How do you find your maintenance caloric intake? Does it include the standard workout week?
HOW TO CALCULATE MAINTENANCE CALORIES
- First off, what are maintenance calories?
The amount of calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight. This is determinant on many different factors (age, height, sex, lean mass, hormones, exercise/activity level, diet, etc)
- Why is this important?
In order to gain muscle mass or lose fat you will have to be either in a caloric surplus or caloric deficit respectively. To determine how many calories you need you will need to know your maintenance and add (surplus) or subtract (deficit) from that. (Note: Cardio can definitely help you put yourself in a deficit by burning more calories in your workout HOWEVER if you still end up eating more calories you may still end up at maintenance or even at a surplus!!!)
- What’s the formula?
There’s many different formulas and some might be better than others but here here is a VERY simple calories per unit weight calculation which is based on how active your lifestyle is (it is not very specific to individual and offers too wide of a range sometimes but it gives you a good guessimate for you to try to find your maintenance)…
- normal, healthy, sedentary individuals: 12-13 kcal/lb
- moderate activity (active 3-5x a wk): 14-15 kcal/lb
- highly active lifestyle (active 5+ a wk): 16-17kcal/lb
ex. I am moderately active and weigh ~125lbs so… 125lbs x 14kcal = 1750kcal and 125lbs x 15kcal = 1875kcal so… ~1750-1875kcal is the range in which my maintenance most likely lies
NOW to get a more accurate measure you will have to narrow it down… for about 2-4 weeks monitor your weight by weighing yourself every morning when you wake up and before you consume any food. At the end of the week take an average of them and compare it to the previous weeks.. if it is roughly the same you have found your maintenance. Congratulations!
- What now?
I want to LOSE weight: From your maintenance start by taking ~10-20% of your maintenance away and again like the method before monitor your weight WEEKLY (it is very important to note that DAILY weigh ins are NOT A DETERMINANT OF HOW HEALTHY YOU ARE so please do not stress if it fluctuates against what your goals are) There is no exact numbers or pattern to follow when dropping the calories but if you are progressing well after ~1-2 weeks drop another ~5-10% and so on.. these results are GRADUAL and patience is very important.
I want to GAIN weight: Same as above except now you are adding ~10-20% of your maintenance calories. Monitor your results and adjust as required.