How many calories do I need?

how many calories

How many calories do I need?

how many calories

How many calories do I need?  This is an extremely common question that I get asked all the time. I know it can be frustrating! That’s what I love about Beachbody workouts.  They actually give you a nutrition guide that tells you how many calories you need.  The nutrition plans that come with workouts like P90X are thorough and extremely helpful.  In my opinion, I have worked with people who follow and do not follow the nutrition plans. Who do you think had the best results? Believe me, I know from personal experience as you will see below. The nutrition guides go hand in hand with the workouts: If you are not following the nutrition guide, you’re not really doing the whole program.

Are you Tracking How Many Calories You Eat?

First off, you need to be tracking what you eat.  If you’re not tracking what you eat, then it’s nearly impossible to know what adjustments you might need to make. If you’re not tracking, then I highly recommend setting up an account at  You can use it online or on your smartphone and it’s an awesome resource.  I log my food and workouts every day. I have been doing this for over a year and it has helped me stay on track. Just like anything plans are meant for the majority (or average person) so you may need to tweak things up a little and if you do not know what you are actually doing, how are you going to make changes?

For me, everything changed when calculated how many calories I needed and  I started tracking how many calories I was consuming.  My first month of P90X, I didn’t follow the nutrition plan or track what I ate.  And guess what?  Big Mistake! I didn’t see any results!  Very frustrated as I but was it really all that surprising?  I was busting my butt on the workouts, but not seeing the changes I expect. Yes, I got P90X after watching an infomercial and I just thought I would magically have the same results. Then came Phase 2 & 3 and I decided to dial in my nutrition, add shakeology and I started tracking everything I ate.  This took sometime to become a habit so consistency is key. I ended up losing 15 lbs.  It really does make a big difference. I took this habit into my Insanity program lost an additional 7 lbs and tons of inches. You may not think those numbers are big, but being 5’2 these changes helped me go from a size 8 (barely fitting) to a size 2-3.

Calculating How Many Calories You Need

To figure out how many calories you should be eating, there are formulas in both the P90X and Insanity nutrition guides that are easy to use. I am going to go over the Insanity equation in this post as I think it can be applied to most programs. I will go into P90X in another post.

Here are the steps for how many calories you need for Insanity

In calculating your calories should really take into account your age, sex, and height as well. So the more accurate method is to use the Harris Benedict Equation, which is what is employed by the INSANITY NUTRITION GUIDE.

  • For women, this equation is: 655 +(4.35 x weight)+(4.7 x height)-(4.7 x age)
  • For men, this equation is:  66+(6.23 x weight)+(12.7 x height)-(6.8 x age)

This equation calculates out exactly what you NEED just to function. And then you have to use an additional factor in order to determine how many calories you have to eat based on your lifestyle.

how many calories

How Many Calories: Intensity Factor


So you take your number form the Harris Benedict Equation, and then multiply it by your factor for lifestyle  AND THEN you can subtract your 500 calories a day to lose 1-2 pounds a week. I would put Insanity, Turbofire, and Insanity: The Asylum at moderately to very active depending on your previous fitness level. A program like Les Mills Combat,  Hip Hop Abs, Turbojam, RevAbs I would put as moderately active.

If you want to gain weight, you need to run at a calorie surplus, meaning you need to eat 500-1000 calories more than the suggested amount. Insanity is not the ideal program to gain mass so if this is your goal I recommend checking out Body Beast or P90X

What About The Macros?

I know you might have heard the term macros, but maybe you were confused about that it actually means. Let me clarify. Macros are the percentage breakdown of protein, carbs and fat you eat and this is important too.  But today I just wanted to cover how to calculate how many calories you need.  This above is a fairly simple formula, but I’ve found it to be accurate.  I know there are many different tools out there that come up with different numbers, but I have found success with this.

I’ll do a separate post all about macros soon as they are very important too, but hopefully this post helps you figure out how many calories you need!

How Many Calories – Conclusion

Results come down to planning, tracking and consistency with eating clean. Using this equation to calculate how many calories you need is the first step. If you need any help, please contact me. I am here to help you achiever your health goals. Let’s get started! Please do me a favor, if you found this post on how many calories you need helpful, please comment and share via the social media options below.


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