Maintenance Calorie FAQ
First, I will answer the most common questions regarding maintenance calories. That way, you won’t have questions later after calculating your maintenance numbers.
What are maintenance calories?
Maintenance calories are the amount of energy your body needs to support daily functions, physical activity, and exercise. In other words, it is a caloric intake equal to your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
How do I find out my maintenance calories?
You can approximate your maintenance calories by multiplying your body weight by 15. For example, an average 150 lb person needs 2,250 calories daily to maintain their weight.
However, this is an oversimplified way of finding maintenance calories because it doesn’t account for your body composition or actual activity level. So I will show you a better calculation in the sections below.
Will I gain weight if I eat maintenance calories?
Theoretically, you should not gain weight unless you have a calorie surplus. That is, you’re eating more calories than you burn regularly.
Nevertheless, there are situations where you could gain weight when eating your maintenance number of calories. For example, your body needs time to adjust to a higher intake if you have been on a calorie-restricted diet.
Can I burn fat on maintenance calories?
Most of the time, you will not burn fat on a maintenance calorie diet. The reason is that you need at least a slight calorie deficit to lose weight.
Still, losing weight at your maintenance number is possible if you’re transitioning from a high-calorie diet.
How long should I stay at maintenance calories?
How long you stay at your maintenance calories depends on your situation. For example, you may need to target your maintenance number for 6-12 weeks for metabolic adaptation to occur.
On the other hand, you could transition to a calorie deficit or surplus after 2-3 weeks if your metabolism is already healthy.