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  1. #1
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    Total calorie needs = 3,360 !?

    Greetings-

    I am making a plan to trim down about 10 more pounds for my first season of racing. Was trying to determine my daily calorie needs and came up with 3,360, based on a formula Males: Calories = 66.47 + 13.75 (weight , kg) + 5 (height, cm) 6.7 6 (age, yr ) * 1.9.

    That seems like a lot - I am 39, about 180, and get about 2-3 hours of strenuous exercise a day, either on the bike or in the gym doing core workouts until April - then just 3-4 hours a day on the bike, including 5-6 hours on Saturday.

    Any comments? Anyone think this is in range or wacked out? I know if I want an exact idea, I should consult a nutritionist, but for now, just looking for a place to start.

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    There are a lot of formulas, and some are better than others. The more factors considered, the better. There are some that take VO2 max, body composition, and frame size into account, for instance. Most are primarily based on body surface area, with corrections for sex and age.

    Your caloric needs do not seem high at all to me. I think it's probably a little low, in fact (I'm assuming you are near 6 feet tall). "Only" 2-3 hours of strenuous exercise? Bike and core workouts really aren't metabolically equivalent, though.

    These are all just estimates, and variation between people is significant. The best place to start would be to log everything you eat for a couple of weeks, being as accurate as possible. I would just write down the amounts of everything you eat, and calculate calories later. Otherwise, there is a significant bias introduced, and you may change your diet as you go. It would be better to get a sense of your typical diet, and evaluate it later. The average number of daily calories you eat, if your weight is stable, is about your daily requirement. You can adjust from there if you wish to change your weight.

    You may be surprised at how many calories you actually eat in a given day. My needs are quite high, and when I saw an estimate I doubted it was true. It is high (a little over 4000), but tracking confirmed that this is what I eat on a daily basis, and my weight is stable.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    From my experience, age is a BIG factor. I used to be able to lose weight in a heartbeat just by counting calories. Now, at 5'10 & 190 lbs, eating about 2500 cal. a day is more than enough. I'd have to get down to 2000 cal/day to lose weight. And, that's with 3 spinning classes a week and lifting/treadmill 3 days/week. Very frustrating. I'm 63 btw.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    When you do the calculations, plug in your goal weight, not your current weight.

    Also, calculate your activity level as bed-ridden. Most people don't do enough activity to select anything more active. Yes, you do burn more calories when you sit up, but not much, and if your goal is to lose weight, it's always best to estimate low. And when you add in your activity, be sure to subtract your sedentary hours. In other words ... if you cycle for 2 hours, multiply 22 hours * the 40-50 calories per hour, or so, you might burn doing nothing to calculate your non-cycling calories burned (880 - 1100 calories), and then calculate what you've burned during the 2 hours you cycled (in your case probably about 600 calories/hour).

    And yes, I suspect age has something to do with it. Lately I have had to eat 1800 calories plus exercise a minimum of 90 minutes a day in order to lose weight.
    And yes, 3360 seems quite high. I am smaller than

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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    If 3360 is supposed to be your BMR, then it's wrong.

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    Bulldozer GirlAnachronism's Avatar
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    Does anyone here use thedailyplate.com to track calories/exercise? I ask because I just started using it and the numbers seem a little high to me as well.

    But, I have been totally undereating for a long time now and am trying to track calories to try to gain a couple of pounds (how do I make this muscle and not fat!?) so maybe my perceptions are just skewed.

    It's giving me 1,977 on rest days (23 year old female, 5'7", 120lbs, lightly active), does that sound about right? Then for my 2 hour tempo interval ride on rollers this morning it's saying I burned 1,151, is that in the ballpark? If so, I have some eating to do!
    You're not punk, and I'm telling everyone.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GirlAnachronism View Post
    Does anyone here use thedailyplate.com to track calories/exercise? I ask because I just started using it and the numbers seem a little high to me as well.
    Read my post again. My post is based on trying to use sites like thedailyplate to track calories/exercise. Once I had adjusted myself to bedridden for the hours I was not exercising, the calories I needed to consume were a whole lot more realistic.

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    Bulldozer GirlAnachronism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Read my post again. My post is based on trying to use sites like thedailyplate to track calories/exercise. Once I had adjusted myself to bedridden for the hours I was not exercising, the calories I needed to consume were a whole lot more realistic.
    Yeah, I definitely hear what you're saying, but I also live in NYC without a car/metrocard. So, I walk at the very least 2 miles a day just getting to work and back, live on a 4th floor walk-up, carry all my groceries a mile or so, run all my errands on foot etc. Do you still think that putting 'sedentary' is better, or does that change anything? I am also 23

    I am also trying to stop losing so much weight and recover better from my 16-18 hour training weeks, so a little on the high side is fine, just as long as it's in the ballpark.
    You're not punk, and I'm telling everyone.

  9. #9
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    3360 seems high to me. I go on that Dr. Oz site once in awhile and, as I recall, there's a formula there for establishing your BMR. They also show how to figure BMR into a formula that includes daily activity to establish calorie needs. When I did mine (at age 63) and with all my exercise included it still came to under 2500 cals a day.

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    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Did a little research and according to Dr. Oz.....you can establish a ROUGH estimate of your BMR by multiplying your weight by 8 and adding 200. This would give you a theoretical number for daily calorie intake to maintain a given weight. Seems pretty crude to me and does not take age into account. For someone who is 150 lbs, a daily calorie intake of approx. 1400 would maintain that weight if you did no physical exercise at all. All theoretical of course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
    Did a little research and according to Dr. Oz.....you can establish a ROUGH estimate of your BMR by multiplying your weight by 8 and adding 200. This would give you a theoretical number for daily calorie intake to maintain a given weight. Seems pretty crude to me and does not take age into account. For someone who is 150 lbs, a daily calorie intake of approx. 1400 would maintain that weight if you did no physical exercise at all. All theoretical of course.
    ROUGH is right. What use is a rough guess, anyway? It's only worth anything as an initial approximation, when the intent for refinement is present.

    A lot of the problem here seems to be confusion over BMR, RMR, and total daily caloric expenditure.

    Different tools will give you different numbers depending what they're calculating. Some let you put in lifestyle activity levels, and let you add daily exercise. You have to be careful not to overestimate, and to accurately describe your daily exercise. The calculation is only as accurate as the data you give it, and it's not that great to start with.

    These equations all assume you're similar to the populations used in the studies they were derived from; if you do some more digging, you'll find population-specific equations for early-20's white males, young african-americans, and many others. Body composition is often not taken into account. Usually, it's just body mass, sex, and age (the last two are essentially used as body composition corrections). You are assumed to be average; like BMI, it works on a population level and is relatively easy to compute, but you're going to have plenty of people who don't fit the curve.

    What's wrong with examining your own diet and lifestyle, and tying those to your fluctuations in weight? It's as good of a guess as you're going to get (short of enrolling in a study or paying for it), and you'll get some insight into what changes can be made. It's a lot like estimating max HR to me: it's just a guess, so why not measure it yourself? It might take a little time and be too introspective for some, but it's worth more than a regression equation.
    Last edited by tadawdy; 03-03-10 at 01:45 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    tadawdy, you are essentially correct. I should say, I think you're right. But, from what I hear, it's pretty expensive to have the testing done that will give you a precise BMR. I'd love to be able to do that if I could afford it and knew where it is done.

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    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    So, I went to this site http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/ and found that my BMR is 1690 cals. a day and my body fat % is 21.83% based on their formulas.

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tadawdy View Post
    A lot of the problem here seems to be confusion over BMR, RMR, and total daily caloric expenditure.
    BMR is what you would burn if you slept 24 hours a day.

    RMR is what you would burn if you slept 8 hours a day, and sat at a computer for the remainder of the time.

    IMO you've really got to base what you burn on your BRM ... assume you sleep all day. Then if you exercise for, say, 2 hours during the day, your BRM calculation is for 22 hours of the day, and your exercise calculation is for 2 hours of the day.

    And if you are trying to lose weight, put your goal weight into the calculations rather than your current weight. If you're quite heavy, most of those calculators will tell you that you can eat 3000-4000 calories a day without exercising ... maybe that's true or maybe that's just a glitch in the calculator ... but if it is true, that's to maintain your current weight, not lose weight.

    Aim for at least 500 calories per day less than that to lose weight. 500 * 7 days = 3500 calories which is 1 lb. If you want to lose 2 lbs a week, which is still within the safe limit, aim for about 1000 calories per day less than the maintenance consumption amount. You can attain that deficit by either eating less or exercising more.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
    tadawdy, you are essentially correct. I should say, I think you're right. But, from what I hear, it's pretty expensive to have the testing done that will give you a precise BMR. I'd love to be able to do that if I could afford it and knew where it is done.
    I wasn't saying you should have it measured. You're right: it's really impractical, but monitoring your diet closely for a while isn't. I'm not saying everything you eat needs to be weighed, but how many people could give you even a reasonable guess as to how many calories they eat in a day? I'm pretty conscious of these things, but unless I log it every once in a while, I honestly couldn't give you a good guess. In my case, I'm a young, athletic guy, and I've had 2000 and 2500 calorie diets burned into my mind by American food labels, so I tend to think relative to these. In truth, I'm between 50 and 100% higher than this, depending on the day.

    Just mentioning measurement of BMR it for completeness. There aren't many reasons you'd really need to know it. You can control caloric intake and expenditure. Gaining weight? You can only do more or eat less, and examining your diet is bound to yield some clues as to how it could be done. Knowing your BMR won't give you any more control, and even if you thought your metabolism was unusually high or low, you'd start with a blood test for the usual culprits.

    If you're confined to a hospital bed, then the quick estimate is worth something.

    Edit: one thing to point out is that, depending on what you eat, the thermic effect of food can be very significant. Basically, it takes energy to get energy. This is one difference between RMR and BMR; BMR is measured while fasting. They're related, but definitely not the same.
    Last edited by tadawdy; 03-04-10 at 04:22 PM.

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