Whether weight is gained or lossed is an energy equation that is most often overlooked. Getting your energy intake right to support your goal of muscle gain, fat loss, or maintenance is THE MOST important piece.


So how do you figure out your calorie needs? Well first you need to calculate your maintenance calories.



BMR is your “Basal Metabolic Rate” basically meaning the number of calories you would burn if you were to lay in bed for 24 hours and not move. There are different formulas out there but I’ll give you the simplest one to get started.



Even though this formula is less accurate, it’s good to use if you don’t know your body fat %

Men: BMR=88+(6.1 x weight in lbs) + (12.2 x height in inches)-(5.7 x age in years)
Women: BMR=448+(4.2 x weight in lbs) + (7.9 x height in inches)-(4.3 x age in years)


If you’re pretty overweight, the formula above is more than likely going to overestimate your BMR and on the flip side if you’re pretty lean you’ll get an underestimate. But for now we need a starting point and can adjust as necessary later.


STEP 2: Activity Adjustment


After you figure out your BMR number, you’ll need to account for activity which is going to depend on your current lifestyle. This is your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)


  • Sedentary (little to no exercise): BMR X 1.2
  • Lightly active (training/sports 2-3 days/week) BMR X 1.375
  • Moderately active (training/sports 4-5 days/week): BMR X 1.55
  • Very Active (training/sports 6-7 days a week): BMR X 1.725
  • Extremely Active (training/sports and physical jobs): BMR X 1.9


You have to remember that these numbers are GUESSES, and that regular everyday activity is going to vary between individuals. To get a more accurate number, take what you believe your activity level is, and go one step back. (If you are very active, use the moderately active calculation) But remember, starting point is necessary so we need a number. So let’s put this into practice. I’ll use myself as an example.



5’0 Moderately Active

113 lbs

Goal: Fat Loss
BMR= 448 + (4.2 X 113) + (7.9 X 60)-(4.3 X 32)=1326.9
TDEE=1326.9 X 1.55=2056


STEP 3: Set a weight loss target and calculate calorie intake.


This needs to be realistic and sustainable in terms of adherence. Truth is that you can lose more than 1-2 lbs per week but it doesn’t mean that’s the best option if you’re walking around in misery every day. Because if you’re miserable, you’ll give up quicker.


Since the simplest equation to adjust calories is the “3500 calorie” rule. I’m sure you’ve all heard that it takes 3500 calories to burn one pound of fat. This completely depends but to not complicate things for you, this is an easy number to use to get you started.


For me, a realistic goal is to lose 1 lb per week of fat, meaning I need to decrease my calorie intake by 3500 calories thus reducing my calories or creating a 500 calorie deficit daily for the week. I can do this two ways but for simplicity sake let’s just reduce calories by 500.



=2056-500(calorie deficit per day)=1556
What does this mean?!

I would need to have an average calorie intake per day of 1556 in order to lose 1 lb per week


These numbers are guesses at best and will probably get adjusted as you start dieting and learning how to adjust when you’re not making progress. Questions??? Shoot me an email at 🙂 For maximum results check out my ON-LINE COACHING HERE !