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The first thing we do is calculate your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate. Your basal metabolic rate refers to the amount of calories your body uses for involuntary bodily functions– basically when you are asleep or at rest. It does not take into account the amount of calories you’ll burn from your daily activity, though. That’s your AMR or active metabolic rate. I’ll get into that in a minute.

The BMR formula uses the variables of height, weight, age and gender to calculate your body’s energy expenditure.

Use the following BMR Formula for gender to calculate your BMR:

  • Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
  • Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in years )

After you have run through these simple calculations and come up with your BMR, we need to then calculate your AMR. This next exercise is going to tell us how many calories you are burning in a day without adding in your exercise burn. Simply the amount you burn throughout an average day of your life (sans exercise).

Identify which category you fall into:

  1. If you are chained to your desk and sedentary most of your day you are a 1.1. People who fall in this category would be receptionists, telemarketers, customer service reps.
  2. If you are mildly active over the course of your day you are a 1.2. People who fall in this category are housewives, retail sales people, basically folks who are on their feet throughout the day, but not exerting themselves as a part of their jobs (though the moms amongst you might argue with me on this one).
  3. If you are active and on your feet moving at a fast pace you are a 1.3. I fall into this category as most trainers would. So might a plumber or an electrician. This applies to those that are up, moving, exerting energy, but not working on a chain gang.
  4. If you are extremely physically active you are a 1.4. Construction workers, professional athletes, essentially anyone who is constantly exerting themselves throughout the course of their day would fit in this group.

Once you have identified which category you best fit, take that number and multiply it with your BMR. So, if my BMR is 1300, I would then multiply it by 1.3 and arrive at 1690. Now I’d know that if I eat around 1700 calories a day on the days I don’t work out, I won’t gain weight. Additionally, on the days I do workout I’ll be able to factor in that additional burn and ramp up my AMR even more. Let’s say I added an hour of training and I burned 500 calories during that hour, then my total AMR would be 2300.


Decide Your Ideal Macronutrient Breakdown

After determining how many calories to consume each day, the next step is to decide what macronutrient ratio works best for you.

Typical macronutrient recommendations are as follows

Crabs: 45–65% of total calories

Fats: 20–35% of total calories

Proteins: 10–35% of total calories

For example, a person who wants to obtain better blood sugar control and lose excess body fat may excel on a meal plan consisting of 35% carbs, 30% fat and 35% protein.

Here’s an example of how to calculate macronutrients for a 2,000-calorie diet consisting of 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat.


  • 4 calories per gram
  • 40% of 2,000 calories = 800 calories of carbs per day
  • Total grams of carbs allowed per day = 800/4 = 200 grams


  • 4 calories per gram
  • 30% of 2,000 calories = 600 calories of protein per day
  • Total grams of protein allowed per day = 600/4 = 150 grams


  • 9 calories per gram
  • 30% of 2,000 calories = 600 calories of protein per day
  • Total grams of fat allowed per day = 600/9 = 67 grams

In this scenario, your ideal daily intake would be 200 grams of carbs, 150 grams of protein and 67 grams of fat.