The Female Bodybuilding Diet Calories
Female bodybuilding isn’t different from male bodybuilding in many respects. The female bodybuilding diet closely resembles the typical male bodybuilding diet but maybe generally lower in calories, due to our smaller statures and there are several bonuses to following a specific diet as well. Otherwise, our caloric and macronutrient needs are not fulfilled properly.
This article will briefly cover the most important aspect of losing, gaining, or maintaining weight while bodybuilding: calories.
The Calorie Factor
When it comes to losing or gaining weight, calories are of utmost importance. Calories, not macronutrients, determine your weight and body composition. Weight gain occurs where there is excess energy intake, which the body stores as fat (a pound of fat equals 3500 calories). Unfortunately, your body does not differentiate between 3,000 calories of pie or 3,000 calories of apples–it does not care how “clean” or “healthy” the food is. If you want results, focus on calories first.
There are no formulas or calculators that can determine your exact caloric intake for maintaining, losing, or gaining weight. However, several formulas can closely guesstimate how many calories you should consume, based on several factors: lean body mass, body weight, height, gender, and rate of non-exercise physical activity.
First, we must determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This is essentially how many calories you need to survive.
Use any of these formulas:
Katch-McArdle formula: 370+(21.6xLBM)
To determine LBM (lean body mass), use this formula: [total weight (kg) x (100 – bodyfat %)]/100
Mifflin-St. Jeor formula: [9.99 x weight (kg)] + [6.25 x height (cm)] – [4.92 x age (years)] -161
Warning: do not base your calorie needs off this amount! This is how much you need to literally survive, e.g. if you’re comatose. To get your maintenance intake — the amount you need to eat to maintain your weight — multiply it by an activity factor. The activity factor takes into account your overall daily activity, so choose the number that accurately reflects your entire lifestyle, not your exercise habits.
1.2: Sedentary (desk job, rarely move)
1.3-1.4: (You do light work on your feet and exercise a 1-3x week)
1.4-1.5: (You move around a lot most of the day; you exercise a 3-5x week)
1.7-1.8: (Yikes! You move and lift heavy objects most of the day)
1.9-2.0: (You have an extremely demanding physical job)
The number you get after multiplying your BMR by an activity factor is your maintenance intake. To illustrate this process, let’s take Einna, a relatively healthy 24-year-old. She is 5’8”, weighs 157 pounds, has 27% body fat, and spends most of her day at a desk. She also lifts weights three times a week.
This Einna girl sure looks a lot like me!
She decides one day that she wants to lose more weight. So, she decides to use the formulas on this page to help her figure out her caloric needs. She’s not too good with math, so she chooses the Katch-McArdle formula–a relatively simple formula.