Question about calculating calories needed.
Hello everyone! This is my first post in this forum and hopefully the first of many.
I am new to eating the primal way and slowly getting used to it. I have been doing a primal diet for about the past 2 weeks with some breaks in the diet on the weekends. So I am a total newbie to this type of lifestyle/diet.
I am a male who is 6'2" and around 180lbs. I am not sure about my body fat percentage yet. I have been lifting weights for the past 5 years off and on but never made much progress because I was doing machines and because I was doing nothing as far as my diet.
When I turned 30 earlier this year I wanted to get more serious about nutrition/health/fitness and so I started reading. My workouts are based on the book "The new Rules of lifting" and soon I will be getting the book "Starting Strength". As far as for nutrition I read this website, the associated book, and "Wheat Belly".
Anyway, my main question right now is about calculating daily calories needs.
I know that I shouldn't be too concerned about daily calorie counting but I feel that getting an estimate would at least help me continue to make progress.
My goal right now is to lose a bit more fat around my mid section before I switch to a muscle building\bulking phase. I want to of course minimize muscle loss and maximize fat loss during this cutting phase.
What is the best method to calculate my daily calories needs? Harris Benedict equation? Also the height, weight, and age part of those formulas seem quite straight forward but what about the activity level?
I am not sure what to put for the activity level. I go into an office everyday where I sit at a desk job from 9am to about 4:30PM and then I head home. I workout in the gym 3 times a week with fairly intense workouts.
Let me know what everyone thinks and feel free to ask questions if you need more info to address my questions.
You are asking the question that has sparked a thousand wars around here! Simple answer: Only YOU can determine your caloric needs. The online calculators will give you a rough estimate, but it is ultimately your metabolism, energy expediture, and actual calorie intake that will determine your fat and fitness. We've discovered around here it is nearly impossible to figure calories with much accuracy, due to misleading labels, weights, etc... It is also impossible to figure energy expenditure.
The only way I have seen it work is for people to eat for nutrition and satiety and see where it takes you. If you are getting fatter--cut some calories out somewhere. If you are not gaining like you should, add some calories somewhere.
You will need to play around with carbs/fat/protein to see what's best for you. This can take years, but the fact that you are taking steps towards a healthier lifestyle is immense.
My best diet advice: Cut out all refined white sugar, grain, and industrial vegetable/seed oils. Eat nothing fried, even in butter or olive oil. Read and re-read Mark's 'Definitive Guides' found on the Start Here tab as well as his books.
Although I recommend Wheat Belly as a read for anyone, I don't see any mention of you reading the Primal Blueprint!
As a former obsessed Calorie-counter, I don't recommend doing any Calorie-counting unless you are seeing negative effects from a dietary change (due to under- or over-eating, or macro/micronutrient issues). If you read the PB, there are lots of tips and loads of background info on nutrients rather than Calories.
It's widely known that it's more than just the archaic "calories in, calories out" methodology. Read PB and come back to us. Good luck with your goals!
>> Current Stats: 90% Primal / 143 lbs / ~25% BF
>> Goal (by 1 Jan 2014): 90% Primal / 135-ish pounds / 20-22% BF
>> Upcoming Fitness Feats: Tough Mudder, June 2013
>> Check out my super-exciting journal by clicking these words.
Weight does NOT equal health -- ditch the scale, don't be a slave to it!
The Harris Benedict equation is a good place to start (and I would say your workouts would put you in the "moderately active" category unless you do other stuff in between your gym workouts like sprinting or walking). So start there but recognize that it is not a number sent down from the mountain carved in stone.
I found that by being in ketosis, I needed far fewer calories than I was supposed to have by the H-B formula. Also there is no better way than ketosis to shed the padding around the midsection.
So figure out your H-B number and then try it for a few weeks, tracking your intake. Then adjust up or down as needed.
Check your average calorie intake over a period of time an weight gain/loss/maintenamce
At 6'2" and 180, it really sounds like you are going more for body recomp than weight loss. So I suggest taking tape measurements in the areas you want to improve for tracking purposes. The scale may not be the best measuring device for you.
Yeah I would not base my thoughts on some kind of formulas, tried them all, tried to follow them, lost a big amount of weight too quickly and felt like sh*t.
Young self-caring Paleo-eater from France.
(So please forgive the strange way I tend to express myself in your beautiful language )
He clearly states in the OP that he read this website and the associated book...
Originally Posted by MissJecka
Also, the PB book talks all about calculating a rough estimate for calorific needs and adapting the Blueprint to your needs via adjusting fat intake. That's probably where the question came from.
Last edited by Englishman in Oz; 08-25-2012 at 05:08 AM.
I have followed the harris benedict equation for years when I want to lean out. It is just a rough estimate so I adjust accordingly if I'm not losing body fat. I also go with my satiety. Even if I'm dieting and feel hungrier than usual I eat more. You have too really pay attention to your body and what responds the best to you. For instance, some fitness enthusiast suggest to have protein and carbs post workout. I lift weights on an empty stomach as I feel like it impairs my ability to be efficient. I actually drink my pwo shake while lifting. Dr. John Berardi actually advocates this. However, I have been doing this for a few years now even before I heard Berardi talking about it. It has never affected my body composition at all but this is given that I eat a clean diet consistently.
At your stats, it appears that you are pretty lean already. I would almost just bulk at that point and cut after. I think it's kinda pointless to see striation on your abs only to put on mass after. I own the NROL for women but I would think the one for men is quite similar in terms of workouts. I think the book is meant for people who want to build more muscle so I would be hesitate to do those workouts in a caloric deficit. When I did it a few years back, no way in hell I would do it while dieting.
Thanks everyone for the good advice! I think I have the answers to my questions now! I am sure I will have more in the future though!
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