Determining the amount of calories you need to eat is not an exact science. Different formulas take into account variables such as your gender, age, weight, genetics, metabolic rate and activity level.
A calorie is a unit of energy. For example, when a food or drink contains 100 calories, it's a description of how much energy your body can get from that food or drink, according to the website KidsHealth.
Calories are essential for energy, bodily functions such as breathing and growth. It's important that you consume enough calories to carry out these functions and for physical activity. However, if you consume too many calories, they are stored as fat in your body.
Recommended Calories for Women
To determine the number of calories you need daily, determine your weight in kilograms; if you know your weight in pounds, divide it by 2.2. Then multiply your weight in kilograms by the basal metabolic rate (BMR) for females, which is 0.9, according to the University of Minnesota. This determines the amount of calories you need per hour. Multiply the total by 24 to get your estimated total daily calorie intake.
Determining your activity level is necessary to calculate the extra calories you need for athletic performance. Moderate activity levels include bike riding, dancing or fast walking. Heavy activity levels include fast running or playing basketball. Exceptional activity levels include exercising for several hours each day such as professional athletes in training, according to the University of Minnesota.
Recommended Calories for Female Athletes
If you have a moderate activity level, multiply your total daily calories by 0.6; for a heavy activity level, multiply it by 0.9; and for an exceptional activity level multiply by 1.20. Add this amount to your total daily calories to find out how many you need for normal bodily function and athletic performance.