T Nation

Very Confused About Calorie Needs

Hello everyone,

I’ve been reading a lot of the articles on T-Nation for awhile now. They are great articles chock-full of information–the problem is, I’m having a bit of trouble putting that information to work for me.

I am a 22 year old female, 5’5 and 169lbs. I’m in an Olympic lifting program 3x a week and on Fridays I have a small persoanl lifting session. Unlike most lifters I like to run, so that happens about 2x a week (3 miles or so). I also walk about 2 miles everyday.

I want to lose fat, but I’m not sure how to balance my caloric needs with all of my traning. I know I need a calorie deficit, but I’m unsure how much of a deficit is needed to promote fat burning while not harming my metabolism. One macro counter told me 1200 cal on lighter training days, 1400 on heavier days. Something tells me this is not right…

I really hate to be that annoying girl, but I’m desparate for help. Any direction y’all could give me would be deeply appreciated. Thank you!

I’m sure many will chime in with more precise and expert advice than mine, but that seems really low given your level of activities.

There are a bunch of different calculators and equations out there to help estimate calorie requirements. In the end, no matter what you start with will only be a starting point. The key is really to lock down your intake precisely where you decide and stick with it for about two weeks.

If you are seeing the right changes and energy feels good, stick with it.

If you are losing weight pretty fast but feeling depleted and run down, you may have started too low. If you are not losing weight, you probably started too high. Adjust up or down by about 200-400 calories or so, and then stick there for another two weeks.

Based on the info you provided, I would start at 1800 calories and keep your food choices very healthy. That number is not going to be low enough to slow down your metabolism and if the food choices are good, there’s no way you’ll gain weight with your activity level. Yep, 1800. I’m sticking with it. It may turn out that you end up increasing that a bit, but I don’t know how intense your workouts are or how good your food choices are and those will play a role.

Good luck!