bathroom scale to figure out how many calories you burn each day
"For someone like me, losing 12 pounds—my racing-weight goal—would be like ditching 1.5 gallons of water or half of my bike on the course." (Photo: Dave Bradley Photography/Getty I)

How Many Calories Do You Burn Each Day?

Dave Scott's active-guy calorie calculator.

bathroom scale to figure out how many calories you burn each day
Dave Bradley Photography/Getty I(Photo)

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The key to maintaining your ideal weight is to figure out how many calories you need each day, versus how many calories you are taking in. If you eat more than you burn, you’ll gain weight; eat less and you’ll drop weight whether it’s fat, or your hard-earned muscle tissue.

The problem? How much you burn each day depends on how active you are. Here, Dave Scott the six-time World Ironman triathlon champion gives you the easiest way for active people and athletes to determine how many calories they are burning on rest days or workout days.

Want to Burn Less/More Calories? Use This Formula Below

Step 1: Get Your “Baseline”

Multiply your bodyweight times 11. (If you weigh less than 150 pounds, multiply by 10). Keep this number for the next two steps.

Step 2: Get Your Rest-Day Total

Add to your baseline the additional calories you burn going about your daily routine. Use the chart below to determine what your normal activity level is. Now, multiply your baseline (step 1) by the appropriate factor in the chart, then add the two numbers together. (E.g. A 200 pound man with a sedentary day would have a 2,200 calorie baseline, 15% of which is 330 calories, so his total rest day caloric requirement is 2,530 calories.) This is your rest-day total.

Daily Activity Chart:

  • Inactive (x 15%): Sitting for most of the day. Yeah, that’s you cubicle boy.
  • Lightly active (x 35%): You’re on your feet most of the day, walking or standing. Doctors and Baristas would probalby fall into this category.
  • Moderately Active (x45%): Walking, and some physical labor. Electrician? Ski shop employee? You’re here.
  • Very Active (x75%): Builders, Farmers, Factory Workers fit here.
  • Extremely Active (x100%): Personal Trainers (who work out with clients), Stone Masons, Hardrock Miners

Step 3: Get Your Workout Total

On days you workout, you burn more calories depending on how intensely you’re exercising. Pick your sport and intensity in the chart, below. Then multiply the “intensity factor” by your weight (in pounds) and then multiply by the number of minutes you’re doing the exercise. Then, add this number to your rest day total (Step 2). This is the number of calories you burn on your active days. So:

[Intensity Factor X Weight (lbs) X Minutes of Exercise] + Rest Day calories (Step 2) = Total calories burned on workout days

Intensity Factor Chart:

Swim – intensity factor based on intensity of exercise
.10 → 1:10 per 100 yards
.08 → 1:20 per 100 yards
.06 → 2:00 per 100 yards
.05 → 2:20 per 100 yards
.04 → 2:45 per 100 yards

Cycling – intensity factor based on intensity of exercise
.15 → 23 mph
.12 → 20 mph
.09 → 17.5 mph
.08 → 15 mph
.07 → 14 mph
.06 → 13 mph
.05 → 12 mph

Run – intensity factor based on intensity of exercise
.13 → 6:00 mile
.10 → 7:00 mile
.09 → 9:00 mile
.08 → 9:45 mile
.07 → 10:30 mile
.06 → 11:15 mile

XC Skiing intensity factor based on intensity of exercise
.16 → 2:40/km
.15 → 3:00/km
.14 → 3:15/km
.13 → 3:30/km
.12 → 3:45/km
.11 → 4:00/km

Some of the material is reprinted at OutsideOnline courtesy Dave Scott, Inc.

Lead Photo: Dave Bradley Photography/Getty I