Richard Stockton College Athletic Training

Sports Nutrition Newsletter
A periodic Newsletter that addresses the Nutritional aspects
of athletic competition.

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Kim Raring, MS, RD, is Richard Stockton College's campus nutritionist.

She provides individual, confidential nutritional counseling to students. Her service is free for RSC students. For appointments call extension 4701.


By Kimberly Raring, M.S., R.D.

How many calories do you need to maintain, lose or gain weight? Is it 1500, 3000 or 5000 calories per day? Many athletes are curious about their daily caloric needs, but do not know their own personal needs. Genetics plays a partial role in determining your caloric needs, but mostly it depends on your weight, daily activity and purposeful exercise. Whether you want to maintain, lose, or gain weight, the first step is to determine what your daily caloric needs are to maintain your present weight. Below is a formula to calculate your daily caloric needs.

Step One: Calculate Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)
Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the rate that your body burns calories while at rest. Many people think that the only way to burn calories is by exercising. The body burns hundreds of calories each day to live. The brain, liver, heart, etc requires energy throughout the day to function. Below is a summary of a how many calories a 150 pound man burns a day resting in bed all day. Based on the chart below, he requires 1755 calories per day to maintain his weight resting all day.

Brain 365
Heart 180
Liver 560
Kidney 120
Lung 160
Other tissues 370
TOTAL 1755 calories

To calculate your RMR, add a zero to your current weight. If you are significantly overweight, use a weight midway between your desired healthy weight and current weight.

1. Tina weighs 130 pounds and is at a healthy weight. 130 pounds multiplied by 10 is 1300 calories. Tina requires 1300 calories per day to maintain her weight if she did nothing all day.

2. Sean weighs 250 pounds, and would like to lose weight. A healthy weight would be 200 pounds. Use 225 pounds since it is mid-way between Sean’s actual weight and healthy weight. Multiply 225 times 10 for 2250 calories for Sean’s resting metabolic rate.

STEP 2: Add calories in for daily activity, excluding exercise.
If you are fairly sedentary (sit majority of the day) add 20-30% of your resting metabolic rate (RMR). If you are moderately active (moving most of the day), add 50% of RMR. If you are very active (such as landscaper, construction worker) add 60-80% of RMR.

Example: Tina is moderately active throughout the day. Her job requires she stand or walk most of the day. 50% of her RMR of 1300 calories is 650 calories. Total caloric needs thus far is 1300 + 650 = 1950 calories

STEP 3: Add calories for exercise
Estimate calories burned for exercise. The calories burned for many activities and exercise is dependent on body weight. The higher a person’s weight, the more calories are burned for the exercise. Check out the following websites for specific calories burned for activities:,, or Google “calories burned during exercise”.

Example: Tina ran 6 miles in an hour at a 10 minute per mile pace. She burned an estimated 600 calories running. She is on the cross country team and runs 4-8 miles per day. She typically burns 400 – 800 calories per day through purposeful exercise to average 600 calories per day.

STEP 4: Add calories in steps 1, 2 and 3
This caloric amount is the estimated calories needed each day to maintain your weight. If you are trying to lose weight, subtract 20 % of the daily calories. If you are trying to gain weight add 20% to the calories;

Example: Calculating Tina’s total daily caloric needs: 1300 (RMR) + 650 (activity) + 600 (exercise) = 2550 calories needed per day

Weight loss example: Tina wants to lose 10 pounds. Her daily caloric needs to maintain her weigh is 2550 calories.

2550 x 20% = 510 calories. 2550 – 510 calories is 2040 calories. Tina needs to eat about 2000 calories per day for her reducing diet.

Weight gain example: Todd wants to gain weight. His daily caloric needs are 3000 per day.

3000 multiplied by 20% is 600 calories. Todd needs to add 600 calories per day for his weight increase diet.

In conclusion, to determine your daily caloric needs three factors need to be taken into consideration: resting metabolic rate, daily activity level, and calories burned during exercise. The summary of these three factors is the estimated number of calories from food that you require each day to maintain your weight.

If you would like more help in determining your personal caloric needs, schedule an appointment with the nutritionist at the Wellness Center. It is free and part of the services offered to students at Stockton. Call Health Services at 609-652-4701 to schedule an appointment. All appointments are confidential.

*The information in this article was adapted from: “Sports Nutrition Guidebook”, by Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D., 3rd edition.

Questions or comments regarding the Athletic Training Pages should be directed to 
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