There is an overwhelming amount of information for weight loss out there. We wrote this calculator that factors in current best practices for determining your daily caloric needs and then applies our own diet to help you shred fat while preserving muscle. Check out our post on cutting for more information about our recommended macronutrient split for lifters on a cut, or use the BMR and TDEE calculations below to apply to your own diet.
Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is the amount of energy in calories your body requires to function at complete rest.
Your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) is the estimated amount of energy in calories your body consumes in a day while taking into account your activity level. More active individuals will burn more calories per day than more sedentary people.
This is the target daily calorie deficit for you to hit your weekly weight loss goals. We compute this number by multiplying the weight you expect to lose each week by 3500, which is the amount of calories in one pound of fat, and then spreading that deficit across 7 days to hit your weekly weight loss goals.
If BMR is your resting calorie consumption, TDEE is your average calorie consumption after factoring in your activity level, then your target caloric intake is the recommended daily calorie intake to gradually and consistently lose weight during your cut by eating below your TDEE. It's as simple as energy in - energy out, in this case we're reducing our energy input below our energy expenditure.
Protein intake is of vital importance to lifters to gain muscle mass while bulking, or to retain muscle mass during a cut. We recommend 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day during a standard cut to prevent or limit catabolism of your hard earned muscle tissue.
Fat is an indispensable macronutrient, even during a cut. We recommend you get 25-30% of your daily calories from fat while cutting to keep hormone levels normal and aid the absorption of vitamins and nutrients in your diet.
Carbs are the new bad guy in the diet world. From Atkins to Keto, it's very popular to cut weight by cutting carbs these days. While I'm sure you can lose weight very quickly by dropping your carb intake to almost nothing, you're not going to be able to continue to workout hard enough to stimulate your muscles if you drop your carb intake too low. There is enough room in our diet after protein and fat have been accounted for to allow a moderate carb intake during your cut that should keep your energy levels high in the gym, and cravings at bay.
This calculator is only an estimation and should be treated as such. Obviously, consult a physician before beginning any training or nutrition program. Every individual is different, you should monitor your weight loss during your cut and adjust factors like activity level or target weight loss to meet your needs.
This calculator uses the Mifflin-St Jeor Equation to calculate BMR in basic mode which is our current best estimation for the general population according to research.
In advanced mode, we use the Katch-McArdle equation which is considered the most accurate formula for individuals who are relatively lean.
In basic mode, we use the Harris–Benedict equation to calculate your TDEE based on your activity level. This is the most common TDEE calculator in use and is very simple. Your TDEE in this calculation should be treated as an estimation since the opportunity for error exists when reporting your activity level, and of course your true activity factor might lie in between different levels. If after two weeks of following your diet you notice that your weight loss is faster or slower than expected, first adjust your activity factor and then recompute your TDEE and macros.
The basic TDEE calculation suffers from several problems:
Thus, in advanced mode we use Alan Aragon's TDEE equation which allows far more customization based on your weekly activity levels, but tends to underestimate metabolic needs for sedentary individuals. For this reason, we recommend advanced mode for trained or active people and basic mode for the general population.