Maintenance Calorie Calculator

Find Calorie Balance & Take Control of Your Weight

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTUpdated: September 15, 2022

Do you have a hard time managing your weight? Or does it sometimes feel like you have no control over your body? If so, you’re not alone.

Most people don’t know their maintenance calorie number, which makes maintaining body weight a guessing game.

But with the maintenance calorie calculator, you’ll finally take control of your weight. From there, you can transform your body!

maintenance calorie calculator

Before you fill out the maintenance calorie calculator, it’s a good idea to skim through the information below. That way, you will understand energy balance and how it helps you manage your weight.

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.

maintenance calorie calculator energy balance

Why You Should Know Your Maintenance Number

Think of maintenance calories as your “diet home base.” When you’re at this number, you’re safe from dramatic changes in body weight.

Your body gets all the energy and nutrients it needs at your maintenance number but nothing more. Perfect energy balance.

From here, you can easily adjust your calories to burn fat and build muscle. So by knowing your maintenance calorie intake, you have control of your weight.

How to Calculate Maintenance Calories

As I mentioned, three parts go into your maintenance calories—resting metabolism, daily activity, and exercise.

Together, these three parts are called TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). And they represent the number of calories you burn during the day.

maintenance calorie calculator tdee

Of course, calorie expenditure depends on your activity level. So your calorie intake depends on your activity level as well.

But how do you know how many calories you should eat every day? That’s where the maintenance calorie calculator comes in.

Maintenance Calorie Calculator Example

The maintenance calorie calculator makes finding your calorie target easy. All you have to do is answer a few questions about your body type and activity level. Let’s look at an example.

Step 1: Resting Metabolism

First, you enter your weight and approximate body composition using the sliders. Then choose your body type based on how easy or difficult it is for you to lose weight.

These factors determine your RMR (resting metabolic rate), also known as BMR (basal metabolic rate). And that represents the number of calories your body burns even if you sat on the couch all day doing nothing.

Maintenance Calorie Calculator Body Type

Step 2: Activity Level

Next, you choose how active you are during the day. Like if you sit at a desk most of the day or move around a lot.

Then you’ll indicate how often you exercise, for how long, and the exercise intensity. These factors dictate how many calories you burn on top of your metabolic rate.

maintenance calorie calculator activity level

Step 3: Goal

The last step is choosing your fitness goal. To find your maintenance calories, select “Lose a little fat and gain a little muscle (recomposition)” as your goal.

This goal gives you a calorie target that matches your daily energy expenditure. And allows you to maintain your weight while gradually transforming your body.

maintenance calorie calculator goal

Step 4. Results

Once you complete the form, you will see your results page. Here you’ll see how many calories you should eat on days you exercise and days you don’t.

In this example, Sue should eat 1,813 calories on the days she exercises and 1,433 calories on the days she rests.

maintenance calorie calculator results

Your maintenance number could be a slight deficit or surplus depending on your body composition. The small adjustment helps you lose fat and/or build muscle while maintaining weight.

Also, if you want to lose weight or build muscle faster, you can choose a different goal. And you’ll get a plan designed specifically for you.

Get Your Custom Meal Plan

maintenance calorie calculator meal plan

Whether your goal is to lose, gain, or maintain weight your Custom Meal Plan has you covered.

  • 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

  • Get Instant Access to Your Online Dashboard

Related Tools & Calculators

These practical calculators and fun quizzes can help you learn more about your body and optimize your diet.

Calorie Deficit Calculator

Calorie Surplus Calculator

Macronutrient Calculator

Body Type Quiz

Metabolic Type Quiz

Metabolic Age Calculator

How Long Does It Take to Get Abs Calculator

Lean Bulk Macros Calculator

Reverse Dieting Calculator

Fat Free Mass Index (FFMI) Calculator

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