How to calculate your daily calorie requirement

How to calculate your daily calorie requirement

Every sporting activity burns calories. And many people do fitness because they want to lose weight or maintain their weight. But at least as many also do sports to look more athletic or muscular. The daily calorie requirement plays an important role in this. You can calculate it this way.

What does the daily calorie consumption consist of?

Calorie consumption is made up of three components:

  • Basal Metabolic Rate – This is the amount of calories your body consumes at rest. The organism thus maintains all vital processes. These include breathing, digestion, the work of the heart and all other organs. Incidentally, the muscles and liver account for the largest share of the basal metabolic rate (26 percent). In third place comes the brain with 18 percent. In total, the basal metabolic rate accounts for about 65 percent of your total calorie consumption.
  • Activity level – This component indicates how many calories you burn during physical activity. The logical consequence: The more active you are, the more calories you burn. However, no matter how hard you train, the activity rate is only about 20 to 25 percent of the calories you burn.
  • Thermal effect of food. Yes, the digestion of food also requires energy. The higher the fiber content of the diet, the more strenuous it is for the body. Nevertheless, the thermal effect of food accounts for a maximum of 10 percent of the total calorie consumption.

The Harris-Benedict formula

By far the world’s most commonly used formula to calculate calorie consumption is the Harris-Benedict formula. It considers age, weight, height, and gender. Since the factor is a physical or sporting activity, the result must be multiplied again by an activity factor. The disadvantage of this method is that it does not take body composition into account. Because we know that the more muscles there are, the more calories are consumed. But if you take this into account, you get an approximate value:

  • Men: 66.47 plus (bodyweight times 13, 7) plus (height times 5) minus (age times 6, 8)
  • Women: 655.1 + bodyweight in kg times 9, 6 plus height in cm times 1, 8 minus (age times 4, 7)
  • Activity index: If you do the moderate exercise once or twice a week, multiply the calculated value by 1, 375.
  • If you regularly exercise three or more times a week with moderate effort, multiply the value by 1, 55.
  • If you do intensive exercise several times a week, multiply the value by 1, 725.

Calorie requirement according to Katch and McCardle

The method according to Katch and McArdle is considered to be more precise. Because it also takes into account body composition. However, you have to measure your body fat percentage and that is not so easy. You either need a so-called fat caliper, which you have to be able to handle. Or you have to let a doctor determine it. For the calculation itself, you have to take your fat-free body mass into account.

  • Katch-McArdle formula: 370 + (21.6 × fat-free body mass in kg)
  • Example: You have a weight of 60 kilograms and 20 percent body fat. That’s 80 percent of 60 kilograms. So you take 60 kilograms times 0.8 and come up with 48 kilograms. You multiply this value by 21, 6, so 370 + (21.6 × 48). The result is 1407 calories.
  • Then you take the same activity index as in the Harris-Benedict formula.

What the calorie requirement is

If you take in more calories than you consume, you gain weight. If you want to build up more muscle mass, for example, the daily calorie intake may exceed your calorie requirements. So you must pay attention to what you eat. It should definitely be a plus in protein. The simple formula is here: If you make sure you consume enough protein and train accordingly, then the body uses the extra energy for muscle building.

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