Regret eating that piece of cake the other day, do you? We know how it feels.

Whether or not we want to, many of us are overly conscious of what we eat – both for the good and the bad. Calorie counting or not, there seems to be an ongoing discussion on the ideal relationship between calorie consumption and calorie expenditure.


Consumption vs. Expenditure

The recommended average calorie intake for an average female is roughly 2000 kcal per day. However, the amount of calories you should eat varies vastly depending on your physique and what you are trying to achieve with your training. Thus, it becomes difficult to recommend calorie intake without advising a proper dietician.

Calorie expenditure, on the other hand, can be estimated and monitored quite easily using an activity tracker. Now, a wrist-based calorie tracker might not be able to give you an exact figure as it cannot measure calorie burn. But, if you tell it a bit about yourself (age, height, weight, gender, etc.), it will give you a good estimate of your daily burn by tracking your movement.

As if that wasn’t enough to keep track of, there’s also a difference between passive and active calories. Getting complicated now? Let’s sort this out.

Passive Calories

Imagine spending an entire day netflixing it up in bed, not moving an inch more than necessary. (If this sounds a bit too familiar, we can help you get that in check). The fuel needed to maintain vital life functions during this day is the passive calories you burn. This number is called your basal metabolic rate (Or BMR) and depends on your fitness level and muscle mass. Your BMR remains relatively constant from day-to-day and can only be influenced over time through a change in your daily activity level.

While there are a few different equations you can use to get an estimate of your BMR, we use the revised Harries-Benedict equation. Try plugging your numbers into the formula:

Female: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161

Male: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5

Active Calories

The good news is that there is another form of calorie burn you can influence quite easily. These are the active calories you start burning as soon as you do anything but sitting still. Thus, the more physically active you are, the more of these calories you burn, meaning this number is highly dynamic and fairly simple to modify.

Average daily calorie burn for an average female (without working out)*:

– Passive calories: 1470 kcal

– Active calories: 566 kcal

– Total calories: 2036 kcal

As an average female, your recommended daily intake to maintain your weight would then be 2036 kcal – the sum of your passive and active calorie expenditure. If you want to lose weight, the formula is simple: reduce your calorie intake and/or increase your physical activity level. If you want to build more muscle mass, increasing your activity level, especially in the weight lifting department, as well as adding some extra “good calories” to your diet is the way to go. We’ll have a blog on this real soon.

*Numbers are based on the calculation of an average female user from data collected by the adidas team (age 31, 163cm, 65kg). Data provided should only be used as a guideline. Schedule during day on which data was calculated:

-Sleeping: 8 h

-Office work: 8 h

-Eating/drinking: 2 h

-Walking for transportation: 1.5 h

-Self-care (shower, restroom, etc): 1.5 h

-Relaxing (TV, reading, phone calls, etc): 3 h

Read next:  Stay fit this Thanksgiving