How many calories should I be having?

Calories, Food -

How many calories should I be having?

Sometimes we get too caught up in the latest fad diets and forget the basics if calorie counting, so lets get back to square one. Weight gain and weight loss all boils down to one thing, your energy balance. In Lehmans terms, are you eating more calories that you are expending, or are you burning more than you are eating? One will gain weight (muscle or fat depending on exercise and diet) and one will lose weight.

If you are eating more calories than you are burning you are in a ‘calorific deficit’ and will lose weight if this deficit is maintained. If you are eating more than you are burning you are in a ‘calorific surplus’ and you will gain weight if this surplus is maintained. This is because calories basically are energy for your body. The more energy you need to use, the more calories you burn. The less energy you use, the more calories are stored by your body. 

So, how do you workout the amount of calories you should be eating to match your goal? To work this out you’ll want to calculate your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). Don’t worry, it’s not a crazy long calculation, just follow the link at the bottom of the page once you’ve finished reading this post. This number will be given to you in calories, this is ROUGHLY how many calories you burn when you go about your day with no additional exercise. From walking, breathing, scratching your head or tapping your fingers on the desk during a call, it all takes energy to move your muscles! 

If you’re looking to gain muscle weight during training, aim to eat 200-300 calories over the TDEE, if you’re looking to lose weight aim to eat 200-300 calories under the TDEE. You may have heard about Drastic diets where you cut down to 500 calories a day, this is dangerous, and will actually have a detrimental effect in the long run, slowing your metabolism down to counteract the lack of calories, making it harder to lose weight, and a lot easier to gain!

200 – 300 calories would be a moderate amount of calories to change your TDEE by, depending on how quick you want to changes to occur (the link below normally suggests a 500 calorie jump, however, we think that’s a little large to start off with). You can of course increase that number to 500, however that weight gain from a large surplus would likely consist of a fair bit of fat, whilst a 500 calorie deficit would leave you feeling very lethargic and decrease performance and ability to recover from training sessions greatly. 

 All of these numbers including the TDEE calculator output can change a lot from person to person, as we all define our activity levels slightly differently. We would recommend tracking your body weight alongside your calories for the first week or so, and tweak it as you see fit. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the fastest route to your goal may not always be the best one.

Any further questions don’t hesitate to reach out and we will see if we can point you in the right direction.

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1 comment

  • Jack

    I didnt realise my calories didnt include workouts

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