Table of contents
1 Your calorie requirement: a result of many components
The basal metabolic rate - everything the body needs to sustain life Power metabolic rate - activities burn energy The calorie consumption of typical activities Your goal - weight loss or muscle gain have a big impact
2 The calorie requirement when losing weight
3 The calorie requirement when building muscle
4 What factors influence calorie consumption?
Gender - the basal metabolic rate of women is lower than that of men Size - more mass means a higher calorie requirement Weight - the heavier the higher the energy consumption? Age - increasing age, dwindling muscles
5 Conclusion

Calculate your calorie requirements and your recommended amount of protein per day. Choose the Detailed calculation at the end to determine your additional calorie requirement due to your sporting activity.

If you want to build muscle or lose weight, nutrition plays an integral role. However, relying solely on your gut feeling is rarely the right choice. A calorie calculator will help you determine exactly how much energy you need to reach your goal. But why use a calorie requirement calculator at all when it is stated everywhere that the daily calorie requirement of an adult is 2000 kcal? This applies to the average, but you are individual! Your age, height and other factors have a direct influence on your calorie consumption.

Read on if you want to know how many calories you need to build muscle or achieve your summer figure and how this is influenced by your individuality.

Your calorie requirement: a result of many components

How much energy your body needs is never static. Your calorie requirement is constantly changing and is made up of your basal metabolic rate, your energy expenditure and your goal. In a nutshell, you can imagine it like this:

The basal metabolic rate is the energy the body needs to stay alive. The power metabolic rate is the additional consumption that results from work and sport.
The goal has an influence, as less energy is needed to lose weight and more energy is needed to build muscle.

Basal metabolic rate - everything the body needs to sustain life

The basal metabolic rate includes the energy required to maintain life. For us humans, this includes blood circulation, breathing, digestion and thermoregulation. This is always based on a state in which there is neither mental nor physical stress.

In order to determine the correct BMR (basal metabolic rate) of a person, strict conditions must therefore prevail. It must be at a time when no digestion is taking place and the stimulating sympathetic nervous system must not be irritated.1

How high a person's basal metabolic rate is depends on their age, gender, weight and height. The body fat percentage (KFA) also plays a role in the calculation. This is because the largest energy consumer in the body is the muscles and the lower the KFA, the higher the fat-free body mass.

A rough basal metabolic rate formula states that the body burns about 1 kcal per kilogram of body weight per hour.2

The performance metabolic rate - activities burn energy

Sometimes you're on the move from early in the morning until late at night, and on another day it might be Netflix & Chill. Your energy expenditure is the energy you need for everything that your basal metabolic rate doesn't cover. So if you do sport, watch TV or think hard about something, your energy consumption falls into this category.

A calorie calculator usually asks for your activity level. Certain PAL factors have been defined to make the calculation. PAL stands for Physical Activity Level. The more active a person is, the higher the PAL factor.

This is an excerpt from the PAL value of the German Nutrition Society (DGE). For intensive sport (30 - 60 minutes, four to five times a week), 0.3 PAL units can be added.3

PAL Activity level Examples
1,2-1,3 Exclusively sedentary or recumbent lifestyle frail, immobile, bedridden people
1,4-1,5 Exclusively sedentary with little or no strenuous leisure activity Office workers, precision mechanics
1,6-1,7 Sedentary work, sometimes additional energy expenditure for walking and standing activities, little or no strenuous leisure activity Laboratory technicians, students, assembly line workers
1,8-1,9 Predominantly walking and standing work Salespeople, waiters, mechanics, craftsmen
2,0-2,4 Physically strenuous professional work or very active leisure activities Construction workers, farmers, forestry workers, miners, competitive athletes

The performance metabolic rate can be calculated using the PAL factor. To do this, the PAL factor must be multiplied by the basal metabolic rate and the basal metabolic rate subtracted from the result.
The corresponding formula is
Power metabolic rate = basal metabolic rate * PAL - basal metabolic rate

As the power metabolic rate is derived directly from the basal metabolic rate, it is independent of factors such as age or gender. The power metabolic rate is always directly proportional to the basal metabolic rate.

The calorie consumption of typical activities

Enough of the math. How many calories do you burn during everyday activities such as jogging, reading or sex?4 With this calculator you can calculate it yourself for your values.

For the following values, we have assumed a 1.80 m tall, 75 kg male person aged 30. Generally speaking, the more intense the activity, the more energy is consumed.

Activity Duration in min Calorie consumption in kcal Calories burned per hour in kcal
Badminton with friends 30 168 337
Bowling 90 337 224
leisurely cycling (less than 16 km/h) 20 100 299
fast cycling (22.5 - 25.5 km/h) 60 748 748
Walking (4 km/h) 30 112 224
Jogging (10 km/h) 45 561 748
Cleaning / tidying 40 150 224
Mowing the lawn 50 343 411
Sex with moderate activity 30 49 97
Sport for muscle building, high exertion 60 449 449
Yoga 25 78 187

Your goal - weight loss or muscle building have a big impact

The third and final crucial component in determining your calorie requirements is your goal. Depending on whether you just want to find out your regular total metabolic rate, build muscle or lose weight, your daily calorie requirement will vary.

Someone who wants to maintain their weight only needs to focus on their total metabolic rate and consume this. When building muscle or losing weight, on the other hand, a calorie surplus or deficit is required.

The calorie requirement when losing weight

If your goal is to lose weight, you will inevitably need to consume more calories than you take in. In order to have a reference point, you should first calculate your calorie requirement using the calorie calculator. 

It is worth knowing for weight loss that 1 kg of body fat corresponds to around 7000 kcal. 5 Based on this, the recommendation is to eat 500 kcal less than the daily calorie requirement.6 In this way, an excess kilo of fat will disappear from your hips in 2 weeks. It is therefore not necessary to calculate the exact calorie deficit.

However, you don't have to starve yourself to lose weight. Physical activity can increase your metabolic rate, which means you need more energy. This makes losing weight bearable, as your usual food consumption is not restricted, but there is still a calorie deficit.

The calorie requirement for muscle building

If your goal is to build muscle, your body needs more energy as it builds up new body mass. There is no general answer to how much the energy requirement increases.

There are two different approaches in bodybuilding: lean bulk and dirty bulk. The former involves increasing calorie intake only moderately in order to put on as little additional fat as possible while building muscle.

The dirty bulk, on the other hand, aims to put on as much mass as possible in a short period of time. As a rule, the bulking phase is followed by a cutting phase in which excess fat is trimmed.

If you want to calculate your calorie requirements, it depends on which strategy you are pursuing. For lean bulking, where mass is built up slowly, a surplus of 5 to 10 % is sufficient.7 A dirty bulk means eat as much as you can.

What factors influence calorie consumption?

Gender - the basal metabolic rate of women is lower than that of men

Men have a higher calorie requirement than women. A man's basal metabolic rate is higher because women have a higher body fat percentage and men consequently have more lean muscle mass.8

However, a study has shown that if the basal metabolic rate of men and women is set in relation to lean body mass, the difference is relativized.9

Size - more mass means a higher calorie requirement

The larger a body is, the more mass it has and the higher the energy consumption. This can be easily tested with a calorie calculator. Someone large will need more energy than a small person.

Interestingly, a study from Italy has shown that the BMR of a tall person is lower than that of a short person when the results are adjusted for body weight or lean body mass. However, the energy expenditure during walking is the same10

Weight - the heavier the higher the energy consumption?

The fact is that lean body mass is the decisive factor. A 1.80 m tall, 65 kg person with a KFA of 10 % has a higher calorie requirement than a 1.80 m tall, 70 kg person with a KFA of 20 %. This can be easily checked with the calorie calculator.

Age - increasing age, dwindling muscles

There is a strong correlation between age and energy consumption. An 80-year-old generally needs fewer calories per day than a 20-year-old. The reason again lies in muscle mass.

The body's biggest energy consumer is skeletal muscle. It is responsible for enabling the body to move as desired, for example when we move our arms and legs. As we get older, it decreases continuously, which also reduces the calorie requirement.11

Conclusion

With the SATURO calorie consumption calculator you can easily calculate your calorie requirements. However, your best calorie calculator is yourself. Because if you are looking for a calorie calculator, you usually have a certain goal.

This is not achieved by itself, but only by following the figures that the kcal calculator produces. You can calculate your calorie requirements to lose weight or build muscle. The important thing is that you stick to it.

We hope you have fun achieving your goals!

FAQ: Frequently asked questions about the calorie calculator

Do I have to reach the calorie requirement every day?

Your daily calorie requirement is specified by the calorie calculator. However, this does not mean that you have to consume exactly these calories every day; the body can cope with a slight fluctuation. Those who eat slightly more calories at the weekend than on Monday are even more successful at losing weight, as a study with more than 7000 participants showed.12

How does the calorie requirement of men differ from that of women?

Men usually have more muscle than women, which is due to evolution. Since muscles, or lean body mass, account for the lion's share of energy consumption, a woman's calorie requirement is lower than a man's.

What is a calorie anyway?

The calorie (cal) is a unit of energy. So if someone wants to calculate their calories, the underlying aim is to find out how much energy the body needs. Usually, the unit used in nutrition is kcal, i.e. 1000 cal. This is the energy required to heat 1 kg of water by 1 °C.

Collapsible content

Sources

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  2. McMurray, R. G., Soares, J., Caspersen, C. J., & McCurdy, T. (2014). Examining variations of resting metabolic rate of adults: a public health perspective. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 46(7), 1352-1358. 
  3. German Society for Nutrition e. V. Selected questions and answers on energy intake. Retrieved September 16, 2020 from 
  4. Ainsworth, B. E., Haskell, W. L., Whitt, M. C., Irwin, M. L., Swartz, A. M., Strath, S. J., O'Brien, W. L., Bassett, D. R., Jr, Schmitz, K. H., Emplaincourt, P. O., Jacobs, D. R., Jr, & Leon, A. S. (2000). Compendium of physical activities: an update of activity codes and MET intensities. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 32(9 Suppl), S498-S504. 
  5. Dr. Groeneveld, M. Energy content of fat: 7000 kcal vs 9000 kcal. Retrieved June 4, 2020 from 
  6. Raynor, H. A., & Champagne, C. M. (2016). Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Interventions for the Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(1), 129-147. 
  7. Satrazemis, E, RD, CSSD, How Many Calories Shoud I Eat to Gain Weight?. Retrieved September 16, 2020
  8. Miller, A. E., MacDougall, J. D., Tarnopolsky, M. A., & Sale, D. G. (1993). Gender differences in strength and muscle fiber characteristics. European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology, 66(3), 254-262. 
  9. Buchholz, A. C., Rafii, M., & Pencharz, P. B. (2001). Is resting metabolic rate different between men and women?. The British journal of nutrition, 86(6), 641-646. 
  10. Censi, L., Toti, E., Pastore, G., & Ferro-Luzzi, A. (1998). The basal metabolic rate and energy cost of standardized walking of short and tall men. European journal of clinical nutrition, 52(6), 441-446. 
  11. Shimokata, H., & Kuzuya, F. (1993). Nihon Ronen Igakkai zasshi. Japanese journal of geriatrics, 30(7), 572-576. 
  12. Hill, C., Weir, B. W., Fuentes, L. W., Garcia-Alvarez, A., Anouti, D. P., & Cheskin, L. J. (2018). Relationship Between Weekly Patterns of Caloric Intake and Reported Weight Loss Outcomes: Retrospective Cohort Study. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 6(4), e83. 
  13. Miller, A. E., MacDougall, J. D., Tarnopolsky, M. A., & Sale, D. G. (1993). Gender differences in strength and muscle fiber characteristics. European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology, 66(3), 254–262.