Calorie Deficit Calculator

Find your ideal calorie deficit to lose weight & keep it off.

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTUpdated: March 26, 2024

Calculating your calorie deficit can be challenging, and everyone’s ideal target is different. While some people may suggest that a 500-calorie deficit leads to a loss of 1 lb per week of fat, this is an oversimplification and could hinder your progress.

Instead, you require a personalized calorie target that considers your unique body type and lifestyle. That’s why I have created an incredibly precise calorie deficit calculator that helps you determine the exact number of calories you should consume to lose weight.

Calorie Deficit Calculator

What Is A Calorie Deficit?

Before we get into the calorie deficit calculator, we must understand the concept of calories in vs. calories out.

“Calories in” is the food you eat daily, including any shakes or drinks containing energy. Whereas “calories out” is the energy you burn.

You’re in a calorie deficit when you burn more calories than you eat.

Calories In < Calories Out = Calorie Deficit
calorie deficit calculator

Related: 3 Powerful Calorie Deficit Tweaks To Lose More Weight

Calories In

Most people choose to eat less to increase their calorie deficit. However, this is a slippery slope!

When you consistently under-eat, your metabolism slows down. And that makes it harder to lose weight.

Instead, it’s better to create a calorie deficit while eating enough to feed your metabolism for sustainable weight loss.

To do this, you need to understand how many calories you burn.

Calories Out

Generally, you burn calories in two ways – through your metabolism and your activity. Together, this is called TDEE (total daily energy expenditure).

First, the calories you burn just staying alive is called BMR (base metabolic rate), including your heartbeat, breathing, and even blinking. While it may sound minor, BMR accounts for 60% to 80% of the calories you burn.

In addition, 10-20% of the calories you burn come from normal daily activities, like walking around and digesting your food.

Related: 5 Foods That Burn More Calories

Finally, you burn another 10-20% by working out. To illustrate, the chart below shows percentages of calories burned on a typical workout day.

calorie deficit calculator - calories burned

How to Calculate a Calorie Deficit

The key to creating a sustainable calorie deficit is to eat fewer calories than you burn but not less than your metabolism burns. In other words, target below total calories burned but above BMR.

calorie deficit calculator - without exercise

In this example, a woman has a BMR of 1,600 calories. But she only burns 400 calories from normal activity and doesn’t exercise.

That means she shouldn’t have a deficit greater than 400 calories per day. Because if she did a 500 calorie deficit, her metabolism would slow – likely causing weight gain later.

However,  she also wouldn’t lose much weight with such a small deficit. To lose weight faster she has to increase activity, not decrease calories!

calorie deficit calculator - bigger deficit

In the chart above, she’s burning another 400 calories from exercise. Now her max calorie deficit is 800 calories per day. Meaning she could lose weight twice as fast!

But again, it’s best to target somewhere between BMR and total calories burned. That way you have room for adjustments.

How To Use The Calorie Deficit Calculator

At this point, you should understand the basics of calorie balance. But how do you know your metabolic rate? And how do you figure out how many calories you burn?

That’s where the calorie deficit calculator comes in. It finds your metabolic rate and determines how many calories you burn. Then shows you how much to eat.

Find Your Metabolic Rate

First, we need to establish your body composition. Because the amount of lean muscle you have determines your metabolic rate.

In reality, most of us don’t have an accurate way to measure body fat. That’s why I made it easy with a fun picture and slider.

Another factor that affects your metabolism is your unique genetics and body type. So I help you find your body type based on how hard it is for you to lose weight or gain weight.

Or you can try my free body type quiz and see how you compare to nearly 50,000 other people.

body type calorie deficit calculator

Find Your Calories Burned

All that’s left is to find your total calories burned based on your activity level.

First, you choose how active you are during your workday or school day. Then you select how often you exercise and how intense your workouts are.

Most Accurate Calorie Deficit Calculator

Now you have an understanding of what a calorie deficit is and why it’s crucial for weight loss. And you’ve seen how to calculate your deficit to ensure you lose weight without crashing your metabolism.

But all those numbers can still be a little intimidating, and I know you want to make sure you get it right. That’s why I created an easy calorie deficit calculator to help you find your ideal calorie target in minutes.

Once you complete the calculator you’ll see your custom calorie deficit based on your body and your lifestyle. Fill out the form below to get started.

calorie deficit calculator

Get Your Personal Calorie Deficit Plan

Calculating your calorie deficit is only part of the solution. You also have to know what and when to eat to maximize fat loss.

With a Custom Meal Plan, you get a complete solution based on your body type, lifestyle, and goals. Including custom meals and recipes, so there’s no calorie counting required!

bodybuilding meal plan
  • Transform your body with goal-specific calories & macros
  • Easily plan meals with a daily menu built around your schedule
  • Simplify meal prep with delicious recipes formulated to fit your macros
  • Make better food choices with a grocery list right on your phone

More Nutrition Information

Finding your calorie deficit is one of the biggest steps you can take to get your fitness journey moving in the right direction. But there are also many other pieces of the nutrition puzzle that must also be put in place.

So here are some links to additional articles that I know you’ll find helpful in reaching your fitness goals.

Simple 4-Part Nutrition Framework Everyone Should Know

Undereating? Start With a Reverse Diet First!

Calculate How Much Protein You Need Daily

The Ideal Calorie Surplus for Building Muscle

How Metabolic Confusion Helps Prevent Plateaus

In addition, I have practical information on everything from workouts and supplements to the latest news in the fitness world. So feel free to check out some of my other content below!

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