The phrase "calorie calculator" is searched nearly 13,000 times a day by people who want to know the "magic number" of calories to eat each day to ensure they reach their fitness and fat loss goals.
This number is also known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
There are SO many calorie calculators out there on the internet - some good, some awful, many somewhere in-between.
What You're Going to Learn
In this post I’m going to show you where on earth these calorie calculators come from, give you a great one, and show you where to get an awesome nutrition plan that goes with it.
Let’s get to it...
The Many Ways to Calculate Calories
Some calorie calculators use the "Owen equation" to calculate your BMR, some use the "Mifflin-St Jeor", other use the “Harris-Benedict” equation. All are based on clinical studies designed to measure the daily caloric needs of an individual based on his or her activity level.
A majority of calculators don't even tell you where the calculations are even coming from. With so many calorie calculators floating around out there, how do you know which one to use?
And quite possibly the bigger question: How on earth should you USE your calorie number to help you reach your fitness and weight loss goals?
I'm going to make it easy on you by providing a calorie calculator right here -- as well as a free personalized nutrition plan to accompany it -- at the end of this short article.
But, not without first explaining where it comes from and showing how to use this helpful tool appropriately!
Where My Calorie Calculator Comes From
First of all, my calorie calculator utilizes the Harris-Benedict Equation. This equation was developed in the early 1900s using 136 adult male and 103 female test subjects falling in the healthy BMR range, all following controlled diets, and living sedentary lifestyles.
Through this study, the relationships between certain physical and physiological measurements of individuals and metabolism were determined, and several were found to be significant predictors of daily caloric needs.
These variables are: height, weight, age, and sex. Based on these statistically significant variables of the original test group, the Harris Benedict equation for women was derived:
BMR = [655 + (4.3 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)] x your activity factor
Because this equation is derived based on a small test group from 1919, the equation DOES have several limitations.
The first limitation is that in order to use the Harris-Benedict equation with accuracy, you must be comparable to this initial test group in terms of health and BMI.
So, if your BMI puts you in the “obese” range -- either due to an “overly muscular” or “overly fat/obese” build -- then the Harris-Benedict equation is not a very accurate predictor of daily caloric needs.
What is YOUR BMI? To determine your BMI, use the following equation or my handy little BMI calculator:
BMI = (703 * weight in lbs)/(height in inches x height in inches).
Just enter your Current weight in lbs and height in inches and click CALCULATE to get your BMI.
CURRENT WEIGHT (LB.) HEIGHT (IN.) BMI
Your BMI should be below “25” in order for my calorie calculator (the Harris-Benedict equation) to give you an accurate calorie prediction.
If your BMI is above 25, you can still use my calorie calculator to get a general BASELINE. However, just note that if your high BMI is due to a high proportion of muscle, then the calculation will UNDERestimate your daily caloric needs.
On the contrary, if your BMI is high due to a high percentage of fat, then my calculator will OVERestimate your calorie needs.
Another factor to consider is activity level
Because the initial test group all fell into the “sedentary” category, the Harris-Benedict equation just predicts basal metabolic rate, or the minimum number of calories you’d need each day simply to survive.
In other words, we must also factor differences in activity level into our calorie estimations.
So, we must add an "activity level factor" to the Harris-Benedict equation, which changes depending on your individual daily activity levels.
How do you determine your activity level?
Well, just use the chart below to see where you stack up.
This “activity factor” is then added to the BMR as calculated by the Harris-Benedict equation, to arrive at YOUR personal “Magic number”!
To find the number of calories you need each day to meet your personal weight loss goals, just enter the following information into the calorie calculator below:
Just enter your ideal weight, age, height, and activity factor (from the chart above) and click CALCULATE to arrive at your Daily Caloric Intake.
Ideal Wt (lb.) Age (Yrs.) Height (in) Activity Factor Daily Caloric Intake
*Note that this calorie calculator was designed specifically for women, and is not an accurate tool for men.
Now that you have calculated your personal calorie number, it is important to remember that even though the Harris Benedict equation is the mainstay method for deriving an individual's daily calorie needs, it still has several limitations and thus should only be used as a “starting point” for your daily caloric needs.
Every individual body is different, and so you may need to increase or decrease this number slightly after a few weeks depending on your own personal weight loss results.
So Now What?
You have your "magic number". And unlike every other site out there that leaves you and your calculation hanging to dry and wondering what to do next, I have also created a COMPLETE personalized daily nutrition plan to go with it!
The plan has a nice chart, which will show you exactly how to adjust your daily diet based on your calculated caloric needs. This way you can start applying your calorie number RIGHT AWAY, and without worrying about counting pesky calories!
Get Your Nutrition Guide That Comes with The Calculator!
So, after you have found YOUR number, download your personalized nutrition plan by becoming an FTF15 member and getting the complete 14-week workout and nutrition program! The personalized nutrition plan is free for members, and takes all the guesswork out of eating healthy for weight loss. Plus, it’s personalized to meet YOUR individual calorie needs! It even includes a weekly grocery list, healthy recipes, and sample daily menus! Get yours by clicking below :)