Fitness trends today include controlling the amount of caloric intake to promote weight loss or weight gain. When you know the exact amount your body needs, it’s easier to plan your fitness goals.
This is why one of the most calculated numbers today is calorie. And, since almost everything is automated nowadays, the use of calorie calculators is becoming more popular.
How a calorie intake calculator works
Calorie calculators compute the amount of calories based on various factors that affect your body’s energy consumption. Input dates varies depending on calculator type.
Firstly, calorie intake calculators usually ask for your age, gender, height, current weight. This information allows us to compute how much energy is needed to maintain our body functions (basal metabolic rate) – digestion, heart, breathing, etc.
Secondly, you should add level of physical activity.
There are four levels of physical activity that you should choose from:
• Sedentary – with little or no exercise
• Lightly active – with less than 2 hours of low-intensity exercises per week
• Moderately active – with at least 2 hours of moderate-intensity exercises per week
• Highly active – working out or playing sports is part of your daily routine
It’s important that you choose what best fits your general lifestyle. If you choose sedentary even though you’re lightly active, the calculator will give you an amount that might be less than what your body requires. Likewise, if you choose moderately active even though you’re sedentary, you will be given an amount that would likely be more than what you need.
Basal metabolic rate + Physical activity level = Recommended daily calorie intake
Finally, once you enter the required data, the calorie intake calculator will calculate the following:
• Amount of calories needed to maintain current weight
• Amount of calories needed to lose weight
• Amount of calories needed to gain weight/muscles
These results are what will serve as your baseline for your healthy weight goals:
a) If your current weight is within the healthy range, you need to take the recommended amount of calories needed to maintain your current weight.
b) If your weight is above the healthy range, you need to take the recommended amount of calories needed to lose weight.
c) If your weight is below the healthy range (or you want to muscle up), you need to take the recommended amount of calories needed to gain weight.
Usually, the amount of calories needed to LOSE weight is about an average of 20% LESS than the amount that’s needed to maintain weight. However, you can slightly adjust this percentage depending on how fast you want to lose weight. In contrast, the amount of calories needed to GAIN weight/muscles is 20% MORE (or + 500 kcal) than the amount that’s needed to maintain weight.
Online calorie calculator accuracy is around +/- 20 percent!!!
Benefits of using a calorie intake calculator
Aside from knowing the amount of calories you need, there are other benefits you can get from using a calorie intake calculator:
1. You’ll get an accurate calculation in an instant.
By using a calculator, you won’t have to memorize any mathematical equation or perform manual calculations. Also, you won’t have to worry about errors in accuracy because the calculations are automatic.
2. You’ll prevent yourself from unnecessary starvation.
Using a calorie calculator allows you to set a realistic approach to dieting. As long as you stick with your daily intake limit, you won’t need to starve yourself for any reason just to lose weight.
3. You can adjust your data and calories anytime.
In case of any changes in your lifestyle or a significant change in your weight, you can recalculate your calories and adjust your weight goals. For example, your physical activity changes from sedentary to lightly active. You can recalculate your calories by simply changing your data.
If you are planning to lose, gain, or maintain a healthy weight, you should consider using a calorie intake calculator. Although it cannot guarantee success, it can help you plan your weight goals more effectively.
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