How many calories do I need when I exercise? What are my calorie needs for weight loss and weight gain? Are calorie needs different for men and women? These are questions you can answer with our calculator.
Calories are not bad, they are something we need to live and feel well, they are a measure of the energy content of food. As with most things in life, moderation is best, too low a calorie intake or too high a calorie intake will eventually lead to health problems.
On average, a man needs 2500 kcal a day to maintain a healthy weight equivalent to a woman's about 2000 kcal/day. There are several factors that influence how many calories you need, such as age, gender, genes, weight and activity level.
As one calorie is technically equal to another calorie, some foods are better and more nutrient-dense than others.
So while counting calories can be profitable, it can be just as important to focus on the quality of the food you eat. Foods high in sugar such as soft drinks, ice cream, sweets or foods high in saturated fat such as cheese, chocolate, cream, sausages and bacon are calorie-dense foods, also known as empty calories, that should be avoided. Instead, try to find foods that are nutritious, such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans, fish or whole grains.
What is your goal?
Regardless of which of the diets you choose, it all comes down to your calorie consumption versus your calorie intake. In other words, you have to learn to balance eating fewer calories than you burn if you want to lose weight or more calories if you want to gain weight.
Reducing your calorie intake by about 500 calories a day is usually equivalent to losing about 450 grams a week. Unfortunately, it is rarely just fat that is lost when you lose weight, but a combination of fat, water and lean tissue.
If you want to maintain your weight, you need to balance your calorie intake and calorie consumption.
And remember that if you are more or less active on any given day you will need to adjust your calorie intake.
The most important part of any weight loss program is your ability of following it.
To achieve a calorie deficit, you simply need to figure out how many calories you usually take in and then reduce it.
The reduction can happen either by burning more calories through exercise or a dietary change.
It's up to you to find a way that works for you.
Some examples that most people can do to reduce their calorie intake are to choose more nutritious foods such as root vegetables, berries, vegetables, fish and pulses and try to reduce the amount of processed foods you eat, drink more water, take a walk and of course avoid sweets, crisps and other snacks.
Weight gain & building muscle
To achieve weight gain or build muscle, you need to consistently supply more calories than your body needs. Your body can build around 100-250grams of muscle a week, depending on factors such as genes, age, gender and diet. So if your calorie surplus is too high in an attempt to build more muscle, there is a risk that you will instead put on more fat.
Remember, as time goes on and you hopefully succeed in your weight gain, you will of course need to increase your calorie intake to continue your weight gain.
There are many people who can maintain a healthy weight without ever counting calories, but for many others it can be an important tool when trying to reach their weight goal, whether it's to gain or lose weight. The first step in learning how to count calories is to find out your recommended calorie intake (use a calorie calculator).
Once you know how many calories you need per day, it's simply time to start counting the calories in all the food you consume. A good idea might be to find an app that can help you with this.