How Many Calories Do I Need Per Day?

How Do I Calculate Caloric Needs Based On My Goal (gain/loss/maintain)?

Listen, figuring out [tag-tec]how many calories a day you need[/tag-tec] to lose weight, maintain your weight or gain weight really isn’t too hard. And with the formula I’m about to give you plus a very cool website, you can easily track where you are and what you need to do daily to reach your goals. So lets’ begin!


Step 1:

Take your current body weight in pounds (lbs) and multiply by 11.

Example: 194 lbs x 11 = 2134 calories

This is what I need to just keep what I have, without moving. But remember, you do move. So you have to then calculate your metabolic factors into this… so off to step 2…

Step 2:

Figure out your metabolic factor according to the table below.

But first, some definitions to help you determine where you might fit in:

Slow Metabolism: You basically look at food and you seem to put on pounds. You can gain weight by eating salads but it’s difficult to lose the weight.

Moderator Metabolism: You can gain weight if you try. You can lose weight if you try. You really don’t have trouble losing weight depending on what you want to do.

Fast Metabolism: You are the skinny guy or gal who can eat *ANYTHING* and it makes no difference. Gaining weight is difficult. Losing weight can happen overnight. Just by watching T.V. you seem to shed pounds.

Metabolic %

Under 30 years old

Slow Metabolism- 30%

Moderate Metabolism- 40%

Fast Metabolism- 50%

30-40 years old

Slow Metabolism- 25%

Moderate Metabolism- 35%

Fast Metabolism- 45%

Over 40 years old

Slow Metabolism- 20%

Moderate Metabolism- 30%

Fast Metabolism- 40%

Example: 2134 calories x 35% = 746.90

I took my calories needed above just to sit here and not move and multipled it by my metabolic factor and I find that I need an additional 746.90 calories because of my specific metabolism.

Step 3:

Put it together.

2134 + 746.90 = 2880.90 calories

I need 2,880.90 calories to maintain my current weight with my current activities.

Note: You can also adjust your metabolic factor if you do something that might take you to the next level. If you are a moderator metabolism person but you do distance running, it might make more sense to put your self in the fast category since you burn a lot more calories.

Step 4:

Now change the above with about 500 calories every day to reach your goals!

Lose Weight: I would take 2880.90 – 500 = 2380.90

Maintain Weight: I would just leave it at 2880.90 and continue what I was doing in my activities

Gain Weight: I would take 2880.90 + 500 = 3380.90

Note: 500 calories a day is just a general term everybody uses to say that adding this amount is within safe limits. Eat too much, and you end up storing fat. Cut too many calories and your body just goes into starvation mode and ends up retaining more fat. 500 is a safe, recommended guideline.

Step 5:

You must track what you are eating so you’ll know if you’ve made your goal for the day. And tracking food does not have to be complicated with weights and scales.

It’s a shame that so many people just start training and never figure out what they need to eat daily to reach their goals.

Marc’s Recommendation:

You can keep doing the math over and over as you reach a goal. If you are bulking, your requirements will change as you progress. And when you lose weight they will as well. You might want to lose weight, reach a target weight and then maintain. So you will do this formula again when you have hit the weight you want.


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6 Responses to "How Many Calories Do I Need Per Day?"

  1. stef:
    August 22, 2008 01:21 am

    That was the easiest way I’ve ever heard to calculate how many calories I need each day, and how many I need to lose a few pounds! Thanks

    Leave a reply  
  2. Roman Moro:
    July 08, 2010 10:23 pm

    great advice, thank you.

    Leave a reply  
  3. Tiffanyluongg:
    March 04, 2011 01:57 am

    thank you explanation
    very easy to understand

    Leave a reply  
  4. Anonymous:
    September 19, 2011 01:48 pm

    When he wrote “my current weight with my current activities.” sort of threw a very ambiguous element into the equation.  I wish he would have given and example of his “current activities”, for example is his exercise routine light, medium, or heavy, what sort of weight training does he do, etc etc etc. Maybe not list anything too complicated but lacking this data doesn’t help us understand this equation as it left something important out. I still would like to thank him/you for posting the above information as I did find it very helpful.

    Leave a reply  
  5. Rodrigo:
    August 11, 2012 05:42 pm

    I don’t understand how 500 calories is the excess we need to reach our goals.

    In another page (, you say one needs to eat 5-6 meals a day, even more, to put on lean mass. Before bodybuilding, someone who has the normal 3 meals a day will be taking about the maintenance amount of calories (say, 2500 to 3000 calories a day). Doubling the number of meals is bound to about double that to around 5000, *not* add 500 calories like you are suggesting on this page. So the two pages seem contradictory to me. Can you clarify?



    Leave a reply  
    1. Marc:
      August 12, 2012 02:37 pm

      Just as a guideline.. not a hard and fast rule.. that’s 500 calories per DAY. Not per meal. So if you end up having multiple smaller meals a day, you just add a few hundred calories and at the end of the day, you are slightly above what you need. If you choose to do 2-3 meals, then you’ll add a couple hundred. Overall, it’s important to monitor your progress vs. your activity so you can adjust as necessary. For all you know, 100 is enough for you to start making progress. Maybe 1000. The number is just a starting point but in no way set in stone.

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