BMR calculator – Calculate your daily calorie needs

A lean man is tying his shoes, getting ready to run. He knows his BMR and knows that with his current diet, he'll need to add cardio to not gain weight.

Knowing how many calories you need to eat is beneficial for most, especially if you lift weights. We need to be in surplus to build muscle mass and gain weight, just as we need to be in a deficit to lose weight. There are different ways to calculate your daily caloric needs, but the easiest is with an online BMR calculator.

This article won’t just help you calculate your daily calorie needs but also how you can use that when losing weight.

How to use the BMR calculator

You need to know your height and weight as well as your age, sex, and activity level for the BMR calculator to calculate your caloric needs. You can use both imperial and metric measurements.

Once you’ve entered your information, it’s time to set a goal. You can choose between maintaining weight, weight loss, extreme weight loss, weight gain, and fast weight gain. The extreme weight loss and the fast weight gain options aren’t suitable for most.

Sure, the extreme weight loss option will result in a fast weight loss. While it might seem like a good thing, we have to realize that it isn’t. As the body is in a too big calorie deficit, it will burn more muscle mass. Not only are your hard earned gains lost, but your BMR will decrease as well, and losing weight becomes even more difficult.

The fast weight gain is what’s often referred to as a “dirty bulk.” The body gets more energy than needed, and instead of mostly packing muscle mass, it gains more fat. Cutting takes much longer and getting that six-pack becomes harder.

Related: Does creatine make you fat?

Is the BMR calculator accurate?

The BMR calculator, like any other way of calculating your daily calorie needs, isn’t 100% accurate. Factors such as muscle mass, genetics, weather, etc., can influence how many calories your body burns. Use it as a tool to get an idea of how much you need, not to get an exact number.

The BMR calculator

Mifflin - St. Jeor Calorie Calculator BMR calculator
Basic Information
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How to use the BMR calculator for weight loss

Knowing how many calories you need can be helpful during a weight loss and give you a better understanding of food.

Before we can use the calculator for weight loss, we have to have an idea of what a calorie is.

What are calories?

A calorie is a unit for measuring energy. We usually use calories to measure the energy content in food and drinks.

When we consume fewer calories than the body burns, we lose weight. When we consume more calories, we gain weight.

How to reduce your calorie intake

It might sound simple but decreasing the number of calories you eat without feeling hungry and unsatisfied, can be difficult. Here are a few tips that can make it a bit easier.

Related: Why am I not getting stronger?

Avoid liquid calories

One of the easiest ways to reduce your calorie intake is to avoid or at least limit your consumption of liquid calories. This includes fruit juice, sodas, energy drinks, chocolate milk, and other liquids containing calories.

The problem with liquid calories is that your brain doesn’t recognize the calories the same way it would if you ate them. A regular can of cola (33cl) contains the same calories as 100g of cooked rice or chicken breast. The chicken and rice can satisfy your hunger. The cola probably won’t.

Substituting the regular version of sodas and energy drinks with a sugar-free option is a good way to reduce the calorie intake without having to cut back on the sweet drinks.

While liquid calories usually should be avoided when it comes to weight loss, there are a few exceptions. Protein shakes are one of those exceptions.

Eat more protein

Protein isn’t just beneficial for maintaining muscle mass while losing weight. Studies have shown that high protein snacks increase the feeling of being full while decreasing hunger. It may even reduce cravings.

You can increase your protein intake by eating more meat, eggs, poultry, tofu, and lentils.

Drink more water

Being hydrated improves brain health, weight management, and kidney health. Not only does drinking water have many health benefits, but it can help you decrease your calorie consumption. By drinking water before meals, you might reduce hunger and eat fewer calories.

Unsweetened beverages such as coffee, tea, and sparkling water can help you stay hydrated if you find it hard to drink enough water.

Related: How to get reduce retained water

Do cardio

As you’re losing weight, your body will burn fewer calories. To continue to lose weight, you have to reduce or burn more calories. Just as the tips above can help you reduce your calorie intake, cardio can help you burn more.

There are many different ways to add cardio to your workout plan. You can finish your workouts with a HIIT workout on the treadmill, take a walk, or play football with your friends. The most important is to find an activity you like or at least don’t hate.

Many find it easy to do their cardio after a workout before they leave the gym, but it can be done any time of the day. Find a time and place that suits you, and begin slowly.

Related: Workout routine for beginners

How to count calories

Calorie counting is a method to keep track of your daily calorie intake. It’s often used for weight loss but can also be used when gaining. It can be done using a food journal, spreadsheet, or an app. Many find that the app is the easiest of the three.

Once you’ve calculated your daily needed calories, you can begin to count them. The easiest way to do that is by using an app, such as MyFitnessPal.

Once you have downloaded the app, you can enter your calorie goals. When that’s done, all you have to do is log your meals, and the app will take care of the rest. You can find a guide to MyFitnessPal here.

The downside of counting calories

The amount of calories you eat decides if you lose or gain weight. However, there are more factors to consider if you want to be healthy and maintain muscle mass.

Because of this, many decide to include macros to some extent in their counting. Macros are the nutrients that provide energy from our food. You can read more about macros and how to count them here.


Whether you’re trying to lose weight or build muscle, knowing how many calories you need can make that a bit easier. The BMR calculator can help you with that.

Avoiding liquid calories, drinking more water, and eating more protein can help you reduce your daily calorie intake. Doing cardio can help your body burn more calories.