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Week 2.2 - How to calculate and monitor calories

Today we are covering how to calculate how many calories you need every day and how to monitor what you consume, I will also provide some tips along the way to help meal planning and weekly shops. Today we will be specifically covering:

. How to calculate daily calories

. How goals relate to daily calories

. What calorie counting tools are there

. How to plan your week

. Tips on calorie counting

How to calculate daily calories

There are numerous online sources to calculate calories however a good way which is used by diabetes associations:


Step 1 - take your bodyweight in kg and times it by the following:

Female - 0.9

Male - 1 (this is just your bodyweight in kg)

Step 2 - Once you have that number, times that number by 24

Step 3 - Multiple the number you now have by the applicable number below:

Result - the number you now have is your required daily calories if you participated in no exercise called basal metabolic rate (BMR)

Example - 61 kg (134.5 lbs.) x 0.9 (female) x 24 x 0.95 (20% body fat) = 1252

Step 4 - Add in exercise level. Times the result number by one of the below:

Example - 1252 (BMR) x 1.55 (Light Activity) = 1940 calories/day

Note - personal trainers will do a more thorough approach to calorie consumption and food diary analysis looking at macro/micronutrient, food timings and performance nutrition so it is always worth the money to ask for tailored advice.

How goals relate to daily calories

As discussed yesterday, different goals require different calorie needs. I will list some examples below referring to the total calorie number with an incredibly important note at the end:

Fat Loss

80-95% of total calories (Consuming around 5-20% less than total calories)

Muscle Gain

105-120% of total calories (Consuming around 5-20% more than total calories)

Performance & Maintenance

100% of total calories (Eating exactly the total calories)

Important notes:

. Less is not more! If you are too far below what you need daily your metabolism will slow, you will eat away at muscle mass and it generally is not a good idea for your body!

. More is not more! If you want to gain lean muscle mass hiking your calories will perhaps increase muscle mass growth but will put you into a greater risk of fat gain.

. The percentages that I have suggested above are my view, there may be others that disagree or medical reasons to increase on my percentages but I advocate for slower and sustainable fat loss & muscle gain.

What calorie counting tools are there

There is what I would consider the old age and new age of counting calories, the old age is food diary and new age is food tracking apps.

My personal calorie counting recommendation is myfitnesspal which you can download from the app store. Myfitnesspal allows you to scan barcodes, input foods & drinks which helps understand how many calories you have left for the day and what micronutrients you've had that day.

There are a lot of other types of calorie tracking apps similar to myfitnesspal but I have not personally used any of them.

How to plan your week

Once you know your calories and we have covered calorie splits (blog 2.7) you will know everything to plan your food intake for the future. There are some ways I promote that may help you in the future:

Step 1 - Plan in your protein (add in protein sources till you reach your recommended daily figure)

Step 2 - Add in your carbohydrate sources (including vegetables) till you have built your meals

Step 3 - Add in any oils, butters or sauces you will be using.

Note - Once you have done this for all meals you will see how many calories you have left, if you are over your calories - you will have to take some foods away or reduce portions till you are within your calories.

Step 4 - Do this task for the following week before going food shopping, by the end of the process - you will have your shopping list for the week!

Tips on calorie counting

. Not all fat free products are healthy - fat is often replaced by sugar. As we will discuss in blog 2.3 fats are actually better than sugars. Check the labels and look at the calories & sugar.

. Don't be scared of carbs - many diets victimize carbs, they aren't the enemy.

. Drinks - don't forget to log your drinks! Sometimes they are the most sugary items in the basket

. Make sure you log everything! Unlogged condiments can make up hundreds of calories in a day

. Prioritize protein! Make sure you get your protein in and then build meals around it.

Be your best!

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