How Many Calories Do I Burn A Day?

February 23, 2015

This is a question that MANY people ask, and it's a good one!

If you're wondering "How many calories do I burn a day?" you're no doubt trying to figure out how many calories you can eat on a daily basis. Weight loss is, in its simplest form, a numbers game: more calories consumed than burned = weight gain; more calories burned than consumed = weight loss. As long as you follow that simple formula, you're going to have the best chance of actually dropping those excess pounds.

But, before you can figure out how many calories you can consume every day, you need to know the number of calories you burn. You've come to the right place!

How to Calculate Daily Calorie Burn

If you're wondering "How many calories should I burn a day?", slow your roll, buddy! You need to know how many calories your body burns on its own, and that will be your guide to figuring out the number of calories you need to burn every day.

Figuring out your daily calorie burn is a bit complex, so get out a paper, a pencil, and a calculator. Ready? It's time to do some math!

If you are a man:


  1. Take your weight in kilograms and multiply it by 10
  2. Take your height in centimeters and multiply it by 6.25
  3. Take your age and multiply it by 5
  4. Add #1 & #2 together, then subtract #3.
  5. Add 5 to the total.

Example:

  1. Your weight is 120 kilograms (10 x 120 = 1200)
  2. Your height is 180 centimeters (180 x 6.25 = 1125)
  3. You are 25 years old (5 x 25 = 125)
  4. 1200 + 1125 = 2325; 2325 - 125 = 2200
  5. 2200 + 5 = 2205

Your total calorie burn for the day is 2205!

If you are a woman:


  1. Take your weight in kilograms and multiply it by 10
  2. Take your height in centimeters and multiply it by 6.25
  3. Take your age and multiply it by 5
  4. Add #1 & #2 together, then subtract #3.
  5. Subtract 161 from the total

Example:

  1. Your weight is 70 kilograms (10 x 70 = 700)
  2. Your height is 150 centimeters (150 x 6.25 = 987.5)
  3. You are 25 years old (5 x 25 = 125)
  4. 700 + 987.5 = 1687.5; 1687.5 - 125 = 1562.5
  5. 1562.5 - 161 = 1401.5

Your total calorie burn for the day is 1,401.5!

This is the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation, a formula that was introduced over 25 years ago, and which is considered to be the most accurate formula for estimating calorie burn today.

Other formulas include:

These formulas help you to figure out what is called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR is the number of calories that your body burns on its own, without any sort of physical activity introduced into the mix.

Note: You may often see the term Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) being used interchangeably with BMR. The only difference between the two is the method by which the date is determined.

"How Many Calories Do I Need to Lose Weight?"

how Many Calories Do I Burn A Day

Now we're hot on the trail towards finding that final number that will help you to know EXACTLY how many calories you need to burn per day in order to lose weight!

So, using the formula above, you've figured out your basal metabolic rate according to your age, height, weight, and gender. Now what?

Now, it's time to factor in any sort of physical activity that you may do during your day. This could include walking up and down stairs, running at the park, lifting weights, or cycling to work. You need to add in all of this physical activity and determine how many calories you naturally burn in your day.

Check out this list of calories burned per activity…

For example, let's say you're the male described above (120 kilograms, 180 cm, 25 years old). You know your basal metabolic rate is 2200, give or take a few calories. Then, you know that you cycle for half an hour every day. You take it slow, as you're in no hurry--meaning your page is light. Light cycling (at your weight) burns about 600 calories per hour. You know that you cycle for half an hour, thus you burn 300 calories!

Take that 300 calories and add it to your BMR of 2,200, and you end up with the beautifully rounded number of 2,500. That number tells you how many calories you burn every day. To stay healthy and have enough energy to continue functioning, you need to consume no less than 2,500 calories.

But what if your goal is to lose weight and burn fat? What then?

Easy! Remember our formula: more calories burned than consumed = weight loss. You know that you need to burn more calories than you eat, so all you need to do is consume fewer than 2,500 calories in a single day. The lower your calorie consumption, the more weight you will lose.

How many calories can you cut per day? Experts recommend sticking with a calorie deficit no greater than 500 calories.

Some people will make drastic changes and cut down to eating only about 1000 to 1200 calories per day. They think this will make it easier to lose weight, but not so! The human body is designed to shut down in times of "starvation", so it will cling to all of its fat and energy. You'll end up starving yourself, but you won't lose fat--only muscle and bone mass.

Cutting 500 calories per day is the key to proper weight loss. A 500-calorie deficit is not so devastating to your body, especially if you are doing A LOT of exercise and eating a healthy amount of food. Your body will burn the fat and calories, but it won't shut down.

Plus, if you burn 500 calories per day, you can burn 1 pound in a single week. There are roughly 3,500 calories in a pound of body weight (especially in body fat), so burning 500 calories every day for an entire week will help you to drop about a pound per 7 days.

This is a rate of weight loss that your body is able to handle, and it can be sustained for months at a time. It is slow, steady weight loss, and your body will not see it as "starvation". That is why it's best to JUST cut 500 calories per day.

Thanks to the formulas above, you now know how it's done!

Kaitlin Gardner

About the Author

Kaitlin Gardner

Kaitlin Gardner currently lives in Pennsylvania and is married to her best friend. In her spare time, she loves to go hiking , hand with her family and friend and enjoy nature.