How Many Calories Should I Consume?

How many calories should I consume?











This is a question that often comes up during a weight loss phase for those folks that want to be in control of what they are consuming and how much. It is a fair question to ask because you want to maximize your efforts and achieve a weight loss goal sooner rather than later. 

For most folks, “eat in moderation” is enough advice for them, so they run with that and achieve some admirable success. However, for the sake of this blog post, let’s suppose you are a hard loser and losing weight has never been easy for you.

Eating in moderation may not be enough for you, so you will need more specific guidelines and education to achieve weight loss, so you ask your trainer: how many calories should I consume?

First, know that the calories in food/beverages are NOT exact and will never be. There are simply too many factors to take into account to give an exact measurement, so the guidelines will be a range rather than an exact total.

Second, with a margin of error rate of  +/- 25%, counting calories is not a recommended method for weight loss, nor is it timely.

So, I will answer your question of how many calories should I consume by determining your activity level and fitness goal. (We will assume you want to lose weight)


The recommended total number of calories that should be consumed for weight loss based upon your activity levels are as following:

Sedentary (minimal exercise) 10-12 x bodyweight in pounds (lbs.)

Moderately active (3-4 times a week) 12-14 x bodyweight in pounds (lbs.)

Highly active (5-7 times a week) 14-16 x bodyweight in pounds (lbs.)

Next, in order to maximize your results you will then use a mathematical formula based on your body type using the 3 macronutrients as your basis for calorie consumption.

Ectomorphic (naturally skinny with thin limbs) Protein: 25% Carbs: 55% Fats: 20%

-          Fast metabolism, high carbohydrate tolerance

Mesomorphic (Tall, muscular, and athletic) Protein: 30% Carbs: 40% Fats: 30%

-          Moderate carbohydrate tolerance

Endomorphic (short, naturally broad and thick) Protein: 35% Carbs: 25% Fats: 40%

-          Slow metabolism, low carbohydrate tolerance


*** You can be a mix of both. If this is the case, go with the one that seems most fitting for you given your current state***


After finding out your body type, you will take then do some math to figure out how many calories you need of each macronutrient.

For example, a 150lb sedentary endomorphic woman wants to lose weight.

1. Take her bodyweight and multiply it by 10-12.

- 150*10 = 1500 calories needed

- 150*12 = 1800 calories needed

 2. Take 1500 and 1800 and multiply it by the percentages listed next to the endomorphic body type:

-          1500*35% (protein) = 525 protein calories

-          1500*25% (carbs) = 375 carb calories

-          1500*40% (fats) = 600 fat calories 

-          1800*35% (protein) = 630 protein calories

-          1800*25% (carbs) = 450 carb calories

-          1800*40% (fats) = 720 fat calories


Ranges:

Protein: 525-630 calories from protein

Carbs: 375-450 calories from carbs

Fats: 600-720 calories from fat

3. Because it is very difficult to quickly find out what 525 calories of protein equates to I am going to simplify this even further for you. We know from the back of food items that food is measured in grams, so that’s what I’ll do for you now. I will convert all of the calories to grams to give you some solid numbers to go off of from here.


 ***1 GRAM of protein is 4 calories, 1 GRAM OF carbs is 4 calories, and 1 GRAM of fats is 9 calories.***


Protein: 525/4 = 131.25 grams of protein 630/4 = 157.5 grams of protein (GOAL: 131.25 – 157.5 grams of protein)

Carbs: 375/4 = 93.75 grams of carbs  450/4 = 112.5 grams of carbs (GOAL: 93.75 – 112.5 grams of carbs)

Fats: 600/9 =  66.6 grams of fats  720/9 = 80 grams of fats (GOAL: 66.6 – 80 grams of fats)

The highlighted areas are the final totals that this woman should be shooting for in terms of the calories she should be consuming. Not so bad, right? Remember, counting calories is an inexact science and very time consuming to do day in and day out. Luckily, we live in a digital age and can use things such as apps and online programs to track this stuff. The great part is that they are already programmed with thousands of food items to save you time and effort! I recommend www.myfitnesspal.com.

Now, you have the formulas and you have the explanations as to how to find your totals, so get counting and good luck during your weight loss journey!

What calorie counting apps do you use? Please share them so others can find the one they like the best!

Yours in Fitness,

Patrick Mullin, BS, CPT, Pn1

PS: You can have next week's post on what to eat to fill out those grams of protein, carbs, and fats sent to your inbox by clicking here and signing up for our newsletter!