Calculate your calorie needs

Our simple formula will help you work out how many calories you need to eat to maintain or lose weight.

It can be difficult to know how many calories to eat when you are running. The Department of Health recommends women have an average daily intake of 1,940kcal and men 2,550kcal. However, the exact number needed depends on your age, current weight, height and how active you are.

Sports nutritionist Trevor Bedding ( recommends using the following series of equations to calculate how many calories you need on an average day. 

Step 1:

Calculate your resting metabolic rate

If you are female:

Age 10-18 years: (Body weight in kg x 12.2) + 746

Age 19-30 years: (Body weight in kg x 14.7) + 496

Age 31-60 years: (Body weight in kg x 8.7) + 829

If you are male

Age 10-18 years: (Body weight in kg x 17.5) + 651

Age 19-30 years: (Body weight in kg x 15.3) + 679

Age 31-60 years: (Body weight in kg x 11.6) + 879

Step 2: 

Based on how much physical activity you do a day, calculate your daily energy expenditure.

Multiply your RMR by the following measure

-If you do very little/ no exercise x 1.4

-If you are moderately active x 1.7

-If you are very active x 2.0

Step 3:

Calculate how many calories you burn each week through running - an approximate guide will be 100 calories per mile. Divide this by seven to find a daily average.

Step 4: 

Add the figure obtained from step 3 to step 4 to find our maintenance intake. If you eat this number of calories per day based on your current training regime you will stay at the same weight.

Step 5:

Reduce your calorie intake by 15 per cent per daily average if you wish to lose weight. Multiply your maintenance calories by 0.85% to give you a new calorific total.

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Discuss this article

"Step 4: 

Add the figure obtained from step 3 to step 4 to find our maintenance intake."

How is this possible? Do you mean add step 2 total to step 3 total? Do you need a sub? I'm available.

Posted: 03/01/2011 at 17:49

Obviously they mean add the value from step 2 to that from step 3. The calculation will still be very inaccurate, however - I weigh 49 kg and there's no way I use up the same number of calories per mile as someone weighing 100 kg. Try the one at - it uses 0.653 calories/mile/pound bodyweight, but you can enter your weight in pounds or kg (along with your age, sex, general activity level and specific hours of exercise (e.g. running) and it does the calculations for you.
Posted: 03/01/2011 at 19:41

Thanks Debra.
Posted: 04/01/2011 at 13:06

What a load of tosh..

If you're not losing the weight you want to then eat less and run more, once you've reached your target weight resume normal eating..

 Calorific values of foods are not accurate anyway!

Posted: 04/01/2011 at 20:28

That's all very well Aliscott but my perpetual cycle is that the more i run the more i want to eat.
Posted: 05/01/2011 at 13:30

Johnny 2323 - spot on! the more I run the more i demolish the food! haha
Posted: 13/01/2011 at 13:36

Yes there is a mistake regarding adding steps (should be 2 and 3 together).  Also calories burned is a guide and i was unable to go into all weight and calorie variations.  As a sports nutritionist I will use more detailed information to make a more accurate assessment of calories used by an individual.

Trevor Bedding (sports Nutritionist)

Posted: 13/01/2011 at 18:13

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