The best answer is, it depends!

You can determine your daily caloric intake by first determining your BMR, and then adding your activity level!

What is BMR, you ask? It stands for Basal Metabolic Rate, which is the number of calories you burn in a day, at rest.  This is the amount of calories your body needs to maintain its functions without losing any weight.

To determine your BMR there are many online calculators, or you could use this formula:

Calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate):

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 calculate your BMR, you can add calories depending on your activity level. There are several good fitness tracking apps such as lose it, or myfitness pro available to help you with this task. The exact amount of calories you burn will depend on many factors, your weight, amount of muscle tissue, and level of exertion, but these are some good starting levels.

Walking- about 250cal/hour

Jogging- about 400cal/hour

Mountain hiking- about 450cal/hour

Running- 550cal/hour @ 6mph pace

Cycling- about 600cal for a moderate effort

Swimming- about 800cal/hour

If you’re not exercising the calories you burn will depend on your activity level

Sedentary 1.2

Lightly active 1.375

Moderately active 1.55

Very Active 1.725

Extremely active 1.9

So, how do you calculate daily consumption, let’s say my BMR is 1750 cal and I plan on being a couch potato today. I’d take my 1750 and multiply by 1.2. That would give me an intake of 2100 calories for the day, if I just wanted to maintain my weight. If I wanted to lose weight, I’d have to create a calorie deficit. Remember, to lose 1 pound I have to create a deficit of 3500 calories. So if my overall goal is to lose 1 pound of weight a week, I have to adjust my calorie intake and activity level to create a deficit of 3500 calories a week. Now, it’s not as simple as calories in, calories out. Look out for the next article on macro-nutrients.