How To Find Your Calorie Needs

Whether you want to lose weight or build muscle and add size, the amount calories you eat will be the determining factor in whether or not you reach your goals.

What about training? Yes, that will of course play an important part, but if there was one sole determining factor that determined whether or not you lost or gained weight it, it would be the amount of calories you take in.

I know most people are not dieticians and their knowledge of diet and food doesn’t extend beyond their sense of taste. Most people like what they like, right? And that’s not a bad thing because reaching your weight loss or weight gain goals is a learning experience. Who really knows where to start?

When your trying to find your calorie intake recommended, you will need to start at the beginning. So, let me give you a helping hand with the following statement: Food is more than a matter of taste, it’s the stuff we’re made of. The food we eat is the fuel we run on, it affects every cell in the body and it affects the way you feel each day.

For most people, it never really occurs to them that poor diets are one of the main culprits for feeling tired, fatigued, and a general sense of moodiness.

However, once you start to realize that food is an essential fuel for a delicate balanced machine, you’ll appreciate that indiscriminate eating with little regard for calorie intake can cause a host of problems, both emotional and physical.

With that in mind, eating right is a learning experience and you will, over time, gain understanding of nutritional know how. If you start to think of your food intake this way, you’ll start to see things a little differently and believe me, you’ll attain your goals all that much faster.

All right, how much calories do you need to lose weight? Or how about building muscle? Let’s start out by saying each of us has a different calorie intake. I may need 3,000 calories just to sustain my current body mass, however, you may need only 2,500 calories. With this in mind, it’s important to find out how many calories you need to achieve your goals.

In order to lose weight, I would recommend that you consume 12 to 14 times your body weight in calories. That is, if you weight 185 pounds and you want to lose an extra 20 pounds of body fat, try multiplying your weight by either 12 or 14. Let’s use 14 times.

With that in mind, you would need the following calories to start losing weight. 185 pounds multiplied by 14 equals 2,590 calories.

Please keep in mind that this calorie intake recommended is your starting point. It’s not the end all for your dieting needs. You must monitor your weight loss on an ongoing basis and adjust your caloric intake accordingly.

This is the key to successful weight loss. If you can monitor your caloric intake on a steady basis, you will know exactly how much calories you are ingesting and can make the necessary adjustments to match that of your own goals.

Let’s say you start out with 2,590 calories and lose 2 pounds per week for the first two weeks. However, let’s say you stop losing weight and you get stuck on your fourth week.

What does this mean? Well, it means you are consuming just enough calories to sustain your current body weight. That is, you have established a new base caloric intake with your “new” body weight.

What you need to do is 1) cut out more calories, per day; Or 2) increase the amount of exercise you do. The ideal situation is to do both.

If you’ve been monitoring your weight loss, all you need to do is cut out an additional 300 to 500 calories per day which could be a protein shake or one of your servings. Add an additional 10 minutes of cardio and you’ll be back on track to losing weight.

Remember, always monitor your training progress and always, always monitor what you eat and your caloric intake.

What if you want to gain muscular weight and build muscle? In this case, your calorie intake recommended would be a little different than for losing weight. You need to add more calories as opposed to cutting calories.

In order to gain weight, you need to consume about 18 times your body weight in calories. Rather, this would be your new calorie intake recommended. You would simply multiply your body weight by 18. For example, if you weight 150 pounds and you want to add another 20 pounds of muscular weight, you would multiply 150 pounds by 18. Therefore, your starting caloric intake will be 2,700.

Again, this is only your starting point. You must monitor your weight gain on a steady basis in order to gain at your desired pace and to prevent from getting too fat!

Now, if your not gaining weight at your desired pace, simply add another 300 to 500 calories per day. To do this, simply add in another protein shake.

In order to reach your weight goals, you will need to know your starting point. That is, you will need to know your recommended calorie intake in order to reach your goals (as discussed above). Whether you want to lose weight or build muscle, you need to ingest the proper amount of calories and always monitor your progress on an ongoing basis. Oh, and another thing…EXERCISE!!

You will need to exercise in order to reach your goal body weight. It doesn’t matter if you want to lose weight or build muscle, you will need to incorporate the proper training regime. For more information on weight training, see building muscle 101’s weight lifting routines here.

Good Luck And All the best,


P.S Try our calorie calculator here.

Blake Bissaillion

Blake has been weight lifting for about 28 years now. He's 45 years of age and started seriously training when he was 18 years old.

Blake is the founder of, a successful fitness website that has been around for more than 15 years.