How many calories do I have to consume in order to maintain my weight while I'm training for a distance event? This is a question I get a lot and today we are going to do the math!

Stephanieruns Fitness

February 10, 2019 Newsletter

How Many Calories....

I shared on twitter this week that you can calculate the number of calories you need in order to maintain your weight while training. Some of you were surprised and wanted to know how. I promised I'd share all the calculations which means today's newsletter is going to be math heavy. I'm going to share all the calculations with you so that you can determine the amount of calories you need while training in order to maintain your weight. If you're looking to gain or lose weight I'd recommend you seek the assistance of a registered professional to help you with a personalized plan. Today we are going to focus on the calories needed to maintain your weight for your activity level.

What is your total daily caloric need? This is the amount of calories you need to support our body's functioning and support your activity. In order to calculate this we have some other calculations to start with.

Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the number of calories you need to maintain your body's functioning excluding digestion. You calculate this as follows:

Men: Weight X 11 = BMR

Women: Weight X 10 = BMR

Now we need to define the amount of calories you need for the activity you're doing. This can be a bit subjective so it's best to be very honest with yourself about your activity level.

20% Activity would be little physical activity

30% Activity would be lightly active 1-3 days per week

40% Activity would be moderately active 3-5 days per week

50% Activity would be highly active 5-7 days per week

60% Activity would be highly active with a physical job

Your Activity Based Calories (ACN) = BMR X Activity percentage

Next we need to calculate your food digestion and absorption calories or FDA

FDA = (BMR + ACN) X .10

We need to put it all together in order to calculate your total caloric need (TCN).


TCN is the number of calories you need in order to maintain your weight and activity level.

Let's go through an example to help understand how to put this all together.

Let's say you're a 180lbs male who is moderately active (40% based on the above chart).

BMR = 180 X 11 = 1980

ACN = 1980 X .4 = 792

FDA = (1980 + 792) X .10 = 277.2

Total Caloric Need (TCN) = 1980 + 792 + 277.2 = 3049.2

This means in order to support both your activity level and training and maintain your current weight you'd be looking at consuming 3049 calories per day. This of course would include all your running and training fuels you consume.

Why is this information important? As runners we are sometimes out of touch with the amount of food we need to support our active lifestyle. We need calories to support our activity and to fuel our training cycle. Being able to do these calculations allows you to have some control and oversight into your food and fueling requirements. Not having enough fuel for your activity level will not help you be on the top of your game. Give the calculations a try and let me know what you think.

Weekly Challenge: Food

This week I asked on twitter what your relationship with food is like. Your answers were all over the map. Some of you have a great relationship with food but for others it's still a work in progress and that's okay! Where you are right now is okay. What I find, in all aspects of my life is that wherever you are there's always room for improvement. This of course is also true with food. I'm a big fan of small sustainable change that adds up to big change. You're not going to go from a non runner to a marathoner overnight but with work you can get there.

Your challenge this week is to assess your relationship with food and identify one area you'd like to change. Maybe you're not drinking enough water, maybe you're not eating breakfast. Hone in on one aspect you'd like to change. Don't pick something too big or unrealistic. I want you to set yourself up for success. If you have a larger aspect you'd like to work on, like bringing lunch every day start with one to two times a week and build. Small sustainable changes add up and will make a difference.

As always let me know how this challenge goes. We can all do better but let's focus on building healthy habits.

Canadian Food Guide

Some runners have a nutrition plan along with their training plan, others just wing it. When you think about it the food we use to fuel our body and how much we eat directly impacts our running and training. This week I've spent some time on twitter sharing some of the new recommendations from the Canadian Food Guide. Recommendations like, cook at home, eat with people, enjoy your food. Which all make sense and I'm sure you'd agree with them, but how often do we actually do that? I asked on twitter how often do you cook at home? The answers were either really high, like in the 90% plus range or low in the 50% range. Wherever you are right now there's always room for improvement. We should be look at food, and eating as part of our overall training, not an afterthought.

Another recommendation from the food guide I love is to enjoy your food. When's the last time you sa with friends and family, with no cell phones and enjoyed every mouthful of food you ate? Food should be enjoyable, and it's not a bad thing.

One of my favourite parts of the new food guide is the acknowledgement that healthy eating is more than just what we eat. If you want to read the guide and recommendations for yourself you can here. I highly recommend it!

Do you have running or strength training questions you want me to answer? Send me an e-mail with your questions. I'll save them for a future newsletter.

You can find my training plans on my Training Peak's store

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Stephanieruns Fitness

461 North Service Rd West
Oakville Ontario,  L6M 2V5 - Canada

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Disclaimer: Always seek medical advice before starting an exercise program. This newsletter is not medical advice. Medical advice should be sought from a medical professional. Stephanieruns Fitness assumes no liability for any injuries or damages as a result of the above content.