AthletesInsights & InspirationHow does it work?PricingCoaches
Back to Insights & Inspiration

How many calories do I need to maintain energy balance?

To calculate how many calories you need to maintain energy balance athletes can use following formula: [((BMR x PAL) / 24) x hours not exercising + calories burned by exercise]. For a quicker solution, use the FoodCoach app for automatic daily energy calculations.

Image of The Athlete’s FoodCoach
Written by: The Athlete’s FoodCoach, on 19-10-2023
Loe van Belle, Sepp Kuss and Milan Vader weighing their food at the buffet

Why can calculating my calorie needs help me?

Calculating your calorie requirements provides valuable insights into your daily energy requirements. This can be particularly important when circumstances change. Here are specific situations where calorie awareness is especially important:

  1. Increased activity level: When embarking on a new, more intense training routine, such as increased hours, new training loads or attending an intense training camp, your daily calorie needs can increase significantly.
  2. Weight management: Understanding your calorie requirements can assist you in avoiding overconsumption or undereating, which is significant for weight maintenance and achieving weight loss or -gain goals.
  3. Injury: Suffering from an injury can significantly affect your daily energy requirements due to potential fluctuations in your activity level and the increased energy needed for recovery, which depends on the injury's severity.

How do I keep my energy balance on point with FoodCoach?

  1. App: Use the FoodCoach app for two weeks for automatic daily energy calculations. The FoodCoach app uses either the formula Harris-Benedict or Ten Haaf to calculate your BMR and a suited PAL based on your personal settings. Accordingly it calculates your total daily energy need when you add your training.
  2. Compare days: Analyze your energy balance on different training days, check out a rest day and compare this to a light recovery training, an interval training or race. This helps you to gain insights in energy needs on different days.
  3. Calibration: Follow your plan and log all meals in these two weeks. Pay attention to your body signals. If you're still feeling hungry or experiencing weight gain/loss, consider adjusting the app's settings (BMR, PAL, training intensity).
  4. Logging meals: Challenge yourself if you really have logged all your meals: food intake is usually 10-20% under reported due to wrong portion sizing or log discipline.

Example of The Athlete's FoodCoach app

Mindset matters

Calorie calculations offer an approximate daily estimate, never precision. Don't stress over minor calorie discrepancies. Remember that your body's needs aren't confined to 24-hour cycles and minor variations can be balanced gradually over time. Embrace flexibility and balance in your approach. Calculating calories isn't a must. It is a great strategy if circumstances change in your life.

Are you still uncertain if you're on track?
Consider connecting to one of our FoodCoach experts for a consult. They can analyze your energy intake and energy output and help you finetune your app-settings and nutrition strategy.

Dylan van Baarle checking foodcoach app in team bus of Team Jumbo-Visma

Read more


Improve this blog

Our blogs aim to the make world's best nutrition insights and research actionable for you.