There are a lot of great calculators out there to help you find your basic caloric intake, however i have found that the best way to figure out how much you should eat is to experiment. For beginners, you should track your diet very closely for three days. You can write everything that you eat on a piece of paper then sign up for a free account on a website that helps you track your calories such as theDailyplate. theDailyplate and many other similar sites give you a very good estimate on each foods caloric and macronutrient breakdown once you have logged everything in. After three days, take the average calories consumed, make that your baseline.
If your goal is to lose fat:
Day One: Eat 100 calories below your baseline
Days Two & Three: Eat 200 calories below your baseline
Days Four & Five: Eat 300 calories below your baseline
Day Six: Eat 400 calories below your baseline
Week Two: Eat 500 calories below your baseline
Week Three: Eat 600 calories below your baseline
Week Four: Eat 700 calories below your baseline
If your goal is to build muscle:
Day One: Eat 100 calories above your baseline
Day Two: Eat 200 calories above you baseline
Days Three & Four: Eat 300 calories above your baseline
Day Five: Eat 400 calories above your baseline
Day Six: Eat 500 calories above your baseline
Days One – Three: Eat 600 calories above your baseline
Day Four – Six: Eat 700 calories above your baseline
Daye One- Three: Eat 800 calories above your baseline
Days Four – Six: Eat 900 calories above your baseline
Week Four: Eat 1000 calories above your baseline
For intermediate and advanced trainees, you should already be keeping a food log and should know what your baseline calories are. You also have more data to work with, so to get the best reading, simply throw your caloric intake for the past month on an excel spreadsheet, and figure out the average. Then move ahead towards your goal.
There is more to it then just caloric intake. You need to make sure that your calories are coming in from clean sources. Don’t expect to gain muscle or lose fat if you’re still eating those potato chips.
For a great, simple approach to nutrition, checkout Body By Eats. Click here for more information.