Calorie consumption: How do I work out what I should be eating?

Most probably, you have faced this dilemma when commencing your fitness/weight loss journey. You have put the hard yards in the gym but still aren’t sure as to what you should be eating or how to sort out your nutrition. Here’s some advice from Ben Traves, our in-house Fitness Coach:

Calorie Consumption

The old adage of “abs are made in the kitchen” is primarily correct – but what does it even mean? Simply, it means that if you wish to achieve a certain fitness goal of any type you must be aware of the food and drink you are consuming and I am absolutely sure you are aware that there are multiple ways in which to do this, whether it be intermittent fasting, paleo or keto diets. They all work in accordance to an overriding principle which is… calorie consumption.

The amount of calories consumed has a specific and direct effect on your fitness goals. Simply put, if you wish to lose weight and drop body fat you should be in a calorie deficit and if you wish to gain mass and increase muscle size you should be in a calorie surplus. The only question is how do you find this information out? Well, lets get into it now shall we…

The Maths

Here are my anthropometrics.

Gender: Male

Age: 26

Height: 181cm

Weight: 13.07 stone/83kg (of pure muscle… ok, maybe not).

Activity levels: Moderately active

The most simple way to calculate this is using the “Harris-Benedict formula” which allows us to find out our basal metabolic rate (BMR) which goes as follows…

  • Men: BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age in years) + 5
  • Women: BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age in years) – 161

Our BMR is the minimum amount of calories that our bodies need to function and gives us a baseline in which to calculate our total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).

Thus my formula would look as follows…

840 + 1131 – 130 + 5 = 1846

1846kcal is the minimum amount of calories I need to consume to maintain my weight if I remain completely dormant for 24 hours… but we don’t sit still for 24 hours do we, therefore an extra calculation needs to be added which come in the form of Physical Activity Levels (PAL)

  • sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
  • If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): BMR x 1.375
  • If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): BMR x 1.55
  • If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week): BMR x 1.725
  • If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training: BMR x 1.9

Because I identify myself as moderately active the formula to calculate my TDEE is… 1846 x 1.55 = 2861kcal.


If I were to eat more than 2861kcal consistently I will gain weight and if I were to eat less than 2861kcal consistently I will lose weight. Simple right?!

Not quite, but it’s a start! There are still factors affecting weight loss such as health history, medication, body composition and macronutrients. Nothing that any of our fitness team can’t help and advise you through! If you wish to know more about your nutrition and how it impacts your training do not hesitate to email ( or call (01904 929 540) to one of our fitness staff – it is our pleasure to help!

Happy training!