You can use a calculator to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR is the number of calories you’d burn if you simply laid in bed all day. If you’re not very active and/or want to lose weight, you’ll want to eat less than your BMR. If you’re very active and/or want to gain weight or muscle, you’ll want to eat more than your BMR.


If calculators aren’t your thing, here are some general guidelines:

  • 1200 calories: petite women; women who aren’t engaging in intense physical activity regularly; women who are interested in weight loss
  • 1500 calories: women with higher calorie needs (taller, physically active); women who are interested in weight maintenance; men who are interested in weight loss
  • 1800 calories: men with higher calories needs (taller, physically active); women who are interested in gaining muscle