# Calories 101

So calories are just a measure of energy, much like a centimetre is for length. So you have what is called a Basic Metabolic rate BMR which is the energy that you use on a day to day basis, so breathing, walking even thinking and talking. Any excess calories that you don’t use get turned to fat and this is where we are going to look at what we eat and calculating out BMR and calorie intake based on how much activity we are going to do.

The simplest way to think about for weight loss is: our energy intake needs to be lower than our calorie output. And that’s why calculating our BMR and energy output is crucial.

BOTTOM LINE:

When you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. Counting calories can help you eat fewer calories and lose weight.

## How Many Calories Should You Eat?

So this is where you need a pen and paper, or keep the blog post open.

We’re going to calculate out calorie needs, by calculating our BMR and then adjusting it for our own personal goals and activity levels.

So this is the Harris-Benedict Formula (different for Men and Women) this will give us our BMR

Males
BMR = 66.5 + ( 13.75 × weight in kg ) + ( 5.003 × height in cm ) – ( 6.755 × age in years )
Females
BMR = 655.1 + ( 9.563 × weight in kg ) + ( 1.850 × height in cm ) – ( 4.676 × age in years )

So now to add an activity multiplier:

The multipliers reflect varying levels of activity throughout a one-week period.
If you exercise lightly one to three times per week, multiply by 1.375.
If you exercise three to five days per week, multiply by 1.55.
For exercise six or seven days per week, multiply by 1.725.
If you exercise seven days a week and also have a physically demanding job, multiply by 1.9.

So now we need to work it out and then we will almost be there.

BMR x (activity rate) = Calorie intake per day

So using this number depending on your goal we want to either add or take away 20% of you daily calorie target.

so for fat loss it would be

Calorie intake – 20%

and muscle gain or weight gain

Calorie intake + 20%

Of course you can go more extreme if you’re looking for faster changes but I wouldn’t ever recommend more than a 40% deduction or addition.

BOTTOM LINE:

The exact amount of calories you need will depend on a number of different factors, including your gender, age, weight and activity levels. Use this formula above to work out your daily requirement.

## Tracking Calories

Lots of apps and websites are available to simplify the process by providing quick and easy ways to log the food you eat.

Even if you only track your food intake irregularly, studies show that people who do so tend to lose more weight.

Here’s a list of some of the most popular free calorie-counting apps/websites:

My Fitness Pal.
Lose It!
FatSecret.
Cron-o-meter.
SparkPeople.

So now that we have your calorie intake we want to think about what kind of things we eat, but that comes for another post. All we need to know now is that if you eat less calories than you burn then you will burn fat.

When it comes to foods and the human body, different calories are better than others, so for example the health benefits to your body eating healthy food will be far more beneficial than eating crap. Starting out though lets hit our calories and make sure that we aren’t over eating.