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Calculating Your Daily Nutritional Needs

Eating the proper number of calories each day is crucial to your success. But do you know how to calculate it? Well we have got you covered! This article explains how we calculate this information for you and the formulas we use to determine the number of calories you should eat each day to maintain, gain or lose weight. You can use this information to calculate this on your own, or you can use our fitness calculator.


First you need to know your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate, or the amount of energy your body burns everyday excluding physical activity) to determine the minimum calories required for your body to LIVE. However, the ONLY accurate way to determine YOUR BMR requires a visit to the doctor. Fortunately, there are some scientific formulas out there to get an estimate of this number (Harris-Benedict, Mifflin-St Jeor, Katch-McArdle, and Cunningham). The formulas vary in their results and that is why you will find different numbers from source to source (apps, software, coaches, trainers, etc.) when you are trying to determine your BMR or number of calories you should be eating. WE (Flava) use formulas from your current weight, age, height and LBM (Lean Body Mass, or the amount of weight you carry on your body that is NOT fat), to find the average from the 2 methods with the highest and lowest results (Harris-Benedict & Cunningham). This gives us a middle ground estimation of your BMR to follow. Follow these steps to calculate your BMR on your own.

STEP 1: Calculate your LBM (Lean Body Mass)

(Current weight) – (Current weight x Body Fat %) = LBM

STEP 2: Calculate your Weight in kilograms & Height in centimeters:

Weight x 0.453592 = Weight in kg Height in Inches x 2.54 = Height in cm

STEP 3: Calculate your Basic Metabolic Rate Using the Cunningham Method

500 + (22 x LBM) = BMR

STEP 4: Calculate your Basic Metabolic Rate Using the Harris-Benedict Method

(Women) 447.593 + (9.247 × weight in kg) + (3.098 × height in cm) - (4.330 × age) = BMR

(Men) 88.362 + (13.397 × weight in kg) + (4.799 × height in cm) - (5.677 × age) = BMR

STEP 5: Find the average between the two methods

(Cunningham + Harris-Benedict) / 2 = Total Estimated BMR


Once you have estimated your BMR, you will need to calculate your required increase for daily activity by using a multiplier for your rate of activity (this multiplier varies from source to source). This will provide you with your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) from which you should slightly decrease your intake (approximately 80% but again it varies from source to source) to come up a starting point to determine your “proper daily calorie deficit”. The rate of activity and percentage multiplier varies from source to source because it is estimated. The BEST results will come from accurately tracking your daily caloric burn and adjusting the percentage decrease for the deficit to find a HEALTHY BALANCE! How do you know you have found a healthy balance? Because you are burning approximately 2 pounds of fat per week and you FEEL GOOD physically AND mentally (not starving, not tired, not having a ton of cravings, etc.). This is an ongoing process of “tweaking” as you have to find the balance for you. Additionally, as you lose weight and burn more of your stored fat, your calculations will change and you will have to adjust your daily calories. If followed properly, and losing a healthy amount of weight per week, you can avoid the ever dredged “Plateau”.

STEP 6: Determine your Physical Activity Multiplier

1.2 if you exercise 1-3 hours per week;

1.35 if you exercise 4-6 hours per week;

1.5 if you exercise 6 or more hours per week;

STEP 7: Calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure & Deficit:

TDEE (Estimated BMR x Activity Multiplier) x 80% = Daily Calories for Fat Loss


When it comes to this mathematical equation of burning energy and fat, at the end of the day your body really can't tell the difference between the calories in a cheeseburger and the calories in a salad. It simply goes back to the First Law of Thermodynamics discussed previously and a caloric deficit will still apply to weight loss. But obviously WE KNOW there are other factors within those two foods to take into consideration to properly REFUEL the body and get the proper nutritional value that your body needs. You will want to ensure that your caloric intake is achieved with the use of the proper amounts of Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats (Macronutrients).

STEP 8: Determine your Protein Intake Range

Super-lean: 10 percent or less body fat (men), 20 percent or less (women): 1.4 g/lb. or higher.

Lean: 15 percent (men) or 25 percent (women): 1.2 g/lb.

Average: 18-24 percent (men) or 25-31 percent (women): 1 g/lb.

Overweight or obese, calorie-restricted: 1.6-1.8 g/lb.

STEP 9: Determine your Protein Intake in Grams

Protein in Grams = LBM x (Range Multiplier)

STEP 10: Determine your Daily Fat Intake

Fat in Grams = (Daily Calories x 20%) / 9

(Because one gram of fat is 9 calories)

STEP 11: Determine your Daily Carb Intake

Carbs in Grams = (Daily Calories) – [(Daily Protein Grams x 4) + (Daily Fat Grams x 9)]

(Because one gram of carbs and/or proteins is 4 calories)

Again, this article is just a reference for you to know "how" to achieve this information but you can easily use our fillable fitness calculator and save yourself the time and headache. Unless you just LOVE math!

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