How many calories should you be eating?

Regardless of what your goal is; to lose weight, gain muscle mass, etc. The best place to start is figuring out how many calories you need to reach your goal.  Below is a step by step guide to finding how many calories you need based on your goal. Keep in mind metabolism is the biggest contributing factor in determining exactly how many calories you need and there’s no way of entering someone’s metabolism into an algorithm. So this is a very good starting point, but you may need to make small adjustments based on your progress.  


Step 1: BMR

Your basal metabolic rate is your caloric baseline without activity. The amount of calories it takes you to perform daily physiological functions (blinking, breathing, etc).  Click on the calculator link below, fill in the boxes, and hit ’calculate BMR’.

BMR Calculator

Step 2: Factoring Activity

The type of job you have, how many days a week you workout, and the types of workouts you do all contribute to your daily calorie expenditure. Multiply your BMR by the number below that describes you best. 

Ex: Sedentary, being someone who doesn’t workout and has a stationary job. Very active, being someone who works out 5-7 days/week and has a very physically demanding job. 

1. Sedentary= BMR • 1.2

2. Slightly active= BMR • 1.375

3. Moderate= BMR • 1.55

4. Active= BMR • 1.725

5. Very active= BMR • 1.9

Step 3: Determine Your Goal

In order to lose weight you have to be in a caloric deficit. In order to gain muscle mass you have to take in a surplus of calories. 

Take your caloric baseline, the number you got from multiplying your BMR by your activity level. If your goal is to lose weight, subtract 500 calories from your baseline, that’s your starting point for your daily caloric intake. If your goal is to gain weight, add 300 calories and that’s your starting point.  

Monitor your progress weekly or bi weekly and make minor adjustments as needed. Don’t add too many calories too quickly or your body won’t adjust and you’ll accumulate fat, not muscle.