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How to Evaluate Your Calorific Need

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 11 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Caloric Need Calories Energy Expended

Most people don't know how many calories their body's need in an average day. As a consequence, many people consume far more calories than they need each day without even realising it. Weight management depends upon an energy balance equation; the amount of energy you put into your body (food calories) versus the amount of energy you expend (activity).

How to Accurately Calculate Your Body's Needs

Understanding your body's energy requirements can help you make healthy nutritional choices.

There are three main components that make up your body's energy expenditure- basal metabolic rate, energy expended during physical activity, and the thermic effect of food. Adding these three components together is the most accurate way of determining how many calories your body requires each day.

  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR):
    Most of the body's energy (about 60-70%), goes to supporting the ongoing metabolic function of all of your body's cells. This includes such activities as heart beat, respiration and maintaining body temperature.

    To determine your BMR (using Kilograms):

    • Multiply your body weight by 20, and then add 5 times your body weight to the result.
    • i.e., for a 70 kg male, 1,400 + (5 x 70) = 1,750 calories per day BMR
    • i.e., for a 55 kg female, 1,100 + (5 x 55) = 1,375 calories per day BMR

    To determine your BMR (using Pounds):

    • Multiply your body weight by 10, and then add double your body weight to the result.
    • i.e., for a 150 lb male, 1,500 + (2 x 150) =1,800 calories per day BMR
    • i.e., for a 120 lb female, 1,200 + 120=1,320 calories per day BMR

  • Energy Expended during Physical Activity:
    The second component of the equation depends upon your level of physical activity. Physical activity has a profound effect on human energy expenditure and contributes 20-30% to the body's total energy output. One of the most reliable methods in calculating calories burned during physical activity is the Metabolic Energy (MET) Method (see table below).

  • Thermic Effect of Food:
    The last component to calculate has to do with your body's management of food. The increase in energy required to digest food is referred to as the thermic effect of food (TEF) and it's simple to determine:

    TEF = total kcals consumed x 10%
    [i.e., 2,000 kcals consumed/day x 0.10 = 200 kcals expended for TEF]

At the Gym
If you fancy a trip to the gym then the chart below shows how many calories you burn during 30 minutes of some common activities:

Activity Calories Burnt Activity Calories Burnt

Aerobics: low impact

240

Aerobics: high impact

336

Aerobics, Step: 6" - 8" step

408

Aerobics, Step: 10" - 12" step

480

Aerobics: water

192

Bicycling, Stationery: moderate, 150 watts

336

Rowing, Stationery: moderate, 100 watts

336

Rowing, Stationery: vigorous, 150 watts

408

Ski Machine: general

336

Stair Step Machine: General, without supporting any bodyweight on hand rails

432

Weight Lifting: Light, free weight, nautilus or universal-type
144
Weight Lifting: Vigorous, free weight, nautilus or universal-type
288

Sports and Activities
If sport is your think then the chart below shows how many calories you burn during 30 minutes of some common activities:

Below are the caloric values of energy expended during 30 minutes of various sports:

Activity Calories Burnt Activity Calories Burnt
Basketball: playing a game
384
Basketball

216

 

Bowling
144
Bicycling: BMX or mountain
408
Boxing: punching bag
288
Boxing: in the ring
576
Dancing: disco, ballroom, square, line, Irish step, polka
216
Dancing: slow, waltz, foxtrot, tango, fox trot
144
Fencing
288
Football: competitive
432
Golf: driving range, miniature
144
Golf: walking and pulling clubs
206
Gymnastics: general
192
Hacky sack
192
Handball: general
576
Handball: team
384
Hang Gliding
168
Hiking: cross-country
288
Hockey: field & ice
384
Horseback Riding: general
192
Ice Skating: general
336
Kayaking
240
Martial Arts: judo, karate, kick boxing, tae kwan do
480
Motor-Cross
192
Orienteering
432
Polo
480
Race Walking
312
Racquetball: competitive
480
Racquetball: casual, general
336
Rock Climbing: ascending
528
Rock Climbing: rappelling
384
Rollerblade / In-Line Skating
600
Rope Jumping: general, moderate
480
Running: 5 mph (12 min/mile)
384
Running: 5.2 mph (11.5 min/mile)
432
Running: 6 mph (10 min/mile)
480
Running: 6.7 mph (9 min/mile)
528
Running: 7 mph (8.5 min/mile)
552
Running: 8.6 mph (7 min/mile)
672
Running: 10 mph (6 min/mile)
768
Running: training, pushing wheelchair, marathon wheeling
384
Running: cross-country
432
Running: stairs, up
720
Running: on track, team practice
480
Scuba or skin diving
336
Skateboarding
240
Skiing: cross-country, light effort, general, 2.5 mph
336
Skiing: cross-country, vigorous, 5.0 - 7.9 mph
432
Skiing: downhill, moderate effort
288
Skiing: downhill, vigorous effort, racing
384
Soccer: general
336
Soccer: competitive play
480
Softball: pitching
288
Squash
576
Surfing: body or board
144
Swimming: general, leisurely, no laps
288
Swimming: laps, vigorous
480
Tai Chi
192
Table Tennis / Ping Pong
192
Tennis: general play
336
Tennis: singles, competitive
384
Tennis: doubles, competitive
240
Track & Field: high jump, long jump, triple jump, javelin, pole vault
288
Track & Field: steeplechase, hurdles
480
Volleyball: non-competitive, general play, 6 - 9 member team
144
Volleyball: competitive, gymnasium play
384
Volleyball: beach
384
Walk: 2 mph (30 min/mi)
120
Walk: 3 mph (20 min/mi)
158
Walk: 3.5 mph (17 min/mi)
182
Walk: 4 mph (15 min/mi)
240
Walk: 4.5 mph (13 min/mi)
302
Walk: 5 mph (12 min/mi)
384
Water Skiing
288

Home Maintenance and DIY
Finally if you're into DIY then you might be pleasantly surprised how many calories you can burn in 30 minutes. The chart below tells you exactly how many for some common (and not so common) jobs:

Below are the caloric values of energy expended during 30 minutes of various sports:

Activity Calories Burnt Activity Calories Burnt
Carpentry, installing rain gutters, building fence
288
Carrying & stacking wood
240
Chopping & splitting wood
288
Cleaning rain gutters
240
Digging, spading dirt, composting
240
Gardening: general
192
Gardening: weeding
216
Laying sod / crushed rock
240
Mowing Lawn: push, hand
288
Mowing Lawn: push, power
264
Operate Snow Blower: walking
216
Paint outside of home
240
Planting seedlings, shrubs
216
Plant trees
216
Raking Lawn
206
Roofing
288
Sacking grass or leaves
192
Shovelling Snow: by hand
288
Storm Windows: hanging
240
Sweeping: garage, sidewalks, outside of house
192
Trimming shrubs/trees: manual cutter
216
Trimming: using edger, power cutter, etc.
168
Watering plants, by hand
120
Workshop: general carpentry
144
Yard: applying seed or fertilizer, walking
120
Yard: watering by hand, standing/walking
72

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