How Many Calories Should You Eat for Fat Loss?

In case you didn’t know, 80% of your results are going to come from the kitchen…not your workouts. So no matter how hard you BRING IT you’re basically taking two steps back if you don’t focus on what you eat. That may sound a little discouraging, but it makes a lot of sense. If you think about it, a typical workout session is only going to take up about 10-20% of your day. That’s only going to make up a very small amount of your results. You really need to concentrate on what you’re doing the rest of the day if you’re dedicated to getting SERIOUS results!

Do you want to lose fat, maintain weight, or build muscle? Your answer to that question is going to determine how many calories you need to eat each day. There are lots of calculators you can use online to determine your daily calorie needs, and ALL are going to give you different results depending on what formula they use. Every Beachbody workout program comes with a nutrition guide to steer you in the right direction and there’s even a tool on the website that can help you estimate your calorie needs.

The thing is, ALL OF THESE CALCULATIONS ARE JUST ESTIMATES. Everyone is different, even those of us that are the same age, height, weight, and gender can have different requirements. That’s why it’s SO important to track you nutrition and your measurements. This isn’t something you need to do for the rest of your life (unless you want to!), but if you’re working towards a very specific goal why would you NOT want to do this? Do you think everything is just going to magically fall into place? Or maybe a better question is…how has NOT tracking your nutrition worked out for you so far? :-)

Here is a simple chart that will put you in the ballpark if your current goal is to LOSE BODY FAT quickly (which I find is the case for the majority of the people I talk to that are just starting out). Keep in mind that this is just a starting point, as your body changes your nutrition needs are going to change too. And when that happens is different for everyone. You may be able to stick with these calories for 90+ days. Others may need to make adjustments in 30 days.

Again, track your progress for a couple of weeks and see what happens. I highly recommend dividing your day into 3 main meals and 2 snacks in between meals. From the time you wake up you should be eating every 2.5 to 3.5 hours to keep your metabolism burning.



6’and above = 1900-2200 calories per day.

5’6″-5’11” = 1700-1900 calories per day.

less than 5’6″ = 1600-1500 calories per day.


5’6″ and above = 1200-1400 calories per day.

less than 5’6″ = 1000-1200 calories per day.

Here’s some additional key points:

Point #1: PUT NO THOUGHT INTO WHAT YOU ARE BURNING FOR CALORIES IN EACH OF YOUR WORKOUTS. An average workout burn is already figured into these calorie estimates. Simply work HARD on each workout and the rest will take care of itself. Does it really matter how many calories you are burning? Probably not.

I get it, you may be very obsessed with numbers and NEED to track it. Some people like to post very high calorie burns on social media kind of like it’s a badge of honor. If that is your thing, go for it! But if it isn’t, don’t worry about it. :-) Do NOT try to plug it into MyFitnessPal (my preferred tracking tool) because you will only confuse yourself and make the process more difficult than it needs to be. AS LONG AS YOU ARE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR WORKOUTS AND BRINGING IT 5-6 DAYS A WEEK THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS. You don’t need to worry about calories burned during your workout, OK?

Point #2: If you want to take it to another level you should be following the FAT SHREDDER numbers if you are currently more than 2% away from your body fat goal (again, most people who are just starting out will fall into this category). This means you are breaking down your daily calories into 50% protein, 30% carbs, and 20% fat. In addition to hitting your calorie target, this is going to be a major part of the success equation for most people.

Point #3: DON’T LET THE SCALE DICTATE YOUR RESULTS. The best gauge of your progress is your measurements, how you feel, how you look in the mirror, and how your clothes fit. Your body weight can fluctuate greatly depending on your water weight and is often not an accurate way to monitor your progress. This is especially true the closer you get to your “goal weight.” I recommend purchasing a pair of body fat calipers and using those to track your progress instead of obsessing over the scale. A 0.5% drop in body fat per week is good, safe progress.

So there it is people! Some easy guidelines to stick with that will make tracking your nutrition and measurements SIMPLE AND STRESS FREE!

Amanda is a 2-Star Diamond Beachbody Coach, retired Licensed Veterinary Technician and RRCA certified running coach. Her geekiness is legendary and is most proud of the fact she finally found a way to turn her passions for running, fitness, nutrition, writing, and pets into a full-time business that now helps others get off the couch and get after their dreams. Proverbs 3:5-6


  1. says

    Losing fat is more complex than simply “calories in and calories out” and establishing a target calorie intake. For optimal fat loss, you should also consider the quality of calories, timing of calories, and breakdown of calories. Thanks

  2. says

    Hi PhitnPhat, I totally agree that losing fat is a very complex issue. I teach in my coaching program the importance of nutrient density as well as macronutrients. I feel for those who are struggling with weight loss it’s best to start with a more simple approach first (calories in calories out) before tackling the finer details. It’s all a part of step by step learning process. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Christine says

    How do I know that I am burning calories and intake calories. I am not sure what I am doing…. I started with 200 and now I am down to 191.8…Waist I have gain 1″ in one week but biceps and thighs only lost .5 in one week…. How can I do more. What kind of exercises I should be doing. I am doing biking, treadmill and elipsce… I am not sure how to spell that… I do push up 10 times but no reps… i am doing knee up to chest and roll it… Am I doing it wrong….

  4. says

    Christine, what’s even more important is your nutrition…that is 80% of your results. If you are tracking your food carefully and giving 100% during your workouts the rest will take care of itself! The great thing about Beachbody programs is that all you have to do is press play and you don’t have to worry about anything else. If I had to put my own program together, I really wouldn’t know what to do unless I hired a personal trainer!