Calories Per Day Calculator – How Many Calories Do You Need?


Have you ever wanted to know how many calories you need to eat per day in order lose, maintain or even gain weight? It’s absolutely critical to understand that calories in and calories out equate to success when you’re on a fitness program. Nutrition is so important that some personal trainers say it makes up to 75% of your overall results! So many people are confused when it comes to figuring out how many calories they need and this is the main reason we created this calorie per day calculator. It’s so important to have a baseline understanding of your current calorie level before starting a diet and exercise plan, so use the calculator below to get an understanding of your calorie needs.

Female     Male 
Your height:
 feet    inches
Your weight:
Your age:
Activity level:
To maintain your current
weight you'll need:
calories per day

Activity Levels:

  • Sedentary = (little or no exercise, desk job)
  • Lightly Active = (light exercise or sports 1-3 days/wk)
  • Moderately Active = (moderate exercise or sports 3-5 days/wk)
  • Very Active = (hard exercise or sports 6-7 days/wk)
  • Extremely Active = (hard daily exercise or sports & physical labor job or 2 X day training, football camp, etc.)

To Lose Weight
To take off one pound per week, you’ll need to reduce calories by 500 per day (1 pound of body fat equals about 3,500 calories). Try eating 250 calories less per day and exercising enough to burn 250 calories, like walking about 2.5 miles each day. The easiest way to cut back on calories is to watch your portion sizes.

To Gain Weight
Try eating about 500 calories more per day and limit your cardio activity. Focus on basic compound strength training exercises like barbell squat, bench press and barbell rows to add lean muscle mass to your physique. Make sure to eat enough protein (at least 1 gram per pound of body weight) and get plenty of rest to recover and grow after your workouts.


About Author

ShapeFit is dedicated to providing health and fitness information to people so they can live a healthy lifestyle. ShapeFit has thousands of pages of fitness content with fun and interactive tools to help our visitors lose body fat, build lean muscle and increase their energy levels. We wish you great success in reaching your health and fitness goals!


      • What would be moderate exercise for a 48 year old man 185-190 pounds with type 2 diabetes that is under control? I have a tread climber machine which is basically a treadmill, elliptical and stair stepper all rolled into one machine.

        • shapefit

          Hi Balaji – Moderate exercise depends a lot on the actual pace of your workout. The tread climber machine you’re using at a normal pace (not too intense) should qualify for “moderate” exercise. With type 2 diabetes, it’s always best to consult with your physician before doing any type of exercise just to be on the safe side.

  1. uday sankar ghosh on

    I am 43 years old . My height is 5 feet 5 inch and weight is 71 kgs. Every day I am burning 250 calories by walking. Is this sufficient?

    • shapefit

      Uday – Walking is a good cardio exercise but you will want to focus more on your diet for long term results. Remember, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet so if you’re eating too many calories each day, it doesn’t matter how much walking you’re doing since you will not be able to burn it all off. So, focus more of your attention on the foods you’re eating. Combining cardio with a clean diet is the key to losing weight and keeping it off.

  2. I’m 40 years old and weigh 360 pounds. I used to play semi-pro football and basketball back then I weighed about 220 pounds. I am a very active person (even at 360 pounds) and I go to the gym 4 days a week. I sprint for a few minutes and I lift weights for about 40 minutes. I have been doing this for almost 1 year and yet no results. I tend to be going up and down in my weight. 3 months ago I weighed about 340 pounds and now i am back to 360 pounds. I struggle with my diet but I have reduced my portions and even tried a low-carb diet. Now, any little carbs I eat triggers weight gain. I don’t understand why someone as active as I am can’t lose any weight. I would like some help from you as to what diet I should try.

    • shapefit

      Ross – Try increasing your cardio to 45-60 minutes per day and make sure to closely watch your overall calories. In terms of a specific diet, it really comes down to one that you can follow for the long term. Try adjusting your carbs and cut out all starches (bread, rice, potato) after 3pm. Stick with lean protein and veggies later in the day. Cardio should be done in the morning on an empty stomach (drink a little BCAA powder intra-workout) to optimally burn body fat. Best of luck to you 🙂

      • This answer is just wild. Never cut out all carbs and never do cardio on an empty stomach. That will wreck havoc with your body’s ability to burn calories. Eat more protein in the MORNING. Studies show that we in the U.S. have it backwards, we eat light in the morning and heavy in the afternoon. Eat a good breakfast with protein. I feel more energized and ready to go and don’t get hungry on days (on top of being less hungry) when I eat more calories early in the day. Protein keeps you from getting hungry and provides your body with what it needs to function. And for goodness sake, stop playing the diet game of fooling around with proteins and carbohydrates. Balance is the key. Foods must be balanced for good health.

        • shapefit

          Hi Ann – We didn’t recommend cutting out all carbs, just cutting back on starches later in the day due to the insulin release and fat gain that excess carbs can cause. We also did not recommend doing cardio on a totally empty stomach, hence the recommendation for a BCAA drink (branched chain amino acid) during the morning cardio workout. These recommendations are for someone who wants to burn maximum body fat and get lean. Eating a nutrient dense high protein breakfast is definetly important but for people who have stubborn fat to lose, a nutritious breakfast can be consumed after a fasted cardio workout in the morning (with amino acids ingested during training to preserve lean muscle mass).

    • I’m 21 years old. My weight is 164 pounds. In the mornings I usually swim and walk and in the evenings I go to the gym to workout. How many calories do I need to burn per day to get 6 pack abs?

  3. I’m a 28-year-old male. I go to the gym 5 days a week and I do a lot of weight training and I run a 5K five times a week. I eat clean and within my daily calories of 2,700 but I’ve been stuck at 13.3ish stones for weeks now. Any tips that could help me get to my goal of 12.6 stones? Thank you!

    • shapefit

      David – If your weight loss has hit a plateau, it’s probably time to shake things up with your workouts. Try implementing HIIT cardio which should shock your body into more fat loss. It’s also important to really analyze your diet and the foods you’re eating. Even though you’re eating 2,700 calories per day, this doesn’t mean those calories are ideal for fat loss. So, take a close look at the foods you’re eating every day and see if you can substitute healthier options for certain foods that are not ideal.

  4. Anthony Minacapelli on

    I’m 22 6’3″ 175ish of mostly lean muscle. The calculator outputted 2,492 calories a day. Does this include the calories burned from my workouts (I selected moderate activity) or do I increase the calories per day because of my workouts?

    • shapefit

      Anthony – If you selected “moderately active” then this does include the activity multiplier on top of your basic BMR which is the calculation for your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) which does include all of your activities (workouts, etc). If you train a lot and also work a laborious day job, you might want to choose the next activity level higher to get a more accurate number for your overall daily calories.

      • Anthony Minacapelli on

        The activity level is correct. I was just wondering if say I go jogging on Monday for a certain amount of time and I burn 200 calories and if I ate 2,500 calories that day am I over my calories? Or, do I subtract the 200 calories for the total to come out to 2,300 calories on Monday?

        • shapefit

          Anothony – Yes, you will subtract the calories you burned via exercise from the total calories you consumed for the day so your overall total will be 2,300 calories.

  5. I’m a 25 year old female. I’m married and weigh 142 pounds. I used to have a desk job and I eat about 2,000 to 2,300 calories daily. For losing weight, I am now walking 3.5 to 4 miles daily. I want to lose almost 20 pounds. Is my lifestyle enough for losing weight? If so, how long will it take me to loss those 20 extra pounds?

    • shapefit

      Hi Tukun – Focus on losing around 2 pounds per week for the healthiest way to lose weight and keep it off. Following this plan, it should take about 10 weeks to lose 20 pounds. Your walking regimen is great but you should also add weight training to your exercise routine. This will help to build lean muscle mass which burns calories all throughout the day. You calories might be a little high so slowly lower your daily calories to around 1,800 per day and see how you do. Make sure to avoid going under 1,500 calories per day to avoid issues. You want to fuel your body with quality nutrients and enough calories to give you the energy you need to get through tough workouts.

  6. I weigh 158 pounds. How much cardio should I do per day and how many calories should I eat per day to lose weight a bit faster?

    • shapefit

      Hi Sandy – Our calculator should provide the number of calories you need to eat per day. For cardio, shoot for burning 500 calories per day. Over the course of a week you will lose 1 pound (3,500 calories). You can wear an activity tracker (FitBit, etc) to gauge how many calories you’re burning during your workout.

  7. I go to the gym a minimum of 3 days a week. I just starting going consistently the last 2 weeks and I have gone 4 days each week. I mainly do weight lifting and cardio. I’m a mother of 4 and weigh 230 pounds. How many calories should I eat? I was thinking 1,600 per day. I would like to lose 20 pounds by the end of April.

    • shapefit

      Hi Aresa – You can use the calculator to find out how many calories you need each day. Once you have that figure, focus on creating a 500 calorie deficit every day to lose 1 pound per week. You can create this deficit by either eating less food or burning it off with cardio exercise. I recommend using a combination of the two. Try eating 250 calories less and burn an additional 250 calories per day through exercise to reach your 500 total calorie deficit per day.

  8. I’m a 58 year old woman and weigh 145 pounds. How many calories should I be eating daily to lose about 7-14 pounds? I have been using the treadmill for about 30 minutes a day just walking for about 1 to 1.5 miles a day. This is only burning about 62 calories according to the reading.

    • shapefit

      Hi Kim – We recommend keeping it simple and shoot for a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day which comes out to a loss of 1 pound per week. You can create the deficit by either cutting back on food or burning them off with exercise. A combination of the two works the best. You can use the calculator to get your daily baseline and then cut that number by 250 calories per day and also include exercise that burns another 250 calories per day which will total a 500 calorie deficit per day. It should take you 7-14 weeks to lose the weight.

  9. I will be 23 years old this month and I am 106 kg. Your calorie calculator says my calorie count should be 2,973. It’s been over 3 months now that I’m doing cardio in the gym (1 hour workouts 5 days per week) but I only lost 1.5 to 2 kg. I’ve reduced my food intake plus I’ve added the cardio workouts but my results are still too slow. What should I do?

    • shapefit

      Hi Iffi – It’s important to be patient when trying to lose weight. It will take time to drop the extra pounds so don’t get too discouraged. Remember, it didn’t take you 3 weeks to put on the extra weight so it definitely won’t come off in that amount of time either. When in doubt, look at your diet and the foods you’re eating. Try cutting out too many starchy carbs (bread, rice, potatoes) later in the day and try doing your cardio in the morning on an empty stomach to maximize fat burning.

  10. What activity level would you suggest I select if I have an office job and I workout for over an hour 5 days a week?

    • shapefit

      Hi Tracey – You should select “moderately active” based on your activity level and non-physical job.

  11. Marcell Edwards on

    I’m a 43-year-old male who is 5’8″ tall. I burn at least 320 calories daily. What is a good daily calorie intake to stay healthy?

    • shapefit

      Hi Marcell – It really depends on your fitness goals. If you’re trying to gain weight (muscle), then increase your calories 500 above your daily requirements. To lose weight (body fat), decrease it by 500 calories per day. Over the course of a week, you will either gain/lose 1 pound (3,500 calories). You can use the calculator on this page to find your daily requirements.

  12. I’m 53 years old, 5’4″ and 115 pounds. I do vigorous indoor cycling 5 days a week and weightlifting 2 days a week. With my heart rate monitor on after a workout, I’ve noticed that I’ve been burning an average of 175 calories an hour according to the heart monitor app on my phone. That seems a little high to me. There’s no way I burn about 4,000 calories a day.

    • shapefit

      Hi Sheel – Your heart rate monitor is probably showing this high level of calories burned due to your intense workout. If you wear the monitor during your weight training workouts, then this is probably accurate during the time you’re lifting weights. If it’s showing this number during your cycling workout then it’s low since you’re obviously burning more than 175 calories an hour doing this type of cardio exercise. The best thing to do is contact the manufacturer of your heart rate monitor and inquire to them about these numbers. They might be able to calibrate the monitor to a more accurate level for you.

      • Just to clarify, this was all AFTER my workout. During a cycling session I regularly burn about 650 calories in 45 minutes. I will follow your recommendation to contact the manufacturer of the heart rate monitor. Two pounds a month worked for me and over 9 months my weight fell from 147 to 125 pounds. Then I started doing HIIT intervals (High Intensity Interval Training) in my indoor cycling classes and have lost another 10 pounds since last October! So, it did take me awhile but that slow weight loss method works best for me in terms of keeping the pounds off after they are lost.

  13. I’m 23 years old at 5’4″ and 63kg. How many calories should I be eating daily to lose 2 pounds per week?

    • shapefit

      Hi Ann – Once you have your base daily calories per day using the calculator, you will want to create a deficit of 500 calories per day in order to lose 1 pound per week (3,500 calories in a pound). To lose 2 pounds per week you will want to increase the deficit to 1,000 calories per day. The best way to do this is a combination of exercise and diet so try decreasing your caloric intake by 500 calories per day and burn another 500 calories with cardio exercise.

  14. I am 22 years old at 5’4″ and 184 pounds. How many pounds will I lose in a week if I eat 1,500 calories per day without any exercise?

    • shapefit

      Hi Wen – You can use our calculator to get your base calories needed per day. There are 3,500 calories in a pound so use that number to determine how many pounds you can lose. For example, if you normally burn 2,000 calories per day and you consume 1,500 calories then you will lose 1 pound per week since you created a 500 calorie deficit per day (500 x 7 days = 3,500).

  15. I’m a 32 year old male who is 6’2″ and 180 pounds. I’m trying to put on muscle mass. I do 1 hour of mass building exercises at the gym 6 days a week. I’ve been going 5 weeks on a 90 day plan and haven’t seen a huge difference yet. How many calories do I need? I have been eating 3,000 calories a day. I’m also doing 50% carbs, 25% protein and 25% fat. I’m also trying to lose some belly fat. Should I adjust this ratio at all?

    • shapefit

      Hi Travis – Try changing your macronutrient ratio to 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat. The extra protein should help and the increase in fat will be easier for you to get your calories up a little. You can use our Weight Gain Calculator to get your daily calories. It looks like the amount should be around 3,160 per day and if you add the “calorie booster” it comes out to 3,686 calories per day. You should probably focus on eating about 3,500 calories per day over the next 2-3 weeks and see how you do. If you start gaining fat around your stomach then you probably want to cut down on the calories a little. Make sure to lift heavy weights using compound multi-joint mass building exercises that promote the fastest results.

  16. I’m 21 years old and I’m 5’8″ and weigh 57 kg. I want to gain weight and will be going to the gym daily for 1 hour. Will this be possible?

  17. I have diabetes and I think it’s type 2 because I have to take 2 kinds of insulin a day. I am 47 years old I weigh 274 pounds. I can’t really exercise too much because of my lower back and my legs hurt as well as I broke my ankle a couple of years ago so I am limited to walking only a little bit. I walk about a mile and a half some days and try to watch my diet. Any advice to help me out? Thank you.

    • shapefit

      Hi Kirk – Since you have diabetes you should definitely consult with your physician to find a safe and effective fitness plan that involves the best diet and exercise routine that’s right for you. This is crucial since you need to find which specific foods work best for you along with the right workout routine that will provide great results. It’s always important to have specialized care from experts in the field when you have diabetes to make sure you’re always safe.

  18. I’m about 50 kgs and want to gain more weight (about another 30 kgs). What should I eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

  19. I’m 6’9″ and weigh 315 pounds. I’m a type-2 diabetic who is sedentary. How many calories do I need to eat per day to maintain my weight? Also, what should my carbohydrate intake be?

    • shapefit

      Hi Tom – You can use the calculator on this page to find your calories needed per day. For carbs, since you’re a diabetic you should really contact your doctor to see what they recommend. Your carbohydrate intake (type and amount) will probably be much different than a regular person since you have diabetes.

  20. Hi ShapeFit, I’m in a bit of a mess and don’t know what to do. Hoping you can help. I’m a 36-year-old male who is 5’7″ and I weigh 19 stone (266 pounds). I’m on a nutrition plan at the minute that is nowhere near what this calculator is saying I should be aiming for. My nutrition is probably at around 1,000 to 1,100 kcals per day. I never feel hungry and have loads of energy. I’ve even started a moderate workout program at home and in the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday, I go to a boxing class and on Thursday I do cardio (walk/jog/run) for 20-30 minutes. The problem is I’ve kind of stopped at 19 stone (was 22 stone back in May). I’ve cut out all the bad stuff and now I only eat to fuel my body. I have oatmeal in the morning, an egg white omelet for lunch and a chicken breast with broccoli and cauliflower for dinner. In between breakfast and lunch I’ll have an apple, orange or banana. The same for in between lunch and dinner. Am I undereating and would that stop my weight loss?

    • shapefit

      Hi Andy – Yes, underrating can definitely stop your weight loss in its tracks! If you’re only eating 1,100 calories a day at 266 pounds, your body is most likely in starvation mode and holding on tight to its fat reserves. That is extremely low calories for your size! You should be eating an absolute minimum of around 2,500 calories per day and for optimal nutrition, your total daily calories should be much higher than that. For the foods you listed, your diet looks very clean but you just need to kick up the calories. Add some healthy fats like all-natural peanut butter, almond butter, avocados, nuts, flaxseed oil, fish oil, olive oil and coconut oil to your daily intake. You should also add in more protein (especially with breakfast). Find a great tasting whey protein powder supplement that you can easily make a few times during the day to give you a boost of muscle building amino acids. Best of luck to you 🙂

      • Brilliant, thank you for the kind advice. Should I start to drop weight again? I assume I should lower my calorie intake as I lose weight? Essentially, both my weight and calories going down hand-in-hand? It’s quite hard to believe that eating more would bring down my weight. Our bodies are really strange. Would you say 2,750 calories would be about right for now?

        • shapefit

          Hi Andy – Yes, you can start at 2,750 calories per day and see how it goes. Give it at least 2-3 weeks before adjusting your calorie intake up/down. Each person’s metabolism is different so it will probably take some adjusting and tweaking to find the sweet spot for your own physique. Best of luck 🙂

  21. I am 19 years old, 5 foot 4 inches and 279 pounds. I’ve been trying to lose weight for 2 months now but everything has stopped. I think it’s because I ate too little for my weight (1,800 to 1,900 calories a day) and I exercise an hour a day. It’s low impact aerobics but it should burn at least 500 calories per workout. For the last few days I have had to force myself to exercise because I did not have any energy. Should I start eating 2,500 calories a day as long as I exercise an hour a day?

    • shapefit

      Hi Nina – A big factor is where those calories are coming from. Are they coming from nutrient dense whole foods that will help you lose fat and supply your body with the energy it needs for exercise? Before adjusting your calorie levels, take a close look at the specific foods you’re consuming each day. This is very important to finding the right nutrition plan that works best for your body. If you use the calculator on this page, you will be able to get an idea of how many calories you need each day. Take that number and try to create a 500 calorie deficit per day via exercise and diet. Make sure you’re counting all of your calories too. Don’t forget that latte or cappuccino you might have for lunch. Liquid calories can quickly add up and a lot of people forget to add those into their overall calorie intake.

    • shapefit

      Hi Taylor – If you work an office job where you’re sitting most of the day then select “Moderately Active”. If you’re on your feet and moving around all day during work then select “Very Active”. If you work a labor intensive job like construction then choose “Extremely Active”.

  22. To maintain my weight when I am moderately active, I need to eat 3,090 calories. I don’t drink any of those except water, green tea, oolong tea or honey lemon. I drink 1 liter of honey lemon every day with 3 tablespoons of honey and 1 lemon. I was suggested by one of my doctors to drink it because I have gastric issues and it helps to soothe my stomach. It is also my way of decreasing my craving for sweets which works very well for me and I include it in my calorie intake as well. I allow myself a treat every 2 weeks which is eating 2,900 calories and exercising about half an hour instead of an hour only for that one day. I eat a very small amount of sweets in general. I even count my protein intake which is around 217 grams if I am active, but I am only moderately active so I only consume about 100-120 grams. For carbs, I eat a maximum of 50 grams along with 50 grams of fiber. I’ve increased my intake to 2,000 calories and have consumed more protein than I’m used to. Is it alright to increase my calorie intake from 1,800 calories to 2,000?

    • shapefit

      Hi Nina – Sure, you can experiment with increasing and decreasing your caloric intake to see what works best for you in terms of overall fat loss while maintaining high energy levels.

  23. I’m a 52 year old male, weighing in at 252 pounds. For the month of July, I’ve been averaging 30 miles per day, cycling 6 day out of the week. I’m burning approximately 2,500 calories per ride. The problem is that I LOVE good food and I’m trying to get down to around 180-185 pounds. Is this goal possible if I’m eating anything I want in moderation?

    • ShapeFit

      Hi Tim – It really depends on what your idea of moderation is. The bottom line is that you simply can’t out-exercise a bad diet which means no matter how much exercise you do, if you’re eating too much then it’s virtually impossible to make up the difference. Even though you’re burning a lot of calories on your long bike rides, if you consume super high calorie meals during the day, this can easily rack up thousands of calories above what you’re burning. You might want to cut back a little on your overall food intake if you really want to reach your goal weight. Give it a shot for 2-3 weeks and see how your physique looks. I’m sure giving up a few decadent treats each day will pay huge dividends!

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