How Many Calories Does Someone Need a Day?
by Amanda Jane Snyder
The number of calories a person needs per day depends on various factors like age, sex, weight, height, and activity level. On average, an adult male needs around 2,500 calories per day, while an adult female needs around 2,000 calories per day. However, these recommendations are mostly just blanketed recommendations and the exact number of calories a person should consume daily based on their individual needs.
For example, an athlete's calorie consumption will depend on what season they're in. An Off-Season calorie consumption might look completely different than In-Season. As a trainer who works primarily with Actors, Singers, Dancers it's important for these artists to understand how to properly fuel their body. Similarly, this can be taken into consideration with general population as well depending on a person's current height, age, weight, sex and activity level plus their goals. One of the biggest mistakes I see is someone who's looking to build muscle but isn't eating enough calories to account for their desire to build. Muscle needs fuel in order to grow.
So how do we determine how many calories to consume? Let me help you break it down.
Discover your BMR and TDEE
In order to determine your calorie intake, we first have to discover your Basal Metabolic Rate (how many calories you burn at rest) and your Total Daily Energy Expenditure.
Mifflin-St Jeor Equation:
BMR = 10(Weight in kg) + 6.25(Height in cm) - 5(Age) + 5
BMR = 10(Weight in kg) + 6.25(Height in cm) - 5(Age) - 161
BMR x Activity Level
Sedentary = BMR x 1.2 (little or no exercise, desk job)
Lightly active = BMR x 1.375 (light exercise/ sports 1-3 days/week)
Moderately active = BMR x 1.55 (moderate exercise/ sports 6-7 days/week)
Very active = BMR x 1.725 (hard exercise every day, or exercising 2 xs/day)
Extra active = BMR x 1.9 (hard exercise 2 or more times per day, or training for marathon, or triathlon, etc)
Example: Your BMR is 1339 calories per day and your activity level is moderately active (work out 3-4 times per week). Your activity factor is 1.55 and your TDEE is 1.55 x 1339 = 2075 calories per day. This is the total calories you could eat everyday if you wanted to maintain your weight.
Plug in Your Goals
Depending on your goals you'll adjust your calories.
If you want to maintain your weight you can consume the exact amount as your TDEE.
If you want to lose weight, you'll want to eat 200-500 calories LESS than your TDEE.
I recommend starting on the lower end so that weight loss is sustainable and not sudden.
I also recommend consuming .8-1g/KG of bodyweight in protein a day. If you're OVER math, try and consume AT LEAST 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight a day. This will help you to lose fat rather than muscle.
If you want to gain weight, you'll want to eat 200-500 calories MORE than your TDEE. Start on the lower end to not overwhelm your system. Aim to eat .8-1g/KG of bodyweight in protein a day or AT LEAST 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight a day. Additionally try adding in high quality complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, rice and veggies to help with protein synthesis for optimal muscle growth.
In general, try and consume as little processed foods as possible. Keep it whole, keep it real. Processed foods usually are dense in calories and low nutritionally, leaving us feeling even more hungry than we started. The Food Satiety Index further explains which foods will keep you full in comparison to calorie ratio.
So how many calories should someone consume in a day? It depends! Hopefully these tools will help to determine what would work best for you during this time.
Amanda Jane Snyder is a Certified Nutrition Coach, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, and Mindset Coach living in Brooklyn, NY. She has been vegan since 2016. She specializes in Strength and Conditioning for Actors, Singers, and Dancers.