Calculate calorie requirements

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As it is often unclear what the calorie requirement actually is, we want to address this topic in this blog article and look at how you can calculate what your requirement is yourself.

Basal metabolic rate and energy expenditure

The basal metabolic rate or resting energy requirement, is the amount of energy (kcal) that your body needs at complete rest to maintain its functions such as breathing, digestion and blood circulation.

The calorie requirement is the amount of calories you need every day to function properly. Compared to the basal metabolic rate, the amount of energy you need for physical activity (performance metabolic rate) is added to this.

How do I calculate my calorie requirement?

To determine the energy requirements In practice, energy requirements are determined using mathematical estimates and so-called calorie calculators, which, however, are significantly less accurate than the very complex and extremely cost-intensive measurement methods.

The best known and at the same time one of the simplest approximation methods is the Physical Activity Level (PAL)which work turnover or also power turnover is called. Depending on their level of physical activity, people are assigned to corresponding groups, each of which has a specific PAL factor.

Table 1: Physical Activity Level (PAL) factors

PAL factor

Physical activity






Only sitting or lying down

Old people


Sitting, hardly active

Office job


Sitting, walking, standing

Students, pupils


Mainly standing/walking

Craftsmen, salespeople, waiters


Strenuous work/sports

Forest worker, farmer



As you perform different activities within 24 hours, you can calculate an average value here. For example, if you sleep for 8 hours, sit in the office for 8 hours and mainly walk and stand for 6 hours, and do 2 hours of sport, you can calculate the individual PAL factor as follows:

Individual PAL factor = (0.95 * 8 h) + (1.5*8h) + (1.7*6h) + (2.4*2)/ 24h

The PAL factor for 24 hours would then be 1.44.

This PAL factor is multiplied by the basal metabolic rate, resulting in the total energy requirement:

Calorie requirement (kcal) = Basal metabolic rate (kcal/24h) * PAL factor 

  • What is the calorie requirement for women?

Calorie requirements vary greatly from person to person and must always be recalculated. To calculate the calorie requirement, the basal metabolic rate is multiplied by the power metabolic rate, i.e. the PAL factor:

Calorie requirement (kcal) = Basal metabolic rate (kcal/24h) * PAL factor (see Table 1)

  • What is the calorie requirement for men?

The calorie requirement for men is calculated in the same way as for women, whereby the difference arises in the calculation of the basal metabolic rate.

  • What calorie requirements do children and young people have?

Just as with adults, the calorie requirements of children also differ slightly according to gender. The requirement also increases within a shorter period of time, as children are growing. In this table we have listed the calorie requirements for girls and boys according to age: 

Table 2: Calorie requirements for children




0 to 3 months

650 kcal

650 kcal

4 to 12 months

850 kcal

850 kcal

1 to 4 years

1100 kcal

1200 kcal

4 to 7 years

1300 kcal

1400 kcal

7 to 10 years

1600 kcal

1700 kcal

10 to 13 years

2000 kcal

2200 kcal

13 to 15 years

2100 kcal

2600 kcal


The calorie requirements of children can be similar to or even exceed those of adults, as children consume a lot of energy due to their activity. In addition, growing body parts have to develop, which also costs a lot of calories. 

  • What calorie requirements do I need when dieting to lose weight?

When losing weight, it is important that the calories for resting energy requirements are covered. Otherwise, the body switches to a low calorie diet and the dreaded yo-yo effect occurs. Losing weight is not based on the basal metabolic rate, but on the power metabolic rate. This is measured according to physical activity. The basal metabolic rate and the power metabolic rate make up the energy balance.

If you want to lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than the body uses in its balance. By sport and exercise can increase the metabolic rate and therefore calorie consumption. If the number of calories consumed is higher than the basal metabolic rate but lower than the power metabolic rate, the body loses weight. When dieting, 500 kcal below your total calorie consumption is a good benchmark for weight loss. For an easy introduction to a change in diet and a diet, the Juice cures from LiveFresh. For a healthy diet you will find many tasty and healthy recipes and more information.

  • What calorie requirement do I need to gain weight?

To gain weight you need take in more energy than you consume. In other words, you should consume approx. 500 kcal more than your total calorie requirement. To ensure that you don't just put on fat, but also build muscle, you should eat enough protein and exercise regularly.

  • What calorie requirement do I need to build muscle?

For the muscle building you need a calorie surplus of 300 to 500 kcal, which you must add to your calorie requirement. The best way to do this is in the form of protein, as this is the building block for muscles. In addition to a calorie surplus and the intake of high-quality protein, appropriate strength training is also essential for building muscle mass. For your Health and a balanced diet you will find here many tasty and healthy recipes and more information.

Frequently asked questions about calculating calorie requirements:

What is the difference between basal metabolic rate and calorie requirement?

The basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy that your body uses for breathing and metabolic processes at complete rest. The calorie requirement, on the other hand, is the basal metabolic rate times the power metabolic rate (PAL factor), i.e. the energy you consume by walking, standing, sitting, doing sport or any other activity in your everyday life.

What is the difference between basal metabolic rate and power metabolic rate?

The basal metabolic rate is the amount of calories that you consume for breathing and metabolic processes when you are lying down and completely at rest. The power metabolic rate, on the other hand, is all the energy you need in everyday life for walking, standing, sitting, sport or other activities. But even at very low temperatures, your body needs more calories to maintain body temperature, which is also counted as energy expenditure.

How many calories do I need to lose weight?

To lose weight on a diet, you need on average take in fewer calories than you consume through everyday exercise. This means that you must first calculate your calorie requirements and should then consume approx. 500kcal less. However, much more important than the amount of calories is the the right composition of your meals. Make sure you cover your protein requirement of at least 1g protein/kg body weight daily. This prevents cravings and a yo-yo effect. Your plate should also always contain a large portion of vegetables and high-quality fats such as linseed oil, olive oil or algae oil. For an easy start to a change in diet and a diet, a 3, 5 or 7 days juice cleanse. Delicious and nutritious recipes are the basis for a healthy diet that is fun.

How many calories for which body size?

You can calculate your calorie requirement by using the Harris-Benedict formula" first calculate your basal metabolic rate and then multiply it by your power metabolic rate. There are different formulas for men and women due to their different muscle mass, which always take height, weight and age into account. For your health, you can find lots of tasty and healthy recipes and more information.

How many calories do you burn a day without exercise?

Many individual factors play a role here, so a general answer is not possible. However, to calculate how many calories you need without exercise, you need to know your basal metabolic rate and then multiply it by a correspondingly low power metabolic rate of, for example, 1.4 for office work.