Here are a few guides and formulas I found and/or used to calculate basic caloric needs, calories consumed and calories burned through exercise.*


There a tons of tools on the web to calculate your basic caloric needs, or Basic Metabolism Caloric Rate (BMR; the number of calories you would need if you stayed in bed all day).  The tools typically require your height, weight, age, and gender.

Some ask you to choose an exercise lifestyle before making the calculation.  They add a (usually undisclosed) number onto your BMR based on your choice.  These can be easy to use if you don't want to go trolling for a lot of calorie usage data for your daily activities: Simple Calculator, Calculate Calorie Goal, Calorie Calculator with Choices for Activities and Exercises.

I like (and use) this one --> BMR Calculator because it gives you the raw data - just your BMR.  You can also use the BMR Formula and plug it into your own tool.

A nice compromise is the BMR plus Exercise Lifestyle Formula.  Here's one:
  • Sedentary (little or no exercise) - your AMR = BMR x 1.2
  • Lightly active (light exercise/work 1-3 days per week) - your AMR = BMR x 1.375
  • Moderately active (moderate exercise/work 3-5 days per week) - your AMR = BMR x 1.55
  • Very active (hard exercise/work 6-7 days a week) - your AMR = BMR x 1.725
  • Extra active (very hard exercise/work 6-7 days a week) - your AMR = BMR x 1.9
See Calculating Your Active Metabolic Rate (AMR).  Here's another more conservative formula (which I use).  Add the BMR percentage to the BMR value.
  • If you are sedentary : BMR x 20 percent
  • If you are lightly active: BMR x 30 percent
  • If you are moderately active (You exercise most days a week): BMR x 40 percent
  • If you are very active (You exercise intensely on a daily basis or for prolonged periods): BMR x 50 percent
  • If you are extra active (You do hard labor or are in athletic training): BMR x 60 percent 
See Calculating Your Daily Caloric Needs.
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Click here for the Self Magazine Nutritional Data Guide I used to collect these values.

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Using my heart rate, I apply the following formula by to calculate calories burned during exercise:
(0.074 x age in years - 0.05741 x weight in pounds + 0.4472 x average heart rate during exercise - 20.4022) x duration of exercise in minutes / 4.184
Thus, if 43 year old woman weighing 143 lbs exercises averages 141 bpm heart rate during 45 minutes of exercise, she would have burned 405 calories as follows:
(0.074 x 43 - 0.05741 x 143 + 0.4472 x 141 - 20.4022) x 45 / 4.184
To obtain my average heart rate during exercise, I take my heart rate three times, add up the values, and divide them by three.

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* Not to put too fine a point on it, but you're on your own with how valid the link data is.  First, quite naturally, I don't vouch for anything you are pointed to from here.  This is simply an organized collection of other people's stuff for your reference (to fact check me) and convenience (in case you're interested).  Next, I haven't found a page yet that doesn't contain lots of ads.  Comes with the territory.
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