Calculate Calorie Intake For Weight Gain


If you want to gain weight, it may be a challenge, but with the right calculation you can determine the right daily calorie intake you need to gain pounds. We’ll guide you through how many calories you need in a day, what factors affect your body mass index (BMI), and how many calories are in a pound of body fat.

What are calories?

Calories are a unit of measurement. They are a way to express an amount of energy.

People are generally most familiarTrusted Source with “big” calories, which convey the amount of energy in foods and drinks.

Why do calories matter?

Caloric energy is vital in supporting life and health. It helps maintainTrusted Source key bodily functions, such as the functioning of cells.

The body converts calories from food, for example, into energy. It uses this energy immediately or stores it for later use, depending on its current needs.

Why count them?

There are many reasons to count calories. Broadly speaking, doing so allows a person to measure how much energy they are consuming per day.

If a person takes in more than their body uses, they generally begin to gain weight. If a person takes in less than their body requires, they generally start to lose weight.

If, over a prolonged period, foods rich in simple sugars are a primary source of excess calories, a person is at riskTrusted Source of:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • sleep apnea
  • osteoarthritis
  • gallbladder disease and gallstones
  • fertility problems
  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and gout
  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • stroke
  • cancers such as breast and colon cancer

People who are significantly increasing their activity levels need extra calories to account for those they are burning.

If a person consumes too few calories, they are at risk of:

  • weight gain caused by a decrease in cortisol production
  • heartbeat irregularities
  • weakening bones
  • the loss of mass in the kidneys, heart, and skeletal muscles
  • permanent organ damage
  • cardiac arrest

Calculate Your Daily Calorie Requirements

For anyone watching their weight, keeping track of calorie intake is an important practice and can prove to be very effective. If a person consumes more calories than they burn each day, they will gain weight. Similarly; if a person consumes less calories than they burn daily, they will lose weight. Your age, weight, and gender also influence your maintenance calorie number. 

Knowing how many calories your body needs to maintain your current weight is an important step in managing your weight and achieving your goals. 

Daily calorie requirements vary from person to person and are established by several factors:

  • Physical activity levels 
  • Resting metabolic rate (RMR)
  • Thermogenesis (calories required for heat production)
  • Gender, age, weight 

Resting metabolic rate is the amount of calories your body burns during quiet rest. RMR accounts for between 60-80% of the total calories burned daily. Physical activity is the second largest contributing factor to daily calorie requirements. Exercise is the most variable factor of working out daily calorie requirements because this number will change based on the intensity, frequency and duration of the exercise. 

Thermogenesis is the least impactful factor in working out daily calorie requirements. Thermogenesis is the number of calories required to digest and absorb any food consumed. Whilst certain diets claim to enhance this, no current research exists to support those claims. 

As RMR and physical activity levels are the most significant factors of a person’s daily calorie requirements; estimating these based on a few personal variables can help to establish how many calories you require each day to manage your weight. Our Calorie Calculator provides a general calorie goal, which if you consistently adhere to, will help you to lose weight and prevent future weight gain. 

To take managing your weight a step further and speed up weight loss, you should increase your calorie expenditure through exercise. Put simply, the most effective way to increase your body’s calorie expenditure is through regular exercise. Not only will regular exercise help to boost weight loss; it will also help to sculpt and tone your body to enhance the results of your weight loss. You will also be able to eat more food than you would without exercise whilst still adhering to your calorie goals.

It’s worth noting that this calorie calculator is merely a guideline and it’s recommended to consult a nutritionist or doctor before implementing any of the calorie deficits outputted by this tool.

The Calories You Burn Daily

The exact number of calories required to gain weight in a day depends on your individual metabolism. Use a basic formula, known as the Harris-Benedict equation, to determine roughly how many you need if all you were to do is lie in bed all day. This basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is the energy required to fuel basic bodily functions — including pumping blood, operating internal organs and brain activity.

For a man, add 88.4 plus 13.4 times your weight in kilograms. Then add 4.8 times your height in centimeters. Finally, subtract 5.68 times your age in years. For a woman, the equation is slightly different. Add 447.6 and 9.25 times your weight in kilograms. Add 3.1 times your height in centimeters. From this total, subtract 4.33 times your age in years. To figure kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2; to figure centimeters, multiply your height in inches by 2.54. Alternatively, you can use an online BMR calculator to do the math for you.

For a 35-year-old, 5-foot-10-inch man weighing 160 pounds, this comes out to 1,721 calories just to survive. For a 35-year-old, 5-foot-6-inch woman weighing 125 pounds, the result is 1,341 calories per day.

Figure in Your Activity Level

Take the number you determine as your BMR and multiply it by a factor that represents your activity level to come up with an estimate of how many calories you need daily to maintain your current weight. Once you know this number, you can then determine how many calories lead to weight gain. A sedentary person who does little more than sit at a desk all day multiplies the BMR by 1.2. For light activity, which involves a workout one to three times per week, use 1.375. For moderate activity, which means you are moderately active three to five times per week — probably meeting the 150 minutes per week of moderate activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — multiply by 1.55. For the very active person who has daily sports practice, use 1.725, and for the extremely active person, who performs hard exercise and has a physically active job, use 1.9.

In the previous examples, if the man heads to the gym six times per week for intense weight training and 30 to 45 minutes of cardio, he’d qualify as very active and need 2,968 calories to maintain his weight. If the woman example previously mentioned had a desk job and never exercised, she’d need just 1,609 calories to maintain her frame.

Gain Weight Gradually

Gaining weight quickly and without exercise usually leads to an increase in body fat, rather than healthy lean muscle. To add muscle, aim for just a 250- to 500- calorie surplus per day to add 1/2 to 1 pound to your frame per week. Choose healthy calorie additions, such as an extra serving of chicken or steak at meals or cottage cheese before bed. The protein in these added calories supports a concerted weight-training program that includes two to three total-body sessions per week using heavy resistance. Each workout should consist of one to three sets of at least one exercise for every major muscle group that contains four to eight repetitions.

Ways to Add Calories for Weight Gain

Larger servings of processed foods, such as snack mixes, fast food or soda, will cause weight gain, but probably not the muscle you’re seeking. You don’t have to make huge changes to increase your daily calorie intake healthfully by 250 to 500 calories. For example, add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to your morning toast to add 190 calories; melt cheese on scrambled eggs or add an ounce to a sandwich for another 114 calories; add a half an avocado to a salad for 113 calories; or blend up a post-workout smoothie that includes a banana, scoop of whey protein and a cup of milk for 400 calories.

Other high-calorie, healthy foods to feature at meals and snacks include dried fruit, whole-grain breads, seeds and starchy vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and corn.

Calorie Calculator For Weight Loss

The calorie calculator for weight loss works takes your input and calculates your calories per day. Once you have your calories per day the weight loss calories calculator gives you a daily calorie deficit so you consume more calories than you burn. 3000 calories are the equivalent of one pound of body weight. By having a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories you can have a 3000 total calorie deficit over a one-week period, a calorie intake equivalent to losing one pound of body weight per week. For optimal health reasons and to prevent your body from going in a catabolic state the food calorie deficit should not exceed 500 per day. In order to successfully lose weight you need optimal nutrition while keeping your body metabolism active.

Calorie intake calculator for Body Weight Change

The food calories calculator can give you a calorie deficit for weight loss or a calorie surplus for weight gain. The food calorie calculator acts as a guideline, but the food calories you digest need to be adjusted daily based on your activity and in order to give you optimal results.

Calorie Intake Calculator Summary

The common question of how many food calories should I eat per day? Take a look at the food calories calculator, that can act as a guideline when deciding what types of foods and how many macros to digest every day. Other useful fitness calculator for your health are the resting metabolic rate calculator, which measures your metabolism and the body mass index which measures your obesity level. Please keep in mind that BMI will overestimate obesity level in the most muscular. To get an accurate measurement of your body fat you can use this at home body fat calculation method.

How Many Calories Do I Need To Gain Weight?

The only way to gain weight is to enter a hypercaloric state.

This means that you must consume more calories than you are burning on a daily basis.

To calculate this, you will need to:

  • Step 1: Determine Your Basal Metabolic Rate
  • Step 2: Determine Your Total Maintenance Calories Based on Your Activity Levels
  • Step 3: Increase Your Daily Calorie Intake by 300-500 Calories Over Your Maintenance Calories

Let me show you how.

Step 1: Determine Your Basal Metabolic Rate (Calculator)

The amount of calories you burn on a daily basis is extremely complex and can be influenced by several factors.

Thankfully, there’s a quick way to determine the number of calories you burn just to stay alive, aka your basal metabolic rate.

It’s called the Harris-Benedict Equation.

Your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories that your body burns at rest and to keep your organs working.

So what’s the calculation?

For women it is: 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches) – ( 4.7 x age in years )

For Men it is : 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age in years )

Is this calculation accurate?

It’s accurate enough. There are several factors that can influence this number, but it serves as a useful baseline to start with.

Now that you have this number, we must multiply it by how active you currently are to get your adjusted basal metabolic rate.

How To Determine Your Maintenance Calories Based On Excercise

There are five activity levels:

  1. Sedentary: Very little to no physical activity besides activities of daily living
  2. Mildly active: Your work requires physical activity, or you work out 1-2 times a week.
  3. Moderately active: You exercise 3-4 times a week and engage in active work.
  4. Very active: You exercise heavily 4-6 times a week
  5. Michael Phelps status: Daily exercise activity (sometimes with 2 times a day workouts).

After you determine which activity level you fall under – here is what you multiply your BMR by:

Activity LevelMultiplication Factor
SedentaryMultiply your BMR by 1.2
Mildly ActiveMultiply your BMR by 1.35
Moderately ActiveMultiply your BMR by 1.5
Very ActiveMultiply your BMR by 1.75
Michael PhelpsMultiply your BMR by 2

For example:

Let’s say you are a 30-year-old woman.

You weigh 100 lbs at a height of 5’2 and you are mildly active individual.

  • Using the calculator above, your basal metabolic rate is 1240.
  • Next multiply this number by 1.35 since you are mildly active, which gives us 1675 calories per day for maintenance
  • In theory, you need to consume 1675 calories per day just to maintain your weight.

Again, this is just an estimate, but a useful one.

Alright, now what do we do with this number?

The Last Step: How Many Additional Calories Should You Eat Per Day To Gain Weight (Calculator)

Now you should aim to increase your daily caloric intake by ~300-500 calories per day over your maintenance calories.

You may be tempted to increase your caloric intake more to speed up the process. I highly suggest that you not do this.

You may slip up from time to time, but you should do your best to to not exceed 500 calories frequently.

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