Estimating Your Caloric Needs For Weight Gain, Weight Loss, Or Maintenance

          When you are trying to lose or gain weight in a healthy manner, it is important to remember that there are many factors affecting bodyweight. Some of these variables include activity level, gender, age, height, weight, and obviously genetics. It is also good to keep in mind that a pound of fat is about 3,500 calories so to burn fat you must create enough of a caloric deficit through exercise and/or dieting. Utilize the Harris-Benedict Equation which uses your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and incorporates an activity factor to determine your total daily energy expenditure in calories The main factor omitted by the Harris-Benedict Equation is lean body mass. Leaner bodies typically need more calories than those with a higher body fat percentage. Because of this, the Harris-Benedict Equation will be very accurate in all but the very muscular (underestimating calorie requirements) and those with very high levels of body fat (overestimating calorie requirements). The first step is to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR):

  1. Calculate Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR):

Standard BMR Formula
Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in year )

Metric BMR Formula
Women: BMR = 655 + ( 9.6 x weight in kilos ) + ( 1.8 x height in cm ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 13.7 x weight in kilos ) + ( 5 x height in cm ) - ( 6.8 x age in years )

2. Apply the Harris-Benedict Principle:
To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:
Sedentary: (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
Lightly Active: (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): BMR x 1.375
Moderately Active: (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): BMR x 1.55
Very Active: (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week):  BMR x 1.725
Extremely Active: (very hard exercise/sports, double training): BMR x 1.9

Frugal Fitness