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Everything you need to know about calories.

“Excuses don’t burn calories.”

Firstly, what is a calorie?

A calorie is a unit we use to measure the amount of energy in the food we eat and drink.

If you’re looking to lose or gain weight it is important to know how many calories your body needs.

Here’s a simple formula.

The St Jeor Mifflin equation is a simple formula that shows you how to calculate your calories:

* For men: 10 x BW in Kg’s + 6.25 x Height in cm - 5 x Age + 5 * For women: 10 x Bodyweight in Kg’s + 6.25 x Height in cm - 5 x Age - 161 This formula will first calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). From then you need to add your calculated BMR to your relative activity level. The more active an individual, the more calories they need and vice versa. Activity Levels: 1. Sedentary x 1.2 = less 2,000 Steps a day. 2. Lightly Active x 1.37 = less than 5,000 steps a day. 3. Moderately Active x 1.55 = more than 7,000 steps a day. 4. Very Active x 1.725 = more 10,000 steps a day.

Using myself as an example:

Gender: Male Weight: 77 Kg’s Height: 173cm Age: 30 Activity level: Very active

10 x 77 + 6.25 x 173cm – 5 x 30 + 5 = BMR of 1,706 BMR 1,706 x 1.725 (Activity level) = 2,943 Daily calorie requirements. The calories calculated above indicate my maintenance calories (how much it takes for me to maintain my current weight) if I wanted to lose or gain weight, I would then have to manipulate my intake depending on my goals. The above formula is still an estimation of daily calorie requirements but can be used as a starting point.

If that is all too confusing, I have a free calorie calculator on my website:

Type in your details and it will give you a calorie recommendation.

So, we now know what a calorie is and how to calculate your daily calorie requirements.

Now let’s break down HOW your body burns calories.

Throughout the day your body is continuously burning calories. The total number of calories your body burns each day can be referred to as your Total Daily Energy Expenditure or TDEE.

There are four different ways that your TDEE burns calories.

1.BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate: Your BMR is the number of calories that your body needs to perform necessary functions like breathing, blood circulation, digestion, and cell production. Your BMR is where your body burns the MOST calories and makes up 60-70% of the daily calories burned.

2. EAT – Exercise Activity Thermogenesis: This makes up the number of calories you burn through planned exercise, for example going to the gym, running, boxing, swimming etc. EAT makes up 15-30% of total calories burned depending on duration and intensity levels as they differ per individual.

3. NEAT – Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis: Your NEAT is your daily activity outside of planned exercise for example taking the stairs, doing the dishes, gardening etc. NEAT has been proven to burn extra calories but again is dependent on each individual.

4. TEF – Thermic Effect of Food: Everything you eat must be processed and digested into the body. The process of digestion and nutritional absorption burns calories. TEF makes up about 10% of daily calories burned.

Our bodies are always in the process of burning or storing calories.

Simply put If we burn more calories than we consume we will be in a calorie deficit (weight loss), on the other hand if we consume more calories than we burn we will be in a calorie surplus (weight gain).

The biggest problem we face today is that most people’s calorie intake is too imbalanced. People tend to greatly over consume, creating a calorie surplus. Obesity rates in both adults and children has never been higher!

Understanding how we use calories and energy balance is the first step to losing or gaining weight.

I will cover the best tips on how to lose weight in my next blog! So, stay tuned.

In the meantime,


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