How to calculate your own Calorie needs with simples steps (DIY part 3)

Calculating calorie needs is part 3 of the blueprint series, here’s the previous posts if you missed them:


The process of creating a nutrition and training plan could be tedious. How should you approach the problem of calculating your ‘maintenance’ calories? To answer this, I will teach the best ideas and methods to use when finding your calorie needs.



There are many tools and calculators on the internet that you can use to calculate your calorie needs. You can even use this calculator on DRVFT to get a close estimate. But the most accurate measurement of your ‘maintenance’ calories needs an understanding of some important concepts:

One pound of fat (450g) equals 3500kcal:

This means that if you want to lose one pound of fat in a week, you need to eat 3500 calories less that week. In other words, -500 calories per day from your ‘maintenance’.

Your maintenance differs everday:

Online calculators can be accurate, but your maintenance will never be exact. This is one factor that contributes to inconsistent weigh-ins. That is why I recommend the average-approach in part one.

You need to spend a few weeks finding a closer estimate of your ‘maintenance’:

This may seem tedious, but it can be very exciting to understand your metabolism.

As you diet, your calorie expenditure moves downward:

Recent scientific research proved the ‘Adaptive Metabolism’ theory. After about three weeks of eating 50% less than normal calories, subjects’ resting metabolic rate decreased by up to 43%. This is the old saying: ‘Use it or you lose it.’

Applying these ideas


It’s one thing to understand these calorie-concepts, but another to actually apply them. Here is the step-by-step process to calculate your true maintenance:

Step 1:

Get a calorie tracking app, weigh your food and track it every day for two weeks. Eat exactly the same amount of calories every day.

Step 2:

Weigh yourself every morning using the method described in part one. Average out your first, and second weeks’ weigh-ins.

Step 3:

Calculate your true maintenance from the movement of your weight.

E.g. I ate 2300 Calories everyday for the last two weeks. My weight average in week one was 160lbs and in week two it was 158lbs. The difference was a loss of two pounds (1 pound = 450g).

I know now that 3500 calories equal one pound of fat, so I can calculate how much calories I was below my maintenance. By moving from 160 to 158 I was eating approximately 7000 (3500 x 2lbs) less than my maintenance per week. That is 1000 calories per day. Theoretically I should now know that my maintenance calories are (2300+1000) 3300 calories per day.

Step 4:

Use your foundation to calculate your daily needs. I mentioned in part one that you should aim for 0.5 to 1% weight loss per week to stay healthy. E.g. Now that I know my maintenance is 3300 calories, I can calculate my goal calorie needs to reach the weight I desire in time. I am going to go for 1% (1.6lbs) loss per week. That means I would have to eat (1.6lbs x 3500cal) 5600 calories less per week or -800 per day.

Moving maintenance


Theoretically all these calculations are sound. In practice though, it will vary. You would have to do everything 100% the same every day to have that kind of results.

That is where patience and adjustments come in. This is the role that I assume as an online personal coach. Calculating your exact needs each week can become tedious and drain your willpower. You will have to stay true to recalculating your maintenance every few weeks and adjust your intake using the method above to achieve your results.

If you are interested, we can start a coaching journey at any time. Just go to your online application. I have transformed many clients under DRVFT cc without the rigid meal plans and hardcore carb-cutting. I also specialise in fixing broken metabolisms through a concept called recovery dieting.

Thank you for reading. You can sign-up to this series and more articles to receive a notification every time a new version comes out. I believe that they will add value to your life. Coming these next few Wednesdays:

  • Calculating macro- and micro-nutrient requirements
  • Meal timing and food choices
  • Broken metabolisms
  • Training and cardio implementation
  • An example blueprint

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