How Many Calories Should I Eat?

By: Coach Vince

Most people know what they should and should not eat but not a lot of people know how much they should be eating.  Well don’t worry, after this breakdown you will have a much better idea on how much you should eat. I tried to keep this as simple and to the point as possible. This of course can/should be a much deeper discussion. If you want to have a deeper discussion on this, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Starting with your GOAL will help us determine how many CALORIES you should be eating. If your goal is basic weight loss and you sit at a desk all day, your calorie needs are different than, if your goal was weight loss but you are on your feet all day. Calories are divided into 3 different MACRONUTRIENTS. Macronutrients determine the make-up of the food eat. Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat are the three macronutrients.  Foods also contain MICRONUTRIENTS, which are broken down into vitamins and minerals.  All foods have Macronutrients but not all foods have Micronutrients.  Micronutrients are mostly found in fruits and vegetables, that’s why it’s so important to eat them. How many calories you eat will determine whether you gain, maintain, or lose weight. What the Macronutrient/Micronutrient breakdown of those calories are will determine how you look, feel, and/or perform (soft and round vs. hard and fit). You might be eating enough calories but your macronutrient breakdown might be off or vice versa. You may have your calories and your macros right but not the right EXERCISE. Below is guide to help set you up on the right path:

Goal                 Calories: BMR + TDEE      Macros: Pro/Carb/Fat               Exercise Intensity

Health              14 (Maintain)                    30/40/30%                                 Mixed low-mod

Fat loss            12 (Lose)                           35/30/35%                                 Mostly low

Performance    14 (Maintain)                    35/45/20%                                 Mixed low-high

Competition     16 (Gain)                           30/50/20%                                Mostly high

Here’s how the chart works:

  1. First determine your goal
    • Example: Fat loss
  2. Your current bodyweight x Goal (12, 14, 16)
    • Example: 200# x 12 = 2400 Calories
  3. Figure out your macros
    • Example: Fat loss
      • 2400x.35 = 840/4 = 210g of Protein
      • 2400x.30 = 720/4 = 180g of Carbs
      • 2400x.35 = 840/9=93g of Fat
  4. Match your exercise intensity to your goal
  5. Assess and adjust as needed

With all that said, each person is unique. The numbers provided above are a baseline and what works for most, but not all. This also goes without saying but stress and sleep will play a big role on you achieving your goal. Just trying to keep this simple to exercise and nutrition. I also don’t recommend a dramatic change in your nutrition overnight.  Most people struggle with “staying in their lane” (example: goal is fat loss, but eat enough calories for weight gain, and exercise for performance). If all this is brand new to you, here are some tips to get started.

  1. Start tracking your food on MyFitnessPal. Don’t change how you eat, just track what you eat to get a better idea on how many calories you eat and what your macro/micro nutrient profile looks like.
  2. Once you know how many calories you are getting in, I would then try to hit the Protein number based on your goal. Because most people aren’t great at eating enough protein, I would recommend taking this slowly (don’t jump from 100g to 210g overnight… slowly increase by 20g or so each week)
  3. Once you’ve reached your Protein goal, I would then move onto my Carb goal. Because most people overeat Carbs, I would slowly lower this until my goal was reached. Perfect world once your goal was hit, I would then look at how much fiber vs. sugar you are getting. Most people could have more fiber and less sugar.
  4. Once Protein and Carbs are hit, I would then work on Fat. Same as carbs, most people don’t have difficulty hitting fat, I would slowly lower this until my goal reached. Perfect world once you get this number balanced out I would look at how much healthy fat Poly/Mono unsaturated fats you are getting vs. trans fat.
  5. After 10-14 days of consistently hitting my goals, I would then Assess where I am at and adjust as needed.

“As long as you’re willing to make ADJUSTMENTS, you’ll always have PROGRESS.”

Nutritional changes take time and should be done slowly. This helps the body adjust appropriately and keep the mind from becoming overwhelmed and thus unlikely to stick with it. Take your time, be patient with yourself, and try to have some fun with the process. Of course, if you have questions, comments, or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out!