Use the form to determine what your food intake should be in a day. Scroll below to determine your body fat percentage.
The most important part for your fitness and dream body is nutrition, and the most important part of nutrition is knowing how many calories to eat.
Fortunately, we make it simple for you. Enter your body weight, body fat percentage, activity level, and fitness goal in the table below. This all determines out how many calories you need to eat in a day.
A few quick notes, make sure to weigh yourself first thing in the morning to get your weight. This is before drinking or eating and after any bowel movements. For better accuracy, weigh yourself over a few days and take the average.
Second, if you don’t know your body fat percentage, there is a section later in the article telling you how to figure it out.
Now keep in mind that this calorie amount is not exact. Each person is different, so make sure you are diligent (at least in the beginning) with tracking your weight and caloric intake, and adjust as necessary for you.
If you looked at a lot of calorie calculators in the past, you probably noticed that we changed our fitness multiplier. The standard amounts we find tend to overestimate how many calories you need to eat in a day. We adjusted the activity multipliers to give the adjusted values. We recommend you start by following the adjusted amount.
Not sure what these other numbers mean? Make sure to keep reading.
Knowing your body fat percentage is critical to knowing how many calories to eat. While it is difficult to get an exact percentage, fortunately it is simple to get close. There are two ways that we recommend.
First, buy a pair of body fat calipers. These cost less than $10 for a good pair and give you accuracy within a couple percent (this is all we really need).
Second, you can compare your figure to the images below:
Match yourself to one of the pictures that looks closest, and use the corresponding body fat percentage. It’s not perfect, but it is more than good enough for determining your calories.
See, that was easy, right?
Many people think that calorie tracking is a lot of work. In reality, it is pretty simple and only takes a few minutes a day.
In fact, we show you how here in a video we offer in the Ignite Master Chef Program (we cannot help but give away valuable information from our courses):
All those “innovative” diets rarely discuss calorie tracking, which is why they are worthless. We are here to tell you that dieting in the typical sense is not necessary if you make understanding calories work for you.
What we discuss here is based on science – and it is very simple to understand too. Make sure to read this page. This is one of the most important things you need to know for your health.
Simply, a calorie is a unit of energy, and it is the most important thing you need to understand for burning fat and building lean muscle. It is another form of joules BTUs, but used specifically for food.
And a quick note on the units for the scientifically minded, all the calories you see on food labels are really kilo-calories (kcal), which is different compared to the form of calories used in anything besides food.
But back to the main point…
Calories are important because each day for you is an energy balance. You eat a certain amount of calories and burn a certain amount. If you eat more than you burn over time, you gain weight. You burn more than you eat, you lose weight.
This is a basic law of thermodynamics, so there are no exceptions – ever.
Based on the science, about 95% of the human population are within 15% of the metabolic mean. This means that if the calorie calculator determines you need a 2,000 calorie diet, 95% of people who also got 2,000 calories will need something within 15% of that amount to maintain their weight. This comes to between 1,700 and 2,300 calories per day.
Once you know your caloric need, you can adjust your diet to meet your goals. Want to lose weight? Eat a 20% caloric deficit each day...
Want to build muscle? Eat about 10% more calories…
As long as you are consistent and understand your energy balance, you will meet your goals – no special diets necessary.
Macronutrients are exceptionally important to know. Fortunately, there are only three types: fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
All three are important to maintain or build muscle, reduce body fat, and for overall health. Especially when living an active lifestyle, a certain caloric breakdown for each is best. This is what our calculator shows, so we save you from the math (you can thank us later).
Contrary to much belief, fats and carbohydrates are needed. There are many health benefits that we will not list here, but it is critical to eat the right amounts.
If you ever hear someone say to eliminate fats or carbohydrates, RUN!!! They are clueless on the science behind nutrition.
Before we explain, we need to give you some numbers. The numbers are 9 calories per gram of fat, and 4 calories per gram of protein and carbohydrates (more on these soon).
Also, it is important to know that depending on your fitness goals, your macronutrient breakdown changes. For example, people that want to lose weight should eat a different amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats than someone that wants to maintain or gain weight.
Based on your goals, your breakdown should look like the following:
1. Weight Loss
Protein: (0.8 g/lb of body weight) x (4 calories/g)
Fat: (0.25 g/lb of LBM) x (9 calories/g)
Protein: (1.0 g/lb of body weight) x (4 calories/g)
Fat: (0.3 g/lb of LBM) x (9 calories/g)
3. Weight gain
Protein: (1.2 g/lb of body weight) x (4 calories/g)
Fat: (0.35 g/lb of LBM) x (9 calories/g)
Now let us say you weigh 150 pounds with 15% body fat and you want to lose weight. Let’s also say that the calculator shows you need about 1,750 calories. First, this means your LBM (lean body mass, which is your weight excluding any body fat) is the following:
LBM = 150 pounds x (100% - 15%) = 127.5 pounds
So you would eat in the breakdown below:
Protein = 150 lb x 0.8 g/lb x 4 calories/g = 480 calories
Fat = 127.5 lb x 0.25 g/lb x 9 calories/g = 287 calories
Carbohydrates = 1,750 – 480 – 287 = 983 calories
When it comes to cooking foods to fit these numbers, it is actually a lot easier than it appears. We recommend that you plan out your meals for the day. Better yet, plan for the week!
When planning, make sure to plan your fats first. Next plan your proteins and finally your carbohydrates. Since there are many foods with mostly protein or mostly carbohydrates, this approach makes it relatively simple.
We highly recommend that you plan your macronutrients and align them with your goals. This will maximize your efforts.
However, this is not a matter of life or death, so you really don’t need to get this strict with tracking your macronutrients. If you want to maximize your physical potential, definitely track them, but by tracking your overall calories and trying to eat healthy most of the time, most of the work for your fitness goals are already complete.
It is sometimes hard to believe, but you can completely disregard the macronutrient breakdown, eating candy and cakes all day and still lose weight, as long as you burn more calories than you consume.
Technically, you can eat anything, but we highly recommend not doing it because poor overall health and muscle loss are likely to result.
Also, if you eat poor quality foods and at a deficit, you will slow your metabolism and in turn, need to eat even less to lose weight.
Yes, well, sort of. As we mentioned above, to meet your fitness goals, you need to match your calorie consumption to calorie expenditure.
This is why if you understand your calories, you can eat food like pizza and burgers. As long as you eat healthy most of the time and account for these higher calorie meals in your overall energy balance, you will meet your goals.
Importantly, you also need to keep the macronutrients close to what the calculator recommended. This will give you the best results.
To keep it easy, we use the Katch-Macardle model. It is usually the most accurate because it also accounts for body composition (many others use height, age, and weight). We want to keep this part short and simple, but we want you to understand the basics of what we are doing. Stick with us here…
Your body has a certain number of calories that it burns by simply living. If you were lying in a coma all day, this is the amount of energy your body requires to maintain homeostasis, if you will, called your Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR.
Since we live in a universe where there are laws of thermodynamics, when you move, take action, and attack average, your body uses fuel. The whole energy needed for this living thing is called Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or TDEE for short.
You also have to factor in the cost of digesting and utilizing food, which is called the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF), but this is built into the calculations, so no need to worry it.
To transform your body, you need to focus on the basic fact we discussed earlier – if you want to lose weight, you need to burn more energy than you consume. To maintain weight, eat the same. To gain weight, eat more. This is a simple energy balance and is an immutable law of thermodynamics.
The actual Katch-Macardle equation looks like the following:
BMR = 370 + (21.6 x LM)
LM = lean body mass in kg.
TDEE = BMR x activity multiplier x fitness goal multiplier.
Your activity multiplier accounts for how often you exercise and move around in life. The more active, the more calories needed, so the higher the multiplier.
The fitness goal multiplier accounts for whether you want to lose weight, maintain weight, or gain weight.
By properly using the calculator, tracking your progress, and making any diligent and necessary adjustments, you will definitely meet your goals.
Take action, action, and more action!
Results will not come unless you act upon your knowledge. Now that you know, make sure to apply it – starting today.
However, if you need some help, like with simple, healthy recipes and the knowledge of meal preparation to make your dream body a reality, check out our video page. For a more detailed program, make sure to check out the Ignite Master Chef Program. If you want to know how to take it even further, we offer a fitness program called Elevate.
In all the information we offer, we promise to eliminate the bullshit and give you what works. Both of these programs offer you the simple, scientifically validated knowledge that you need to attack average.
If there are any questions, as always, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help and serve.