Men who exercise need more calories than those who do not.

How Many Calories Does an Average Man Need in One Day?

by Barrett Barlowe

Men get to eat more than women--that is one unfair truth many women ponder as they go round and round on the elliptical trainer or munch zero-fat bran crisps. You may ask yourself, "How many calories does he need in one day?" The infuriating answer is always "more than you." Even though you know that an average man need more calories than an average woman, the reasons may surprise you.

1. Eat to Live

The number of calories a man eats needs to match the calories he burns, in order for him to maintain a healthy weight. His resting metabolic rate determines how many calories he uses just to sustain bodily function. A man needs to add calories to those sustaining his resting metabolic rate in order to perform physical activities. If your man says he needs a sandwich before he can fix that window, believe him. Figure out how many calories he needs a day by taking into account his healthy weight and his activity level.

2. Height and Weight

BMI, or body mass index, is a good way to determine a healthy weight range. It compares weight to height. To calculate a BMI index, multiply weight (in pounds) by 705. Divide the result by height (in inches). Divide one more time by height (in inches). The resulting number is the BMI index for men or women. A healthy BMI index falls between 18.5 and 24.9. If a man is 6 feet tall and weighs 180 pounds, his BMI is 24.48, which is in the healthy weight range. Use this current healthy weight to calculate resting metabolic rate. If he is overweight, use the healthy weight to calculate how many calories per day a man needs to achieve that weight goal. BMI tables classify a person with a BMI over 25 to be overweight, and a person with a BMI under 18.5 to be underweight.

3. RMR, or It's Unfair

Here is the truth all women know: Men burn more calories. Multiply the healthy weight of an adult man by 11 to calculate his resting metabolic rate. In contrast, multiply a woman's healthy body weight by 10. Breathe deeply and accept the difference; average men have a higher percentage of muscle to body fat than women. Their leaner body mass and resulting higher metabolism need more calories to sustain it (even lying on a sofa).

4. Feel the Burn

Activity level is the next factor used to determine calorie needs. Multiply a man's resting metabolic rate by 1.3 if he is sedentary (sitting or lying down most of the day). Multiply his resting metabolic rate by 1.6 if he is lightly active (a retail store clerk or health care worker). If he exercises with moderate intensity (does gardening or recreational sports) for an hour four to five times a week, multiply his resting metabolic rate by 1.7. Multiply his resting metabolic rate by 2.1 if he is a manual laborer or if he exercises strenuously at least five times a week for more than one hour.

5. What's for Dinner

A 25- to 40-year-old man who has a healthy weight of 180 pounds and who is active for about an hour a day needs 3,200 calories a day to maintain his weight. In contrast, if he has very little physical activity (less than one hour), he needs only approximately 2,600 calories a day. Inactive 45-year-olds need only 2,400 calories; with age his metabolism slows down.

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