How Many Calories Should I Eat?

How many calories should you be eating??  This is a common question that I hear all the time.  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.  So if you’ve got an iPhone I would suggest the app Tap & Track, other smart phones can use apps from myfitnesspal.com or if you don’t have a smart phone (like me) you can use everydayhealth.com where they have a calorie tracker that works great.  So my first advice is TRACK what you eat!!!

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 deficit, meaning you need to eat 500-1000 less calories every day than the suggested amount.  I have wanted to cut weight, so I’ve been running at just over a 1000 calorie deficit and it has allowed me to lose 26 lbs. to date.  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 have not been doing this, but if you’re looking to bulk up and put on a lot of muscle you need to eat a lot of food!

Now that you know how many calories you need every day, you need to decide what plan you want to be on as far as percentages of protein/carb/fat you eat every day.  I’ll use the Fat Shredder Plan as an example because that is what I have used.  The Fat Shredder Plan says to eat 50% protein, 30% carbs, and 20% fat.  A helpful piece of information here is that protein and carbs have 4 calories per gram and fat has 9 calories per gram.  This helps you figure out how many grams you need of each.  So for example if you wanted to eat 2000 calories every day and stick to the Fat Shredder Plan, you would need to eat:

Protein : 2000 calories x 50% = 1000 calories / 4 calories per gram = 250 grams of protein every day

Carbs: 2000 calories x 30% = 600 calories / 4 calories per gram = 150 grams of carb every day

Fat: 2000 calories x 20% = 400 calories / 9 calories per gram = 44.44 grams of fat every day

This is just an example but should be helpful in figuring out your caloric needs every day.  I hope you now understand why it’s SO important to track everything you eat!  If you don’t track it it would be nearly impossible to stick to your calorie goals and also your percentage of p/c/f goals.  You might be eating way to much, often times people are eating waaaaay to many carbs which kills your weight/fat loss goals.  Also, sometimes people are starving themselves and not eating enough calories.  This also triggers your body to want to store fat and hang onto any weight you have because you’re not feeding it!

Nutrition in my opinion is way more important than the workouts.  Yes you need to bring it in the workouts, but if you’re not bringing it with your nutrition you’re not going to get the results you want!!  If you’re going to put all the hard work in for the workouts please don’t waste it and ruin your results by eating garbage!  I know this can take time to figure out and get right, but start today and ask questions when you have them!!!

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  2. […] like that for you, but I do recommend you do a few things to set yourself up for success.  First, calculate how many calories you need to eat, then pick a nutrition phase, which determines the percentages of protein, carbs and fat that you […]

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