Thursday, April 2, 2009

In a Calorie Quandary?

Now that we have the skinny on fat, what about calories? How many calories does a runner need each day? How does training for a marathon figure in? Sounds complicated, but with a little basic information about yourself, you can figure out your specific caloric needs in four easy steps.

Step 1: Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) - The number of calories needed just to live and breathe. Multiply your weight by 10 calories per pound or 22 calories per kilogram.
___(lbs) x 10calories/lb = ___calories for your specific RMR
Example: 160lbs x 10 calories/lb = 1600 calories/RMR


___(kg) x 22calories/kg = ___calories for your specific RMR
Example: 73kg x 22 calories/lb = 1606 calories/RMR

Step 2: Daily Activity Level (DAL) - Extra calories based on your daily activity level (not including running or exercise)
• Sedentary = 35% x RMR
• Active during the day = 50% x RMR
• Extremely active during the day = 65% x RMR
Example for an active 160lb person: 50% x 1600 = 800 calories

Step 3: Running Calories (RC) - Additional calories based on your running
100lbs = 80 calories per mile; 45kg = 80 calories per mile
120lbs = 95 calories per mile; 55kg = 95 calories per mile
140lbs = 110 calories per mile; 64kg = 110 calories per mile
160lbs = 125 calories per mile; 73kg = 125 calories per mile
180lbs = 140 calories per mile; 82kg = 140 calories per mile
200lbs = 155 calories per mile; 91kg = 155 calories per mile
To calculate calories burned for other crosstraining activities, click here.
Step 4: Put it all together
___RC + ___DAL + ___RMR = ___Total Calories
Example for a person weighing 160lbs who is active during the day and runs 5 miles a day:
625RC + 800DAL + 1600RMR = 3025 Total Calories

Don't forget to subtract the RC calories from the total calories on days that you're not running or crosstraining. Also, be sure to spread your calories over the course of the day so that your body has a continuous source of energy. Please keep in mind that the formula above is just a guide to help you better understand your caloric needs while training. Depending on your running pace and weight, you may need more or less calories per day. For more information on daily caloric intake check out The Family Guy's Guide to Getting in Shape.


Ed The Sports Fan said...

trying to get on your level, especially since i used to be an athlete lol...i will starting using this blog more as a reference for when I work out. Cool blog!


Chic Runner said...

I was just talking about this the other day with some people! Thanks for posting this I retweeted because I think it's so important!

Ms. V. said...

Wow. Great blog!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Ed! Glad the blod is helpful! You're blog's cool too, man.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Chic Runner! Glad the post was so timely for you. Love when that happens. Happy Running!

RunnerDude said...

Thanks for the feedback, Ms. V!!

Mark U. said...

This is an important topic, which many runners simply don't understand. Thanks for the post! As a result of most runners misunderstandings on-topic a significant over-estimate of the amount of calories burned through running activity produces a weightn GAIN, rather than loss. As many beginning runners targeted weight loss, versus general fitness and other benefits, they consequently become demoralized and sadly stop running. Conversely, through following the systematic methodology recommended in this blog, runners' expectations should be properly set, appetites adjusted, and as a result demoralizing weight gain should be avoided (while beginning to incorporate running into their lifestyle.)

RunnerDude said...

Well said, Mark. Thanks!

TammyRunsWV said...

I am always so confused about how many calories I can consume to lose weight. I am 5'3", 150 lbs and want to lose weight. I love to run and am up to 6 miles on my long run. You are telling me that I can eat 2700 calories on a day that I run 6 miles! I have been trying to eat only 1500-1800 calories per day. If I ate 2700 calories, I think I would gain 5 pounds! Haha, am I starving myself? Please help!!

TammyRunsWV said...

By the way, I failed to mention that I love your blog. It is full of valuable, accurate information. Sometimes this type of information is hard to find. Thanks for making an amazing blog!

RunnerDude said...

Hey TammyRunsWV! I know what you mean. It can really get confusing. The thing you have to keep in mind is that based on your weight you need about 1500 calories just for living. That doesn't account for any exericse you do. You also have to think of the extra calories as fuel for your body. Fuel that it's going to need to burn during that 6-mile run. Also, these calories are going to be high quality complex carbs, proteins and fats that you're going to need to sustain your new fitness lifestyle. Now don't forget, you won't eat these extra calories on days you're not running.
Do you ever watch The Biggest Loser? One of the things that makes the trainers the maddest is when they find out that a contestant isn't eating. Usually they find this out when they haven't lost much weight even though they've worked out hard. So the next week, the trainer makes sure the person eats and viola! They have a big weight loss the next week. Hope my rambling has helped some. LOL!

RunnerDude said...

Hey again TammyRunsWV! Thanks for the feedback and reading the blog!

TammyRunsWV said...

One more question, then I will stop bothering you, lol. Is this formula designed to maintain weight? Should I eat less than this to create a deficit? Seems like eating back the 700 calories I just burned defeats the purpose. If I want to lose a pound per week, should I cut out 500 calories per day?

RunnerDude said...

Hey TammyRunsWV! You're not bothering me at all! I love questions, especially ones I have to dig for the answer. You are absolutely right; this formula isn't desinged for trying to lose weigh. It just tells a runner what his caloric needs are for the mileage he/she is running. I wouldn't cut back the calories dractically, but you're probably right, cutting back some may help with the weight loss. I know it's hard, but keep in the back of your mind that a lot of those extra calories will be burned as fuel and won't become fat on the body. Also the more days of running you add to your week and the more miles you add will increase your metabolism. Another great way to lose some weight through your running is to add a speed workout once a week. You can do this as repeats at a track (I actually do repeats in a really long parking lot.) Or, add fartleks to one of your regular 6-mile runs. Let me know how it goes, and bring on those questions!!!! Thanks!