Working out how many calories you need is fairly straightforward. There are many calculators available online that will help you do this quickly and easily.

It’s important to point out first that in order to succeed at changing your calories to meet a goal you have to understand exactly where you are currently. The reason being is if you are consuming way more calories than you should be then cutting them drastically suddenly means you could be setting yourself up for failure.

I only recommend cutting calories drastically and suddenly when you have the professional guidance and support of a coach who knows what they are doing. Not only to make sure that the new calorie/macro amounts are sufficient for you. But many underestimate the emotional and mental effect cutting calories can have.

Calorie Baseline

To set yourself up for success it is important to acknowledge and accept:

  • You are making a lifestyle change, not dieting
  • In order to make a lifestyle change, you need to learn the values of food
  • You have to understand what you are currently consuming
  • Changes should be made gradually so it’s achievable

If you can accept the above then you are well on your way to losing fat, forever! If you don’t yet know what you are consuming each day then I highly recommend you start here:

Once you have a good understanding of what you are consuming, it should paint a clearer picture of where you may be going wrong. Now let’s look at how you go about adjusting your input (food) to smash your fat loss goals.

What is BMR

Basal Metabolic Rate Formula

BMR = Basal metabolic rate: is the total number of calories that your body needs to perform basic, life-sustaining functions. These functions include breathing, circulation, cell production, nutrient processing, protein synthesis, and ion transport. All that before you have even gotten out of bed, let alone fed the horses!

To find out your BMR you calculate your height, weight, age, and gender. It does not take into account lean body mass and the amount of fat vs muscle you have so using this method will be very accurate if you don’t have lots of fat or muscle. If you do, it is a good starting point if you just want a rough idea.

Men: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5

Women: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161

So, let’s take me as an example:

I weigh 68kg, 161cm tall and 37years

680 (10 x 68kg) + 1006.25 (6.25 x 161cm) – 185 (5 x 37) – 161 = 1340.25 BMR

You can use this calculator to figure your BMR if you would prefer – it is much easier.

Once you have your BMR number, let’s move on to the next number you need.

What is TDEE

TDEE = Total Daily Energy Expenditure: is an estimation of the total number of calories you burn per day on top of your BMR through activities and exercise. It also includes energy spent on digesting foods known as TEF and general movements known as NEAT

I would say at this point, understand it but don’t get too caught up in it. Keep it simple for now.

There are a few ways to calculate your TDEE but I am going to keep it simple:

StatusDescriptionTDEE Number
SedentaryNot riding and a desk job1.2 x BMR
Lightly activeRiding 1 – 3 days per week 1.375 x BMR
Moderately activeRiding 1-2 horses, 3 – 4 days per week1.55 x BMR
Very activeRiding Several Horses per day, 5 – 6 days/ week – Actively Competing Regularly / Exercising1.725 x BMR
Extremely activeRiding Several Horses per day, 5+ days per week – Actively Competing Regularly / Exercising /Active Job1.9 x BMR

KEY INFORMATION – We all tend to think we do more than we do! Be conservative with your TDEE for true success.

The Magic Calorie Number

Now that you have your BMR and your TDEE you can calculate how many calories a day you need to lose body fat. To lose body fat, you must consume less than you expend.

Calories needed per day for maintenance: BMR x TDEE 

Using me as an example again:

I go to the gym 6 days a week for a minimum of 2 hours and I ride two horses 4-6 times a week for about 45mins each in addition to working as a Personal Trainer and Soft Tissue Therapist, I can spend lots of time on my feet so I would be extremely active.

My TDEE Calculation is: 1340.25 BMR x 1.9 = 2546 calories per day

  • Start with taking 200 calories from your TDEE per day.
  • If you want to be more aggressive then take 500 calories

Remember: If you cut calories drastically and suddenly it is less sustainable. Your mental willpower will give before your body does. I STRONGLY urge you to go for a lower number, making it more achievable.

I always prefer to underestimate that be generous when calculating this. Going forwards and increasing calories is much easier than going backward and decreasing them!

Calories needed per day for fat loss: BMX x TDEE – 200 calories = The Magic Calorie Number

Using me as an example again:

TDEE Calculation is: 1340.25 BMR x 1.9 = 2546 calories per day

How do I split the calories between the macros

If you remember my post about Body Types, it provides you with a macro ideal based on your body type.

But as I have said in my blog – The Truth about Dieting the majority of people will respond to a balanced diet of all macros

  • Ectomorphs: A ratio of roughly 50% of calories should be from good carbs (not sugars) and 25% from both protein and fats.
  • Endomorphs: A rough ratio of 30% of calories should be from carbs and 35% for both protein and fat.
  • Mesomorph: An equal ratio of 1/3 Protein, Carbs, and Fat but this needs to be adjusted depending on you feel and look over a period of time – 1-2months
Different Body Type Images

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