When it comes to calculating your calorie requirements, there are a few things to take into account. The biggest thing to understand is how many calories you need per day –and you definitely can’t rely on the standard 2,000 calorie per day diet recommended on nutrition labels.
Instead, calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This is going to be the total number of calories that you would burn off on a daily basis if you did nothing but lie in bed all day long without moving.
It’s the amount of energy that is required in order to keep your heart beating, your brain functioning, your lungs taking in oxygen, and so on. Basically, your BMR is how much energy you require at a minimum to stay alive.
Many factors can influence your basal metabolic rate. These include:
- Your age
- Your body fat percentage
- Your lean muscle mass development
- Your current health
- Your dietary composition
- Your stress levels
- Your sleep status
- The temperature of your environment
As you can see, there are quite a few things that factor in; however, BMR does tend to be relatively stable from individual to individual given body weight, height and body fat percentage are taken into account.
If you aren’t sure what your body fat percentage is, then you should use the following equation to calculate your BMR:
- Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds95.7) + (4.7 x height in inches298.45) – (4.7 x age in years126.9)
- Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in year)
If you do know your body fat percentage, then the following equation can be used, the results of which will be slightly more accurate:
- Lean Body Mass = [(100 – body fat percentage) / 100] x body weight x 10
Since fat tissue doesn’t burn as many calories at rest as muscle tissue, the more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn as a baseline. This is factored into the second equation, but not considered in the first.