have to be done. Generally, people say 500 calories below for cutting fat and above, for gaining muscle mass.

I even recommend this, but it’s still generic. I am trying to get specific in this article, so that people can use a number that is adjustable, so that they can see steady progress instead of an abrupt one that yields negative short term results or long term ones.

This calculator recommends using a percentage reduction or addition, when calculating your caloric intake based on these numbers above, as stated for each lifestyle.

To add weight, one will add: 10-20% above the number stated above for your lifestyle.

To lose weight, one will subtract 10-20%, below the number stated above for your lifestyle.

An example of this, is me personally when it comes to my cut that I am going to be doing in a couple of weeks time. I am currently 148 lbs and I want to cut. I have a moderately active lifestyle, where I will be training about 5 times a week, doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) and training with weights for about 3-4 times a week.

I have to multiply 14 to 16 kcals to my 148 lbs, to get my maintenance. Because I am gradually decreasing my calories until that day I am going to start my cut, I am using 14 kcals/148lbs/day, which will yield: 2072 calories.

Now, I want to cut, that above is my maintenance. So, I am going to subtract 10% from it as my first week starting, at 207.2 caloric reduction. Which gives me 1864 calories. If I want to see more fat loss, I can use the 20% (414), will give me: 1658.

So, the range of 1658 to 1864, is the recommended intake for me to lose weight. I plan to start an 1800 caloric intake cutting regimen, just to reduce to my final 1660 by the time my cutting day comes around. I could even use 1800 calories for my training days and 1660 for my off days. Point is, I have flexibility. Because I have cut before, I know the latter number, benefited me better results than the former. With someone now beginning a cut, you will want to start off with the bigger number and steadily reduce, so that you can progress nicely.

Now, I know this article has been long but I feel it is important one understands how important calorie variations are, in seeing excellent results and getting that motivation to keep on trucking forward than someone who is confused with how much to consume and become disappointed when results aren’t what was expected.

*I want you to note that, after reading this article you may think of the question, why doesn’t this form of calculation doesn’t take into consideration a person’s height. One would assume that someone who’s 5’4″ and 148 lbs and someone who’s 5’10” and 148 lbs, would require different caloric intake values, as they are of different heights. As true as that may be, the basic assumption is still there, as that taller person will gain weight but the weight gained wouldn’t look as impressive as the shorter person. Also, remember the calculation here does provide a range. So, adjustment is required, when training. Weightlifting and fitness training is a trial and error process. What may work fine for someone, may need a little adjustment for you ๐Ÿ™‚

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