I wanted to calculate my daily calorie intake and I bumped over Harris-Benedict formula, but when I use it I feel like it grossly overestimates what my calories should be (I know that because I already eat less than that and cannot lose weight).

Also, is there a formula that takes in consideration the body fat?

UPDATE: I'm 5.9 and 78kg with ~12% body fat. My goal is to drop to ~6% and mainly get rid of the extra fat from my abdominals. I train 3 times a week and my training consists in bar training and 2x 30 minutes treadmill (4 minutes jog and 1 minute spirit) plus an 1 hour jog on my third day. (I usually burn around 500kcal in the 30 minutes and 850kcal in the 1 hour jog) I also have an abs routine which I do in all three days.

I have been trying for a few months now to lose that 6% body fat and build muscles but it seems that I hit a dead point.

Any advice is much appreciated.

  • 1
    I updated my post. Jul 8, 2018 at 10:30

4 Answers 4


Any formulas you find online are simply rough estimates based on an average. If you really want to calculate how many calories you are burning and should be consuming, you need to look no further than a reliable scale.

Let’s break this down in a few easy to follow steps...

  • Weigh yourself before you eat in the morning to get a starting number.
  • Run a calculation (from any TDEE Calculator) to determine a starting point for caloric intake. Take the number you get and remember it.
  • Stick as close to that number as you possibly can (only counting consumed calories, you shouldn’t be counting burned calories at all). Do this every day for a week. Consistency is critical here.
  • Weigh yourself in the morning after the week has passed. If you gained weight, your TDEE is lower. If you lost weight, your TDEE is higher.
  • To determine your proper TDEE, you’ll simply want to continue adjusting your total calories until your weight stays the same. Changing your intake by increments of 100-200 should all you need.

It's possible you're gaining muscle which is why the scale doesn't budge. I'd suggest measuring your body fat percentage with calipers. You can find your BMR using calculator online. Since you're trying to lose weight, the calories you burn at rest should be a good calorie deficit if you're also working out sufficiently. You can also play around with your macros and lower your carbs more, eventually your metabolism will slow down naturally and you'll have to take a break from dieting. There's two schools of burning fat, most people diet and exercise but you can do one or the other. Exercise less eat less, or exercise more and eat more. Cycle between losing the fat through dieting and light exercise, and hardcore exercising to burn fat.

To calculate body fat percentage, lean mass, etc you can do the following: Use the Jackson Pollock 3 point skinfold test and measure your body with fat calipers.and enter them in the formula, replacing "j8, j9, and j10 with the 3 measurements.

Body density=1.10938 - (0.0008267 *(J8+J9+J10)) + (0.0000016 *(J8+J9+J10)^(2)) - (0.0002574 *30)

Bodyfat percentage== ((4.95/body density) - 4.5) * 100

Fat weight=(Bodyfat percentage/100)*bodyweight

Lean mass=bodyweight-fat weight

This will give you the most accurate data. The goal is to keep lean mass the same or increasing while decreasing fat weight.

If the numbers aren't budging.. just switch things up! Try not dieting but exercising more, or vice versa. Try fat loss circuits, metabolic conditioning, farmers carries, HIIT, etc..


This video uses the katch-mcardle formula. Asides from that it's a well put video that goes into the depth of setting your calories to lose weight.

  • This formula is very similar to the harris benedict formula. If anything it feels like it is less efficient because it doesn't take into consideration height and age. Jul 8, 2018 at 10:29

Weight loss is calories in vs calories out. Calories in is relatively easy to calculate - just watch your intake. Calories out on the other hand is far trickier.

You might burn 1000 calories a day sitting down just breathing. But on a day you burn 500 calories exercising, your body will pull back and you might only burn 700 calories that day from sitting and breathing. Days you eat extra food will also cause you to burn more calories, so there is no linear easy relationship or formula to use that will guarantee you an accurate result.

You're already familiar with the common formulas that serve as good starting points, but the only true way to know is to clock your intake over time and track how your weight changes.

If you consume a steady 2200 calories every day for a week with a consistent amount of exercise and there is no change in your weight, modify your daily intake by 500 calories and check back in the following week. Eventually you will move the needle and have a good idea of what your TDEE actually is.

Just remember that when your weight change plateaus because your body has adapted to that level of intake, you will have to adjust again.

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