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How many calories should you intake per day?

How many calories should you intake per day? It’s not that I get this question a lot. What I get a lot of is, “I’m on a diet where I can only have ‘X’ amount of calories per day and it worked well for the first 2 (or 3 or 4) weeks, but now it’s seems like I’m not losing the weight I was before.”

Let me get a little mathematical on you. In this equation, x = anywhere from 1200-1500. Now, let me get a little real on you. THAT’S NOT ENOUGH! It’ll work for about 2-4 weeks, depending on your metabolism, your build, and your BMR (Basic Metabolic Rate – I’ll touch more on that in a little bit). Then things will change.

The big thing here is, most of the people I’ve been speaking with that bring this up are doing some sort of workout program. 12-1500 calories is barely enough to sustain someone who doesn’t workout, let alone someone who is doing any sort of workout regimen, especially Beachbody programs like P90X, Insanity, TurboFire, or Asylum. These are just a few examples and are on the higher end of the programs that Beachbody offers in regard to intensity of the program. If you’re doing an aerobics class, cardio, or even weightlifting, this still rings true.

During an hour long workout, you have the potential to burn half those calories. That means you’re trying to survive on 600-750 calories per day. That doesn’t even take into account whether or not you’re taking in the proper nutrients that your body needs to achieve your desired health and fitness goals. Needless to say, with what you might burn during your workout and the small amount of calories being consumed, whatever proper nutrients you are feeding your body will not be enough.

Let me get back to the primary focus here, though. The human body is the most adaptive machine ever created. To stick to such a low calorie diet for an extended period of time will cause the body to adapt and, eventually, the body will go into starvation mode. The body ends up starting to store what you are taking in, because you need more than what you have been putting in your system.

This is why Beachbody workout programs are so successful. They aren’t a magic tool or pill or method that miraculously make you shed 30 pounds overnight. They’re programs designed to give you a schedule and the structure – both physically and nutritionally – needed to be successful. It takes work. It takes commitment. It takes self-discipline. All of these things combined will result in success and goals that are realized.

I mentioned that I would touch on BMR. BMR is a formula that determines your caloric burn through your standard daily activities. There are several free tools online that you should be able to find via most search engines. Most nutrition labels you see will say what percentage of different nutrients are contained in each product. Generally, this is based on the government’s standard of a 2,000 calorie diet. The only problem with that is, everyone is different. Someone with a higher BMR, who is very active, will have much higher needs for their caloric intake. Someone who is more sedentary and not quite as active will not need as many calories to maintain their current weight.

So, how many calories should you be taking in per day? The first thing you should do to determine this is find a BMR calculator. Check out a few different ones if you’re unsure on the accuracy of the first one you find. Next, determine what your goals are. You don’t want to lose weight too quickly. There are 3500 calories in a pound. If your BMR is 2500 calories, by adjusting your caloric intake to 2000 per day, that will average one pound per week lost. By adding a workout program and burning 5-600 calories per day on top of that, you’ll lose at least another pound just by calories taken in and those burned alone.

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