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Starting a new health and fitness regime can be a difficult proposition and it may be hard to know where to start. One of the first tasks that you should undertake if you are planning any weight loss or weight gain program is to first determine your daily energy requirements.

This in itself can complicate matters as well as there are a number of different methods available to do this, as well as a number of different factors that need to be taken into account.

 “So what do I do?”, I hear you ask.

Well, I have decided to try to simplify this as much as possible for you to get your baseline measurements. The first step is to determine your Daily Energy Requirements (DER). This figure represents how many calories your body requires to function each day based on your body composition and your daily activity levels.

There are a few equations that can be used to calculate your DER. The Mifflin St. Jeor Equation is one of the more recent methods that have been developed and is reportedly one of the more accurate methods.

The calculation looks like this:

For men:              BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5
For women:        BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) – 161

Now if you are like me, you would want something a little easier than to sit down and spend half an hour doing mathematical equations. As you would expect there are plenty of online calculators and I have found one that is simple and easy to use here.

Once you have entered your relevant information the calculator will provide you with the total calories you need to consume each day. It will also give you a lower figure which will aim to have you lose approx. half a kilo of weight each week.

Great. So now what do I do with that?

Now you need to track your current eating habits and compare this against your calculated DER. There are plenty of online tracking programs to use, however my recommendation is to use

My Fitness Pal. It is both web and app based, simple to use, and best of all is FREE!

Once you are signed up you need to enter all of your basic details and then head to the ‘GOALS’ section and edit the ‘Daily Nutrition Goals’. You will then enter your calories that were calculated above and then update the Macro-nutrients as follows:

Carbohydrates: 40%
Protein: 30%
Fat: 30%

There are lots of different diets around which dictate differing macro ratios, however these figures above will provide a sound platform to begin with. Once you have that completed you are now ready to start tracking your daily food intake. I would recommend logging your intake for at least 3-5 days and that you log everything you eat so you get a clear picture of how you compare to your daily intake requirements. Remember that if you eat more calories than your DER then you will be gaining weight!

At the end of that period you can then look back to see whether you are above or below your requirements and can then look at making changes to your habits accordingly. We will look further into how to make changes to your diet in another episode so make sure you keep checking in.

 If you have any questions or need further advice make sure you get in contact.