How Many Calories Do You Actually Need?

Do you know how many calories you need to reach your body goals?  I’m talking about building sexy curves – an hourglass.  To get those curves, you need to eat a diet that is not in a deficit, which means you need to eat more calories than you’re burning. Hold up – don’t get scared – that doesn’t mean you need to stuff your face with whatever you like either.

By overeating, you will put on unnecessary ugly fat weight, which will be harder to lose later when you want those abs to show. Aim for a diet that maintains (or adds a safe and healthy amount of weight) and one that helps switch your body composition to be leaner and more muscular.  Here are your calorie basics when it comes to building a lean sexy, curvy body.

How Many Calories Do You Actually Need?

Step 1 – Determine Your BMR 

The first step when determining your calories – is to determine your BMR. Your BMR or basal metabolic rate is the basic amount of calories that you need to sustain basic daily functions. You know like using Instagram, watching Netflix and painting your nails at your desk when you should be working.  Use the following calculation to determine your BMR.

Formula for BMR (Mifflin Formula)

BMR (if Female) = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x Age) – 161

Example:  For a 50 kg female, of 153 cm height who trains heavily and wants to add as much muscle as possible!

BMR = (10 x 50 kg) + (6.25 x 153) – (5 x 28) -161

BMR = 500 + 956 – (140) – 161

BMR = 1155 calories

Step 2 – Determine Your TEE

Now that you know the basic amount of calories you need to just do the simple things, the next step is to determine how many extra calories you need to build some sexy curves!  TEE is your total energy expenditure, which is a combination of your BMR and your activity level.  Use the below table to determine the amount of additional calories you will need.

TEE = BMR + Activity Level

No Exercise (0-1 hr/wk) = BMR + 200

Mild (1-3 hrs/wk) = BMR + 400

Moderate (4 to 5 hrs/wk) = BMR + 520

Heavy (6 to 8 hrs/wk) = BMR + 700

Extreme (9 + hrs/wk) = BMR + 100


TEE = 1155 + 520 = 1675 Calories

Now that you understand your basic calorie needs, you can further adjust your calories based on your personal goals – do you want to lose weight, maintain weight or gain some sexy muscle? Take your TEE and subtract or add calories as needed as per below.

Step 3 – Determine Your Daily Calories

Formula for calories needed (KCAL)

KCAL if goal (weight loss) = TEE- 650

KCAL if goal (weight maintenance) = TEE

KCAL if goal (weight gain/muscle gain): TEE+ 500


Total Calories = 1675 + 500 = 2175


Why Macros Really Are Necessary?

Now that you know exactly how many calories you need, you need to determine your macronutrient breakdowns. All three macronutrients will be important when it comes to building muscle. Protein is needed to repair, rebuild and put on muscle, while carbohydrates will help fuel workouts, glycogen replenishment and stimulate insulin for nutrient delivery and protein synthesis. Lastly, essential fats are needed for hormone development. This means a balanced macronutrient ratio is critical.


Choose from lean cuts of meat, poultry, dairy and fish but don’t be afraid to eat meats that provide some fat as well. Saturated fat from eggs and red meat provide a source of cholesterol that can help balance important hormones needed for growth!  Choose from:

  • Lean Red Meat
  • Whole Eggs
  • Egg Whites
  • Poultry
  • Fatty Fish
  • Greek Yoghurt
  • Whey Protein


Complex Carbs are important, but it’s ok to also eat a few simple ones too. Although nutrient timing and the post-workout anabolic window is in question by many researchers, eating simple carbs after training does help muscle building by stimulating insulin release. This shuttling hormone helps direct nutrients to the muscle to help with glycogen replenishment and protein synthesis. Choose from:

  • Brown Rice
  • White Rice
  • Potato
  • Sweet Potato
  • Quinoa
  • Squashes
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Green Veggies


Studies have shown that eating a diet that is higher in protein and fats can lead to increases in lean mass and strength, with a more favourable body composition over those following higher carbohydrate, low fat diets. Eating meat will provide some of your fat sources, but other sources include nuts, seeds and even dairy. Choose from:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Whole Eggs
  • Avocado
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Peanut Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Flax Oil
  • Seeds

Putting the Pieces Together

Once you have your total calories for the day, the next step is to break down those calories into macronutrient percentages based on what you determined your calorie goals are as per the above step.

Weight Loss = 40:20:40

Weight Maintenance = 40:30:30

Weight Gaining = 40:40:20

Macronutrient Breakdowns….

Protein = Calories x 40% = Calories of Protein Per Day/4 calories per gram = g weight of Protein/Day

Example = 2175 x 0.4 = 870/4 = 218 g of Protein/Day

Carbs = Calories x 40% = Calories of Carbs Per Day/4 calories per gram = g weight of Carbs/Day

Example = 2175 x 0.4 = 870/4 = 218 g of Carbs/Day

Fats = Calories x 20% = Calories of Fats Per Day/9 calories per gram = g weight of Fats/Day

Example = 2175 x 0.2 = 435/9 = 48 g of Fats/Day

Build Your Diet Plan

Meal 1:

Oatmeal with Berries, Egg Omelette

Meal 2:

Chicken Breast, Brown Rice with Mixed Veggies

Meal 3: 

Whey Protein Shake, Apple Slices with Natural Nut Butter

Meal 4:

Lean Sirloin, Baked Sweet Potato with Steamed Broccoli

Meal 5: 

Baked Salmon, Roasted Pumpkin, Spinach Salad with Olive Oil & Lemon Juice

Meal 6: 

Greek Yoghurt with spoonful of Natural Nut Butter

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