BMR and Calories - A Guide to Calorie Burn and Consumption

Counting calories is tedious work and all your efforts should help your fat loss program- not complicate it. Below is some information to help you calculate your BMR, determine how many calories you need, and to establish where those calories should come from.

Your Basic (or Basal) Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of calories your body uses to live. These are the calories required to reproduce cells, grow hair, breath, circulate your blood, etc. Your BMR accounts for the majority of calories used per day.

To find your BMR* (one of several formulas), follow these steps:

Step 1: Convert your current weight (in pounds) into kilograms by dividing your weight by 2.2.

Step 2: For women only- multiply your weight in kilograms by .9

Step 3: Multiply the number by 24. The product is your BMR.

Next, we have to account for activity level. These are the calories you burn by doing activity: cleaning the house, gardening, bike riding, kickboxing, and the like.

Step 4: Multiply your BMR by

1.3 for sedentary lifestyles

1.5 for light activity

1.7 for moderate activity


1.9 for heavy activity

If you wish to maintain your current weight, this is the number of calories you should consume per day.

However, if you are looking to shed some unwanted pounds, you need to take the equations a step further.

Step 5: Simply deduct 500 calories per day in order to loose fat at a rate of about 1 pound per week.**

For example, if you are a 250 pound woman that participates in light activity, and hoping to lose fat, your math would look like this:

250/2.2= 114 X .9 = 103 X 24 = 2462 X 1.5 = 3693 -500 = 3193 calories per day to lose fat

Now that you know how many calories you should be eating, you need to know where those calories should be coming from. The basic building blocks for your body include protein, carbohydrates, fats, water, vitamins and minerals. The three we are concerned with right now are protein, carbohydrates and fats, and they should be consumed accordingly:

Protein - approximately 12-20% of daily calories

Carbohydrates - approximately 55-65% of daily calories

Fats - approximately 25-30% of daily calories

Try this formula out for 10 to 14 days to see how you feel, and what kind of results you are getting. However, if you are currently off by more than 200 calories, make your adjustment slowly to give your metabolism time to adjust and avoid fat gain.

This formula is just a guideline. After you have tried consuming your recommended calories, make adjustments as necessary. Remember, the number on the scale is only one indication of progress. Pay attention also to how you feel, your energy level, your improved health, how your clothes fit, your cardio endurance and strength improvements.

*Children, pregnant women, nursing mothers, seniors, and others with certain health conditions require different calorie needs.

** If you are including resistance training in your work out (highly recommended!), you may see greater fat loss, as you build muscle (because muscle burns fat 24/7). However, a standard scale will not tell you the difference between fat weight and lean muscle weight, so only use the scale as a measure of one of many indicators of progress.

Melinda Rice is a fitness consultant and writer based in Northern California. She manages Successful Fitness (, a personal training program that incorporates concepts of psychology, nutrition, wellbeing and fitness into a Lifestyle Transformation plan. You can reach her at

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  • Name: Melinda Rice, CPT
  • Date: 01/10/06 at 11:37
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