How Many Calories Do I Need?

how many calories do I needHow many calories do I need?  This is a common question that I hear all the time.  That’s what I love about Beachbody workouts.  they actually give you a nutrition guide that tells you how many calories you need.  The nutrition plans that come with workouts like P90X are thorough and extremely helpful.  In my opinion, if you’re not following the nutrition guide, you’re not really doing the whole program.

Are you Tracking How Many Calories You Eat?

First off, you need to be tracking what you eat.  If you’re not tracking what you eat, then it’s nearly impossible to know what adjustments you might need to make. If you’re not tracking, then I highly recommend setting up an account at  You can use it online or on your smartphone and it’s an awesome resource.  Check out more details here: Tracking Calories with Myfitnesspal.

For me, everything changed when I started tracking my calories.  My first month of Insanity, I didn’t follow my nutrition plan or track what I ate.  And guess what?  I didn’t see any results!  Not really that surprising is it?  Then came month 2 and I decided to dial in my nutrition, tracking everything I ate.  That month I lost 17 lbs.  It really does make a big difference.

Calculating How Many Calories You Need

To figure out how many calories you should be eating, there is a formula in the P90X Nutrition guide that is easy to use (I’ll use my starting numbers as an example).  Here are the steps:

1) Calculate your resting metabolic rate (RMR):  Your body weight x 10 = RMR  For me  this was 200 x 10 = 2000

2) Calculate your daily activity burn: Your RMR x 20% = DAB  For me this was 2000 x 20% = 400

3) Add the calories required for your exercise needs: RMR + DAB + 600 = Energy Amount  For me: 2000 + 400 + 600 =  3000

Your end result is the number of calories that you would need to eat while doing P90X to maintain your weight.  So if I had wanted to stay at 200 lbs. I would have eaten 3000 calories a day.  If you want to lose weight, you need to run at a calorie deficitmeaning you need to eat 500-1000 less calories every day than the suggested amount.  During my first round of P90X I wanted to cut weight, so I ate just over a 1000 calorie deficit and doing that helped me lose a total of 34 lbs.  If you want to gain weight, you need to run at a calorie surplus, meaning you need to eat 500-1000 calories more than the suggested amount.  I did this during Body Beast and put on some lean muscle.  Here are my Body Beast Results.

What About The Macros?

The macros, or the percentage breakdown of protein, carbs and fat you eat is important too.  But today I just wanted to cover how to calculate how many calories you need.  This is a fairly simple formula, but I’ve found it to be accurate.  I know there are many different tools out there that come up with different numbers, but I have found success with this.  Plus it already incorporates the number of calories burned for a workout, so you don’t need to worry about inputting your exercise into myfitnesspal.

I’ll do a separate post all about macros as they are very important too, but hopefully this post helps you figure out how many calories you need!

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