Finding Your Nutritional Baseline: A Comprehensive Guide to Daily Caloric Needs
Your body uses the calories in your food to fuel its daily activities, from physical movements to biological functions. Therefore, you need a certain calorie intake each day to provide your body with enough energy to work properly. However, how many calories your body requires will depend on your fitness goals, such as if you are trying to shed some pounds, gain muscle, or maintain your weight.
Your daily calorie needs to lose weight will depend on the number of pounds you want to lose per week. So once you have determined a rate at which you want to shed weight, lower your daily calorie intake to a realistic number that will allow you to safely meet your goals.
When it comes to cutting down calorie intake for weight loss, this question- how to calculate maintenance calories?- is what many people ask. This calculation is pretty important because that’s how you will be able to align your calorie intake with your weight loss goals.
For instance, let’s say your calorie intake is 3,500 per week, and your aim is to shed one pound per week. Divide 3,500 by 7, which is the total number of days in a week, to arrive at 500 calories. Hence, you should start by cutting your daily calorie consumption by 500 calories to lose weight.
If your goal is to put on muscle, you would begin by taking your daily maintenance calories and then determine how many calories per day you need to add to it to gain muscle.
As a general rule, slowly increase your number of calories per day, starting with just 200. This way, it will help make it easier for you to maintain your muscle gain as opposed to just putting it all on at once.
Once you have reached your weight loss or muscle gain goals, you need to determine the daily calorie intake you need to maintain the results, also known as maintenance calories. This number will depend on your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
To arrive at your TDEE, determine the amount of daily calories your body needs just to carry out its basic functions, also known as the basal metabolic rate. Your body also needs a certain amount of calories per day to absorb your foods and break them down into energy, so you need to also factor in this number.
Exercise also accounts for a portion of your total daily expenditure, so you should also consider the total calorie intake your body requires to fuel your workout.
Lastly, even when you are not exercising, you still need calories to fuel your other everyday bodily movements. Therefore, you need to also add this number of required calories to the equation to come up with your TDEE.
Calculating your daily calorie requirements can be done in a couple of ways, but the easiest way is to record your food intake every day for up to a week or two to see how it affects your weight. They have several mobile apps to help you do this, or you can simply keep a food journal.
If you lose weight, you know how many calories you need to help you shed weight. However, if you gain weight, you know you need to decrease your calories to achieve weight loss, or if your goal is to bulk to gain muscle.
And if your weight stays the same, you know how many daily calories your body needs to sustain your current weight.
So, in the end, knowing your daily calorie intake needs for your specific fitness goals will help you achieve success. And hopefully, this brief guide has helped you learn the simplest ways to calculate it. Just remember, your needs will change once you achieve your goals. Therefore, continue to track your body’s response to your daily calorie intake to determine your new requirements. Also, try to stick to macronutrients and fiber-rich foods for your calories. This way, they will also help maintain your body’s overall health.