# Is 3400 calories a day unreasonable for me?

Was reading one of the answers to this question that based on the calculation suggests I intake 3400 calories a day.

I have a scale at home that measures body fat and also calculate about the same number of calories.

Last year when I was counting my caloric intake, the number of calories I needed to maintain my weight was averaging 1800 calories. So I can't see how I can maintain my current body weight, or even gain only muscle at 3400 calories a day.

Could someone explain this to me?

Well here are my stats:

• Weight: 201 lbs
• Height: 5'10"
• Gender: Male
• Age: 41
• Activity: 4 hours of salsa dancing a week, 3 hours of weight lifting, 5 hours of private dance lessons.
• We can explain it to you better if you'll list your height, weight, age, and activities. It's possible you messed up on your math, or that your previous calculation was wrong. However, we'll need more information to help you specifically with this. – Nathan Wheeler Mar 21 '11 at 19:16
• Agree with @md5sum that we need some more info for specific recommendations, but one thing to consider (and I mean this objectively): are you SURE that you were counting calories correctly? It's very easy to underestimate what you actually eat. What you added up as 1800 calorie may very well have been much more... 1,800 calories to maintain would suggest that you are considerably smaller than the "average" man (I'm inferring your gender from your profile) - is this true? – G__ Mar 21 '11 at 20:18
• We need: height, weight, gender, age, activities, goals. – Yevgeniy Brikman Mar 21 '11 at 20:28
• @Greg: Isn't the daily average caloric intake for a man 2000 calories. I'm not far off. I had brought it down to 1400 calories a day in order to lose 2 lbs a week. – Salsero69 Mar 21 '11 at 21:50
• @Meritt I agree with the obese remark (sounds right to me). I was just pointing out that if you're carrying more weight around any physical exertion will burn more energy compared to somebody who is at their 'normal' healthy weight. – Evan Plaice May 23 '11 at 16:26

The estimated BMR for a male of your height/weight/age is 2000 calories/day. This is how many calories you'd burn if you stayed in bed all day long. Your daily activities, including going to work, doing chores, taking care of kids, reading, etc, will burn a few hundred calories on top of that, more if your job isn't sedentary. Finally, any exercise you do - you seem to average almost 2 hours a day - will burn even more. Add that all up and you get your maintenance calories: the number of calories you need to eat to maintain body weight. It wouldn't surprise me at all if your maintenance calories were in the 3k range. For reference, a few years ago I dropped from 223lbs -> 180lbs (I'm male, 5'11") and was losing 1-1.5lbs/week while eating 2500 calories per day (implying my maintenance calories were over 3k). My activity levels were actually less than yours: sedentary job, 3-4 hours of weight lifting a week.

Of course, all calorie counting is just an estimate and genetic differences can mean that your exact BMR and maintenance levels are a bit different than other people. Fortunately, you can hone in your estimates by using something that you can measure: your bodyweight. If your bodyweight is changing at the rate you are expecting - e.g. losing 1lb a week on a 500/day calorie deficit - then your estimates are accurate. If not, you'll have to tweak them until they match reality. Note: bodyweight can fluctuate quite a bit on a daily basis due to unrelated factors (e.g. water retention), but if you pay attention to your bodyweight trend over a week, the fluctuations should average out.

• I agree. 3400 isn't that really that high if you are doing a lot of active stuff. 9 hours of dancing and 3 hours of weight lifting should burn a considerable number of calories. The only thing that I think might bring the number down a little is your age. I've lost 5-7 pounds in a month from Snowboarding 3 days a week while living on a diet of mostly greasy burgers and a considerable amount of beer/alcohol. Now, I'm definitely no slouch when I ride but that's a lot of calories burned (and I was out of shape when I started so I was building muscle too). – Evan Plaice Mar 21 '11 at 22:52
• Check out this link to get an idea of how many different calories different activities burn nutribase.com/exercala.htm. If you read the resource as canon then (9 * 400 + 3 * 500) That's 4600 calories/week for activities alone or about 660/day increase. – Evan Plaice Mar 21 '11 at 23:06
• I'm gonna have to start counting my calories again to confirm. I remember I used to weigh/measure every piece of food that went into my mouth and had even managed to consume less than 5g of fat per day. And those nights I went out I had a beer and a slide of pizza to replenish and together that only added 700 calories. – Salsero69 Mar 22 '11 at 2:10