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How much do you need to eat?

Top tips:

• It is very important to eat a wide variety of food, in order for us to get the vital nutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals we need to stay fit and healthy.

• Depending on the level of activity you’ve done each day, your body will have a different calorie requirement. If you regularly consume more calories than you need, you are likely to gain weight.

• If you are looking to lose weight, then the general rule is to reduce your calorie intake and increase your activity levels. This doesn’t need to be by a lot, in order to start seeing results.

There are many factors that contribute to the question – How much food do I need to eat? These include your sex, age, body composition, activity levels, to name the most common, but there are also a lot of other factors.

Once we understand these factors and calculate our requirements, then we can begin to work out how many calories we need to hit our goals. If you wish to calculate this accurately, we recommend you have a chat with your GP or a qualified professional at a testing centre.

However, one quick and easy way to calculate your basic needs is to use the Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR. BMR is best described as a measurement of the number of calories needed to perform your body's most basic (basal) functions, like breathing, circulation and cell production.

You can find various online calculators for free, but we recommend that you search for the Harris Benedict BMR calculator.

The Harris Benedict equation is a formula that uses your BMR and then applies an activity factor to determine your total daily energy expenditure (calories). This is a very good method, however, it doesn’t take lean body mass into the equation, which can mean it under-estimates calorie needs for very muscular people, and over-estimate calorie needs for overweight people.

However, it’s not always as simple as calculating calories in / calories out when it comes to our individual goals. You also need to understand what the requirements of your goal are – are you looking to lose or gain weight, do you train regularly, are you looking to maintain your current weight.

The general rule is, if you consistently eat fewer calories than your daily requirements, you will lose weight. If you consistently eat the same amount of calories as your daily requirement, you will maintain your current weight. If you are looking to gain weight, you need to have a small calorie surplus every day.

We always recommend that you get help when calculating your personal calorie needs and designing your meal plans.

If you found this information useful, please share it with someone you know who might like to read this.  Comment below if you have any questions, thoughts or ideas for future blogs.

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