Your Daily Calories to Achieve Your Goal

August 7, 2022

During the first years of my fitness journey, I didn’t know much about calories.

What happened was that when I decided to gain weight, I would overeat way too much, and get fat.

When I wanted to lose weight, I would eat way too little. I became skinny and lost all my hard-earned muscles.

The problem was that I didn’t know the daily calories I needed to achieve my goals.

I’ve met many people who, like me, struggle with this problem.

They don’t know how many calories to eat to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain their current weight.

In this article, I’ll explain how to know your daily calories to achieve your goal, no matter what it is.

Why should you listen to me? Well, I’ve been able to control my weight for years now.

When I gain weight, I minimize the fat gain and build muscle. If I lose fat, I minimize the loss of muscle and feel great.

I’ve messed it up many times and learned from those mistakes.

With this article, I hope I can keep others from not repeating the same mistakes I made.

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Your daily calories and your metabolism

A daily calorie calculator

The first step to knowing your daily calories to achieve your goal, is figuring out your metabolism.

Start by finding an approximate number of calories your body burns in a day.

You should have an estimation of your maintenance calories or the calories your body needs to remain the same.

It’s the starting point of any diet goal, no matter what you want to physically achieve.

To do this, I would advise you to start with an online calculator. Simply search for a calorie calculator in Google.

It will ask about your height, weight, activity level, etc.

Will this be 100% accurate for your body? Most likely not, but you can adjust according to the scale by testing that number for about two weeks.

Eventually, you’ll get a very accurate idea of your maintenance calories. This is what you want to achieve.

Your daily calories to lose weight

A delicious weight loss smoothie

If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to be in a caloric deficit. This means you will eat fewer calories than your maintenance calories.

You start with your maintenance calories and subtract anywhere from 300-to 900 calories, depending on your situation.

If you’re a short girl with a maintenance number of 1600 calories, you are better suited to go for the lower end of that range. A tall man with a maintenance number of 2800 calories, could (but doesn’t have to) go towards the higher end.

In general, 500 calories under your maintenance, every day should equal 450 grams or 1lb of weight loss per week.

If you don’t lose weight after two weeks, drop 200-300 calories. When you’re losing weight too fast add 200-300 calories.

This is how you stay in that perfect weight loss range It will allow you to maximize fat loss and minimize the loss of muscle.

Warning: don’t drop your calories too low, you’ll lose muscle and feel very bad.

Your daily calories to gain weight

Delicious pancakes with strawberries and powdered sugar

If you want to gain weight, you’ll need to be in a caloric surplus. This will mean you eat more calories than your maintenance calories.

You start with your maintenance calories and add anywhere from 200-to 500 calories, depending on your situation.

When you’re underweight, or just starting in the gym, you can go for the higher end of the range.

If you’ve more experience in the gym, or already have some muscle I would advise the lower end of the range.

You don’t need to add a huge amount of calories to your maintenance to build muscle.

It won’t speed up the progress. Instead, you’ll gain unnecessary amounts of fat.

This means you’ll have to lose it again at some point later.

During a fat loss phase, you won’t build much muscle, so it’s best to try and minimize it, to begin with.

Warning: Keep the caloric surplus small or you might get fat. This happened to me.

Your daily calories to maintain weight

A scale in perfect balance

If you want to maintain your weight, just go with the approximate calories of the calculator. Test it for two weeks.

If you’re losing weight add 200-300 calories. If you’re gaining weight subtract 200-300 calories.

Keep adjusting till your weight is on average not moving in any direction.

When you’re just starting in the gym and you’re not over-or underweight, you could try to eat at maintenance calories.

In the first months of working out, you’ll have a unique opportunity to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously. This is possible because your body is not yet used to working out.
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Track your daily calories to achieve your goal

Calorie and macros overview in MyFitnessPal

To achieve any of these three goals, you’ll need to track your daily calories. It’s very easy to do this and it won’t take more than a couple of minutes a day.

I’ve written an article about how you can do this with a free app on your phone called MyFitnessPal. You can read it here.

Final words

Finding your daily calories to achieve your goal can be difficult when you’re first starting.

In this article, I’ve tried to pass on my knowledge about how to know your daily calories to achieve your goal, without any guesswork.

Any goal will start with finding an estimation of your daily maintenance calories. After you can figure out the exact number of calories you need to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain weight.

Lastly, you need to accurately track your daily calories, by using a simple free app on your phone. I wish you good luck on your journey (not that you’ll need it now).

I’m curious, what do you find the hardest thing about dieting?
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