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 🙂

    • 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).

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