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Counting Calories

Counting calories is a very important part of weight management. It doesn’t matter if fat loss or muscle gain is the primary goal, if you want to improve the way you look, proper calorie intake is critical. For the most part, people are unsure as to how many calories they need to attain their goals. To help solve that problem, here are a couple formulas to help you determine your proper caloric intake. All you need is a little high school math.

The first formula helps determine your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR is the amount of calories that you burn while at rest, and is the minimum amount of calories required to perform the necessary functions of life.

For women, the formula is:

655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age) = BMR

For men, the formula is:

66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age) = BMR

To figure out the formula, do what is in parentheses first, then follow the formula from left to right.

Example: 130 pound woman, 5 foot 6 inches tall, 30 years old

655 + (4.35 x 130) + (4.7 x 66) – (4.7 x 30)

655 + (565.5) + (310.2) – (141) = 1389.7

So the woman in this example would need 1389.7 calories per day, just to survive. This next formula compliments the BMR formula, and gives a more accurate calorie intake level based on physical activity. This is known as the Harris Benedict Formula and to do this one, the BMR should already have been determined.

For a sedentary person (someone who doesn’t work out or have a physically demanding job):

BMR x 1.2 = calorie level

For someone who is lightly active (works out one to three days per week):

BMR x 1.375 = calorie level

A moderately active person (exercises between 3 to 5 days per week):

BMR x 1.55 = calorie level

A very active person (exercises 6 to 7 days per week):

BMR x 1.725 = calorie level

An extra active person (physically demanding job, plus exercise on a regular basis):

BMR x 1.9 = calorie level

You need to be honest when calculating the Harris Benedict Formula. Don’t consider yourself moderately active if you worked out three times in one week, but that was two months ago. With these two formulas at hand, you can now determine what your daily caloric intake should be. With this information, your health and fitness goals should be easier to reach, but as with any nutrition plan, you must have the desire and the discipline to succeed.