Planning to bulk up the body weight or lose fat? Either way, you’ll need to train hard to support your recovery with good nutrition.
But good nutrition alone isn’t enough. Because it is not just about what you eat but also how much you eat. So in order to get quantitative results you need to put in quantitative efforts in your nutrition.
And for making an effective nutrition plan for your body, it is essential to calculate its maintenance calories.
Maintenance calories is the amount of calories (irrespective of macronutrient ratios) your body needs to maintain its current bodyweight. There are many online calculators and equations via which you can find it out. But most of them give flawed outputs (+-200-800 calories).
Let’s dive into finding your exact maintenance calories.
Weigh Yourself Right
Most people don’t know their actual body weight. To know your actual weight you need to step on the weighing scale (digital one preferred) empty stomach in the morning, after the washroom rituals, without wearing clothes.
Good news: the weight you’re seeing every day in the gym is probably more than your real body weight.
Weight And Calorie Check-Ins
For the next two weeks weigh yourself everyday (as described in step1) and also record the calories you’re consuming in foods as accurately as possible. Use food weighing scale when cooking food yourself and refer to online data bases such as myfitpal and calorie king when eating outside. At the end of 2 weeks you will have 14 weight check ins and 14 calorie check ins.
Find the average
Add the 14 calorie check ins and divide it by 14. That’s how much of calories you consumed everyday on an average. Let’s assume it came out to be 2100.
Then, split your weigh-ins into 2 weekly averages, by adding your first 7 weigh-ins together and dividing by 7 and doing the same thing with your last 7 weigh-ins as seen below.
|Week 1||Week 2|
|Average 142.1||Average 142.3|
Well, we know that 1 lb (0.5 kg) of adipose tissue contains 3500 calories. Therefore, we can estimate how much of a surplus or deficit you are in based on weight change.
Hypothetically, if you gained 1 lb (0.5 kg) of fat in a week, you would be, on average, consuming 500 calories more than your maintenance per day, as 7 days x 500 calories = 3500. So if you only gained 0.2 lbs (0.1 g), you simply multiply 3500 x 0.2, which is 700 calories. This means in the above example you are in a weekly surplus of 700 calories. And on an average, you are daily consuming 100 calories more than your maintenance (700 calories divided by 7 days).
Thus, you know that since your average intake over 14 days was 2100 calories, you know maintenance is roughly 2000 (2100 – 100 calories).