How Much Should I Be Eating?
The Truth In Calculating How Many Calories You Need
Written by: Femi Doyle-Marshall
When it comes to getting fitness results information is one of the most powerful things to have. Gaining knowledge of food intake, caloric needs and nutritional targets towards your goal gives you real data.
It gives you real power.
Let me repeat that statement for a second time.
You get real power.
From real data.
Not just any type of data yet data relating to you.
Looking to put on a little more muscle bulk.
Looking to cut a little more body fat.
Looking to change your entire body composition.
Done. Done and wait…
The objective of this article is simple.
I want to give you the tools used to calculate your caloric intake.
I want to give you key ranges you can use to hit your protein, fat and carbohydrates targets.
I want to give you the blueprint used by top fitness pros in getting outstanding results inside and outside the gym.
I want to give you the keys to the city.
Okay, the last may take some time.
Yet, for the others I promise by the end I will.
In our private Facebook group I had the pleasure of asking our New Persona members what they want to learn and this was it.
So get ready to know exactly how much you should be eating.
If you don’t like using calculators, counting or truly don’t want to know how much you should be eating to get awesome results this isn’t for you.
Otherwise, you’re in for a treat.
Big Benefits of This Article
- Aid in making daily meals.
- Aid in achieving health + fitness goals.
- Aid in understanding macronutrient targets.
- Let’s talk about me to create a framework.
With nutrition I start with observing my caloric intake to help track my intake and then compare to my maintenance levels.
Side Note Section***
I personally believe intake is one of the most over looked components of nutrition.
Everything you eat provides some form of energy.
This can go towards or against your goal.
Even more important your health.
I would say to get a good hold of your daily intake keep a journal and write what you eat. Everything you eat. Then compare it later on to the number you will be learning to get by the end of this article.
Side Note Complete ***
Well if you don’t know what you are doing you’ll be left dazed and confused eating random foods that don’t add up to your health and fitness goals.
Your total caloric intake is the total amount of food you eat to thrive.
This number is the bare bones of nutrition.
Subtract what you put out and you get your energy balance.
It is also called you maintenance number.
Imagine the possibilities.
- Breakdown your total macronutrient amounts for maximal health and fitness results.
- Organize the types of workouts that meet your ideal goal to get the most from your time in the gym.
- Get better, long lasting changes for fat loss, muscle gain even changes in body composition.
To be honest I think hundreds of formulas exist to help in calculating this number.
We use two. One for males the other for females.
Mainly on excel spreadsheets.
Find it below.
Mifflin-St Jeor Formula Activity Factors
Male’s Basal Metabolic Rate: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5 = ???
Female Basal Metabolic Rate: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) -161 = ???
This is a more complicated way to calculate your number nutritional number.
It also works as an estimate.
I will show you how to calculate this option as well as a One Step Calculation to compare it to the Mufflin-St Joer formula as the best possible solution.
What you need to know first…
Your body is already burning energy just living.
When sleeping you will output energy usually not at a high level.
This is what we call Basal Metabolic Rate or Resting Metabolic Rate when coming out of a sleep state. That is also the starting point of the formula given above.
Basal Metabolic Rate or Resting Metabolic Rate
Your Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of energy needed for your body to survive. This is the minimum starting point for energy use. Many formulas I have used in the past would calculate this number and combine it with the level of activity performed throughout the week (also known as your activity factor). This is the foundation of many caloric intake formula.
Thermal Effect of Food
The Thermal Effect of Food or TEA is the measure of energy used to break down the food you eat on a daily basis. Certain foods such as protein take more time to digest and use more energy to be absorbed by the body. This can aid in increasing your energy output. All from eating one type of macronutrient. This rarely is calculated in formulas.
Activity Factors or Thermal Effect of Activity
Activity Factors or Thermal Effect of Activity ties measures your level of movement throughout the day. The more you move the more you burn. Whether with speed, weight or frequency you will burn more energy. This will change your output and also force you to look closely at the amount you are eating. For example walking 3 mph for 20 minutes can burn 74 calories. By ramping up your speed to 5 mph you will be burning up to 127 calories. This is the key to determine your range in any caloric formula.
Just a thought.
Multiply one factor below with your Mifflin BMR to calculate your energy output should look a little something like this.
Male Basal Metabolic Rate: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5 = ??? x Activity Factor = How Much I Should Be Eating :).
Female Basal Metabolic Rate: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) -161 = ??? x Activity Factor = How Much I Should Be Eating :).
Here is the details I would use with Mifflin-St Jeor to calculate How Much I Should Be Eating:
Age: 27 (as of 2016)
Height (cm): 176
Weight (kg): 77
Thoughts from my mind in when looking to modify my nutrition. Don’t be afraid to use these same questions to improve your current eating habits and produce better results.
- How many calories do I need to eat to maintain my muscle mass and overall weight?
- Do I eat more protein, fat or carbohydrates throughout the day?
- How do this impact my body composition and health?
- Am I active enough throughout the week to get the results I am looking for?
- Do I sit for long hours of the day or am I getting up and moving around?
- Do I have access to the resources I need to get the results I am looking for?
PS. When thinking of nutrition I recommend eating a higher protein amount to help hit your caloric targets first. Remember the thermal effect of food. Almost all benefits lie in having a higher protein amount. Protein also has an added value in helping maintain lean muscle mass.
Using The Mifflin-St Jeor Equation
Step One: Input numbers into Male’s Basal Metabolic Rate: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5 = ???
Femi’s Basal Metabolic Rate: 10 x 77 (kg) + 6.25 x 1.76 (cm) – 27 + 5 = 1746.007029
Step Two: Multiply Activity Factor – light activity (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week)
Femi’s Activity Factor (1.375): 1746.007029 x 1.375 = 2400.759665
Step Three: Review Maintenance Calories
Femi’s Maintenance Calories: 2400
This could be fun if you have the time.
I want to stress an easier way exists.
What I will do is use my original formula as a reference point to compare the accuracy of how much I should be eating.
So let’s get the ball rolling.
This will be fast.
One Step Maintenance Calorie Calculator: Weight (lbs) x 14 – 17 (kcal/range) = Maintenance Number
Femi’s Maintenance Calories: 170 (lbs) x 15 (kcal/range)= 2,550
Comparison: 2400 (Mufflin-St Joer Formula) vs 2550 (One Step Calorie Calculator)
As you can see I am only off by 150 calories.
This is not a whole lot if you were looking at the long term.
So I would highly recommend playing around with a number such as this to get you closer to your intake goals. Males would usually use a higher number range when calculating compared to females.
Male Multiplier: 15-17 (kcal/range)
Female Multiplier: 14-16 (kcal/range)
In conclusion if I know how much I should be eating the odds of me overeating drop drastically. Using any of these formulas will work to give you an estimate. With that number you can make changes to your daily intake either eating more or less to get the results you are looking for.
Hope this helps shed some light on all your intake.
And that’s it for today. Be sure to post any questions you may have on THEX FORUM many members have found that page quite useful. Otherwise have questions or concerns? Feel free to leave them below along with any comments, thoughts and feedback. If you are looking to get a better understanding of this article I will be sure to post a response.