To determine the appropriate amount of calories to consume for your planned muscle building or fat loss phases, you must first establish a baseline target that would theoretically result in no change. .
The estimation of caloric intake that would simply keep you at your current body weight is referred to as your maintenance calories. To determine maintenance, I recommend tracking body weight and calories to ascertain the relationship between the two variables.
The ideal method requires time, energy, and thought, but results in a much more accurate, individualized estimation of maintenance calories.
To begin, you must obtain a digital body weight scale, a digital food scale, and an online account with a free food-tracking database like MyFitnessPal.
Once you’ve gathered these resources, the next step is to spend one to two weeks weighing and tracking your food as best as you can when you prepare it, and estimating your caloric intake when you aren’t preparing your own food as accurately as possible.
The goal of food tracking is to get a daily caloric intake that closely represents what you eat on a day to day basis. In conjunction with tracking calories, you will also step on the scale every morning, in the same conditions and record your body weight.
At the end of two weeks, you will have 14 weigh-ins and 14 calorie values. First, determine your average caloric intake by adding all 14 calorie values together and dividing by 14.
Do your best to record all your habits, don’t judge them or modify them, and estimate as best as possible when eating out. So, if you’ve done that, let’s say as an example, this value came out to 2100 calories, that is your current maintenance calories based on your food intake.
It is also important to measure your energy output, in simple terms how you burn calories. I like to look at this in very simple terms, by tracking how many steps you do on average over a two week period and by tracking any exercise you do on a regular basis, this could be weight training, cycling, running, swimming, playing tennis, whatever.
Once we have two weeks of calories, steps and how many training sessions we have done, we now have what is your maintenance, from here we can start to make changes based on your goals, but without the above it is all just a guess and if you are guessing you are messing.