Have you ever wondered what you are supposed to be eating, how much, and how often? This has to be one of the top concerns I hear from my clientele.  Let's start by taking pen to paper, and rocking out some math (If you are anything like me, grab a calculator too.) In this article, we are going to walk through discovering your unique caloric intake. 

The first thing we are going to do is calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR.  Your BMR calculation will give you the amount of calories you need to consume if you stayed in bed all day.  Following your BMR, we will do another calculation that will factor in your activity level. READY? 

OK, so what do I mean by BMR? Your BMR uses the variables of height, weight, age, and gender to calculate the body's energy expenditure when your body is asleep or at rest.  REMINDER: This formula does not include your energy expenditure through daily activity. This is simply step one in our process today.  Got it?  OK, let's get your unique number figured out!

** This formula is generally accurate for most people, and is a worthwhile math problem to attack to help YOU determine how many calories to consume daily for your involuntary body functions to ROLL **

Women BMR:
655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

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

OK, so like I said, this formula is simply giving you the amount of calories it takes for your heart to beat, your kidneys to carry out their functions, etc.
We are approaching the homestretch; now we need to consider your level of activity to give you your daily caloric need. Let's use the Harris Benedict Formula (sounds fancy-shmancy, right?) Check it out!

Harris Benedict Formula

To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your unique BMR by the appropriate activity level, as follows:

  1. If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
  2. If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
  3. If you are moderatetely active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
  4. If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
  5. If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9

OK, so now that you have your unique caloric intake goal, YOU can start crushing it in the kitchen!  Remember: Not all calories are created equal. Eating clean and nutrient dense foods will fuel your body, and get you looking and feeling your best.  More about that next month!

In the meantime, if you are looking for simple ways to move the needle on your health and fitness goals and would like a sample clean eating menu, Text: NCFITNESS to 22828, and I will hook you up!

Nickie Carrigan is a fitness business owner in the Twin Cities. As a passionate fitness professional, she strives to help others across the country build and/or maintain active and healthy lifestyles. To contact Nickie visit www.nickiecarriganfitness.com.

Photo by NickNguyen