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Considerations To Determine Your Calorie Intake

How much you can eat lies at the epicentre of your nutritional goals. 

Above all else how many calories you eat will determine whether you lose, maintain or gain bodyweight (and/or body fat). 

Yes, there are a few other factors, for example hydration and glycogen levels which are usually impacted by your carbohydrate intake (or lack of) but these will mainly effect your bodyweight levels, not your body fat levels, and that’s an important point.

Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all solution to work out your personalised calorie goals. 

This being due to the number of factors which play a part, some small, some big. 

Let’s take a look at what we need to consider… 

1 – Age

I think it’s pretty well known and you are probably aware that your metabolism will slow down as you age, meaning you will burn less calories.

So an 18 year old would burn more calories than a 80 year old.

2 – Sex 

Biological males will burn more calories than a biological female. As such, when factoring this into the equation for your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), the difference would be around 160 calories per day, with everything else being equal. 

Note… Your BMR is effectively the number of calories your body will burn a day with no additional movement, i.e if you were to lay in bed all day. 

3 – Height & Weight

Taller, heavier people would have a higher BMR (and burn more calories) than a shorter, lighter person.

If you’re on a weight loss programme for example, you won’t lose height so that won’t change anything but your bodyweight will decrease week-by-week.

This is a key reason why you after a while your calorie goals would need to be adjusted as you lose weight to account for this.

If you don’t make the necessary adjustments to either calorie intake or schedule an increased calorie burn through more movement, your weight will plateau.

Sound familiar? It likely will do as lots of people experience this and don’t know why.  

4 – Body Type / Metabolism 

You’ve only got to walk down the street to see that we all come in different shapes and sizes. 

We also do varying degrees burn or utilise calories differently. 

You could be someone who feels like you only has to look at a cake to put weight on, or you could be someone who feels like they only have to look at a dumbbell to gain muscle. 

I even read something last week that showed that 2 identical twins seen massively different results with all things being equal, including their calorie intake with one losing weight and one gaining weight. 

When you see things like this, it’s worth pointing out that trial-and-error and patience need to be part of your arsenal along the way.

5 – Activity Levels

This would have a tend to have a much bigger impact than any of those listed above. 

If you don’t exercise at all your calorie requirements would be very different from that of a professional athlete training for 10+ hours per week.

6 – Your Goals

Once you’ve worked out an approximate figure based upon all of the above, it comes down to what you’d like to do in terms of your body weight and fat levels. 

Typically speaking, if you wanted to lose a pound a week you’d be looking to create a calorie deficit in the region of 3,500 calories across the week, or 500 per day. 

With this being the case, let’s say we’ve factored in everything and determined your calorie burn to be 17,500 calories over the week, this means your calorie goal to lose a pound over that same week would be 14,000 (or 2,000 calories per day).

As you can see there’s lots to consider when working out your calorie goals and over the years i’ve devised my own formulas and algorithm so I can work out what they are for myself and my personal clients in a few minutes and from there we get to work and make small adjustments as and when required along the way.

I will remind you once more that trail-and-error combined with patience are a must.

I’d highly recommend trying to either work out your own calorie needs or get the help of a professional to set you of on the path to a healthy, vibrant lifestyle.

Thanks for reading, have a great day.


Do you need confidential help with your health, fitness or nutrition? I have a range of services available, with Personal Training in my Private Gym in Manchester, also at your home or workplace in the surrounding areas. For clients further afield, I provide Online Personal TrainingNutritional Consultancy & Private Fitness Holidays.

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