Do You Subtract The Calories You Burned From Daily Intake?

If you want to ensure a healthy lifestyle, you must maintain a healthy weight that is appropriate for your height, gender, and age.

If you don’t do this, you are putting yourself at serious risk of multiple health problems including heart disease and diabetes.

Do You Subtract The Calories You Burned From Daily Intake?

There’s a simple equation that helps you to stay at a healthy weight. The answer? Finding the perfect balance between the calories you consume each day versus the number of calories you burn. 

The most essential thing you need to know about weight is that a single pound of fat consists of 3,500 extra calories.

If you want to lose a single pound of fat, you will need to make a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories per week through diet and exercise.

But do you subtract the calories you burned from your daily intake? Let’s find out!

What Is The Recommended Calorie Intake?

There is a specific number of daily calories that are recommended for people to stick to if the goal is to maintain a healthier weight.

These do not necessarily work for weight loss but are general guidelines that can be used as a guide for weight loss plans.

Total daily calorie amounts depend on multiple factors such as age, weight, height, current body mass, resting heart rate, and activity level.

For example, a young athlete will require significantly more calories each day to power their body whereas a moderately active office worker will need far fewer.

Generally, the recommended calorie intake for women is 2,000 whereas this number is 2,500 for men. Again, these numbers differ depending on individual circumstances. 

Calories From Exercise

Whatever activity you are doing, you will end up burning a significant number of calories throughout the day. You’re even burning calories right this second!

Your total calorie burns every day, based on the level of activity you complete, is an effective method of determining your levels of recommended daily calorie intake. 

You can increase the general number of calories that you burn through exercise to help you hit any weight-loss goals. This daily recommended calorie number may be 2,400 calories if you are pretty active on a day-to-day basis.

To lose a single pound of weight, you will need to add an extra 500 calories of exercise into your day if you want to carry on eating 2,400 calories.

If you experience a day where you are not as active as normal, your recommended daily calorie intake may be reduced to 2,000 calories.

How Many Calories To Reach Weight Loss Goals?

To meet healthy weekly weight-loss targets of around 1 to 2 pounds, you will need to burn around 500 to 1,000 calories more than the recommended daily number for weight maintenance. 

For example, if your recommended daily calorie number to ensure weight maintenance is capped at 2,000, you must eat 1,500 calories every day to lose 1 pound each week, or consume 2,000 calories every day and burn an additional 500 calories via exercise.

How Many Calories To Reach Weight Loss Goals?

You might also want to consider creating a combination of exercise and calorie restriction to ensure a 500-calorie deficit.

Calorie Deficit Vs Surplus

Burning a lot more calories than you consume throughout the day is called a “calorie deficit” and is the foundation of many weight loss equations.

The basic idea is that you take the number of consumed daily calories minus the number of calories out to work out your deficit.

When you take in far more calories than you burn through daily movements or exercise, you automatically create a calorie surplus, which often results in significant weight gain. 

If you’re trying to maintain your current weight, ensure that the number of calories you consume and then burn are equal to each other.

Calculating BMR

To do this, you must know about the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and how this may impact the number of daily calories burned.

Your BMR is the total amount of calories that your body burns during rest time with different life-sustaining activities such as breathing.

To calculate your calorie deficit goals for weight loss or maintenance, make sure to subtract the number of calories that are burned along with your BMR from your consumed calories first.

This will give you an idea of how much of a deficit or surplus you are in.

Use the following equations: 

Men: 66 + (6.23 x weight in lbs) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age)

Women = 655 + (4.35 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age)

The Outcome

Once you have subtracted your BMR and the calories burned via activity from the number of calories that you take in, you’ll end up with a positive or negative number (a calorie surplus or deficit, respectively).

If the number is close to zero, you’ll maintain your weight.

Subtracting Calories Burned From Calories Consumed

So, should you subtract the calories you burned from your daily intake? If you want to lose weight, the answer is “no,” otherwise, you risk staying in a calorie surplus.

Although it isn’t considered to be against the rules, subtracting calories burned from exercise from the total number of calories consumed gives a distinct impression that you have the space to consume more food and thus more calories. 

However, the majority of adults do not need to eat back the calories they burned as they are already doing moderate daily activities such as biking, swimming, walking, or weight-lifting, which do not burn enough calories to warrant any post-workout snacks. 

The single exception is for young athletes who must do multiple vigorous workouts each day for several hours at a time. They require additional calories to sustain this sort of activity.


If your goal is to lose weight, you do not need to subtract the calories you burned from your daily intake.

If you do, you will be more tempted to eat back the calories burned which will make staying in a caloric deficit that much harder.

Jenna Priestly

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