How many calories do you need?

How many calories | Fitness Revolution Rowlett

Not too long ago I made a comment on facebook about how I ran into a family at the local cafe looking to put weight on their son.

They were claiming that he could not put on any weight no matter how many calories he ate so they felt he needed some heavy duty weight gainer shakes.

Well when we decided to break down his diet he was only averaging about 1800 calories a day and MAYBE two meals were legit meals, the rest were just junk and crap calories.

For this 17 year old to gain weight he needed to eat MORE, heck I didn’t start gaining weight until I was eating about 5000-6000 calories a day!

Well I shared this story with facebook and I had a few surprising comments from women complaining how that is wasn’t fair that we (men in this case) can eat so much and have trouble gaining weight when most women (in their opinion) have slow metabolisms and struggle with weight loss.


So that brought up an interesting question… How many calories do you need to get the results you want?


The answer is easy, but you may not like it

As many calories as you CAN to get the results you want.

Told you may not like that answer but hear me out on this.

Remember when I told you that I had to eat at least 5000 calories a day to gain weight? Well that is what I needed, but it may not what YOU need.

I had one client that leaning out for him about about 3000 a day.

AND for you women out there I have run into ladies that can consume over 2000 a day for LEANING out purposes ⇐ and if you want to get even more mad they only worked out about 4 times a week for an hour at a time.

Then again I have some clients who metabolism’s were “broken” when they came here and they would gain weight at about 1000 calories… bad business there.

When you have someone wanting to gain weight then they eat as many as their body needs, more doesn’t’ always equal better in this case, and for people wanting to lose weight you eat as many calories as you can to still lose weight… so to piggyback off the last comment going to the other extreme and eating way too little doesn’t always equal better results.


So what’s the magic number?

There really isn’t’ any magical formula for figuring out how many calories you need to gain or lose weight, even the most sophisticated of computer programs are just a crap shoot.

If any person tells you they have the formula to help you figure out how many calories you need to gain/lose weight then they are probably lying to you. There are TOO many physiological variables for every person that a simple math formula can’t take into consideration.

So… How many calories do YOU need to gain or lose weight?

This part involves a bit of work but if you do this I can PROMISE you finding out how many calories YOUR body needs becomes a LOT easier.

You need to track a typical day of eating with some kind of online program (we tend to use myfitnesspal), it doesn’t’ have to be online but they have gotten so much better over the years its just a lot easier than the pen and paper, and you will want to do this for at least 3-5 days (if you can document longer that’s even better).

From there find something that you want to measure, whether is a scale for weight purposes or skin calipers for body fat purposes, and track your progress over the next several weeks. This will give you a baseline of what your body is doing in regards to calories; is it gaining, losing or maintaining?

From these results you will find out how many calories YOUR body need to just maintain its weight or body fat.

Then after you can just add or subtract calories to suit your goals.

Yes there is work you may have to do on your part but you know your body better than anyone or anything that can spit out a random calorie formula so take the time to learn it and I PROMISE you that you will have NO trouble hitting any new body composition goal.


Random Q&A.

While writing this I had a few questions on facebook sent to me about this topic. This does piggy back a bit off the blog and i decided to include some of those questions and answers here.


Q1.  Why can’t I just jump your calorie needs up to 4000 to gain weight or go straight down to 1200 to lose weight.

Again there really isn’t any magical set point that says you need “x” calories to achieve “x” goals, its all about YOUR body needs.

If you can lose just as much weight on eat 1700 calories a day then why the hell would you drop down to 1200, there is no reason to suffer like that.

Again do what YOUR body needs not what some formula say.


Q2. Why do you men have such higher metabolism?

We tend to have a higher secretion of certain hormones that regulate metabolism, this also leads us to carry more muscle which will speed up our metabolism as well.


Q3. I’m going to assume that when you said you were eating 5000 calories a day you were eating clean calories and not junk?

I won’t lie and say that is was 100% clean, I’m thinking more like 85%, and it was a bitch to do. You just get sick of food after a while. BUT… when I did eat clean 5000 vs. a clean 3500 and 1500 junk I did notice a big difference in my body. I looked healthier, was leaner (even though I was gaining size), stronger, etc…

Yes you can get 5000 in crap calories but then that is what you’re going to look like.


Q4. If I eat over 1500 calories I GAIN weight, its not fair that you can eat so much!

(more of a rant than a question lol) Look if your having to stay below 1500 to just MAINTAIN weight then something is wrong… seriously.

I’m not talking about hormonally, though that will have a factor in it, but you have trained your metabolism to stay that low. I’m guessing you did a lot of low cal dieting in the past?

I’m writing a blog over this EXACT thing right now, it can be fixed but you will need to start tracking calories now so this way there is no guesswork on how to increase your intake without you getting puffy.



In Health and Awesomeness,

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Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, (and other cool letters behind the name) is the Owner of Fitness Revolution in Rowlett, TX.

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