This is one of those questions we get every day. “Should I add calories that I burn during exercise back to my total”.
While I can see why this is tempting, the answer is a firm, absolutely not!
If you used the IIFYM calculator to get your macros, you already counted the calories you burned during exercise in step one.
If you eat more calories than our macro calculator suggestion, you’ll be eating more than your body needs to hit your goals. Here is how it works out:
BMR = the calories your body needs to live, in a coma, barely breathing – Nothing else!
TDEE = BMR plus all the calories you use living life, working, playing, eating, exercising and everything in between.
So for our example, let’s say your BMR Is 1400 calories, and the below activities are your daily energy expenditures.
TEF (Thermic Effect of Food/Feed): you burned 100 calories eating food all day
NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis): burn 200 calories at work
Also, TEF: 100 more calories digesting food
With some more non-energy activity thermogenesis, where you burn 300 calories walking, talking, playing and cooking etc.
And finally, you burn 500 calories exercising (TEPA – Thermic Effect of Physical Activity)
This gives you a TDEE of 2600 calories.
The IIFYM calculator takes your TDEE and subtracts a percentage based on the goals you enter.
Let’s say you pick AGGRESSIVE in step 2, which is a 20% reduction in TDEE calories.
20% of 2600 calories is 520
Subtract 520 from 2600 = 2080 calories
You must eat 2080 calories to lose weight.
Here’s what happens when you add calories you burn during exercise
If you eat 2080 calories, then decide to add (eat) back 600 calories that you burned during exercise, you are now eating 2680 calories which is greater than your TDEE (more calories than your body can use). If you do this, you are no longer in a calorie deficit and burning fat. Instead, you are in a caloric surplus and will be storing fat/building muscle. You are simply eating too many calories!
When people talk about adding calories back that they burned during exercise, they are only considering their BMR.
Don’t make this mistake!
The quick answer to the question; Hit your macros!
And if you are wondering. “what exactly are the macros I should be hitting to lose weight at a steady, and predictable pace?” You might want to consider grabbing yourself a Custom Macro Blueprint.
Click here and we will do all the math for you: IIFYM Macro Blueprint
Hey. This calculation was very helpful. But i just wanted to know. Im eating less then 1000 cal in a day and exercising intense cardio for 40 mins since i want to have an extreme weight loss. Would this in any way affect my health??
Hi I need to eat 1300 calories a day. I did treadmill which is 211 calories. Do I add those exercise calories on to 1500 to lose weight or no.
Please help me! I am a person that doesn’t eat enough in a day and am having trouble losing weight now. I am 69 years young. I never had a problem losing
If your goal is weight loss you do not want to eat back the calories you expend during exercise. If you do then you are actually eating for maintaining your weight not lose weight. We recommend using our calculator to find your macro and calorie targets and eating the same amount every day. Your exercise is already factored into the recommendations.