Harris Benedict Formula – Basal Metabolic Rate Calculator

Find out approximately how much should you be eating for your specific goal with this Harris Benedict BMR calculator.

The Harris Benedict BMR calculator calculates the minimum amount of calories you need to maintain your weight as well as perform your day to day activities based on sex, age, height and weight.

The formula used is the Harris Benedict Formula and is only, at best, an approximate guestimate but it gives you a starting point. More on this formula later.

First of all please complete the form below to get an approximate BMR figure. Then continue below for further instructions.



Now that you know your Total Daily Energy Expenditure..




Build Muscle OR Lose Weight/Burn Fat
If your goal is to build muscle, you should start by eating 500 calories overwhat your Total Daily Energy Expenditure is.Expect to gain 1-2 kgs per week when you’re starting out. 0.5-1 kgs if you’re a veteran. Any more than this and you’re probably gaining too much fat and you’ll need to reducecalories slightly.If you aren’t noticing any weight gain on an extra 500 calories, try gradually increasing the number to 1000 calories on top of your TDEE.

NOTE: Remember that these are very basic assumptions. There could be a whole heap of other reasons why you’re not gaining muscle that needs to be addressed. I.E. intensity of program, program effectiveness etc

If your goal is to burn fat and lose weight, you should start by eating 500 calories less than your TDEE.Expect to lose 0.5-1kg a week (1-2lbs). If you’re losing any more than this, it is likely coming from muscle tissue. This will slow your metabolism down and make it harderto lose weight in the long run!If you aren’t noticing any weight loss, decrease your calories by a further 250 a week until you see the weight dropping OR increase your training frequency and intensity

NOTE: Remember that these are very basic assumptions. There could be a whole heap of other reasons why you’re not losing fat that needs to be addressed. I.E. Underestimating your activity levels etc

Important Note : Remember that not all calories are created equally! A 3000 calorie diet consisting of mainly junk food and trans fats is NOT the same as a 3000 calorie diet consisting of protein, complex carbs and essential fats.

For More information on what to eat as well as how much click here!

The Harris Benedict Formula is pretty accurate for all but the really muscular physiques (it will underestimate your calorie requirements) and the really overweight (it will overestimate your requirements).

If you find yourself in the latter situation, it would be wise to find out your LBM – Lean body mass. You can do this by getting a body fat check.

Then, take your LBM and add 10% to it. Then put that figure into the calculator for a closer estimate for what your daily calorie needs are.

For example if my LBM was 67kg, I’d add 10% to it. 67 + 6.7 = 73.7kg and I’d put that into the calculator.


If you fancy doing the math all on your own, there is a more accurate
formula than the Harris Benedict Formula that takes Lean Body Mass into account. It’s called


The Katch-Mcardle Formula

This formula is more accurate for everybody but you’ll have to know your LBM first. The formula works for both men and women because no guess work needs to be done with body fat levels once you’ve obtained your lean body mass.

BMR = 370 + (21.6 X lean body mass in kg)


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My Example

I’m 74kg in total weight
I have a body fat % of 12%

So my lean weight is 65.1 kg

My BMR is 370 + 1406 = 1776 calories (very close to what the harris-benedict formula gave me)

Then multiply that figure again depending on your activity level.

So mine would be 1776 calories x 1.375 (lightly active) = 2446 Calories needed to maintain weight


As you can see the difference in results between the Katch Mcardle Formula and the Harris Benedict Formula were negligable for me. If you’re between 10-18% bodyfat (higher for women), then the calculator at the top of this page will serve you fine (unless you’re extremely muscular).

If not, find out your LBM and use the Katch-Mcardle Formula


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Click to leave the Harris Benedict Formula Page and go back to the Best Diets and Nutrition Section

Progressive Overload – A Key Exercise Principle

No matter what your goal is, whether you want to build muscle fast or lose weight, during your workouts the key principle you should always work within is progressive overload. Failing to do so will mean that your results stop almost immediately.

What is Progressive Overload?

Our bodies are used to doing certain things on a daily basis. Walking around, carrying the shopping etc. All of these functions are normal activities that the body is capable of.

progressive overloadWhat happens when we go beyond our bodies normal capabilities? What if we’re only used to walking and all of a sudden we have to run for a bus? When people complain that even running for a bus is a difficult task for them it means that they have experienced OVERLOAD. An activity beyond what their body is normally used to.

Bearing in mind that the body is designed to survive, it will take steps to ensure that this kind of stress or ‘overload’ isn’t experienced again by ‘progressing’. After a while, running for a bus will become a ‘normal’ daily activity (if it was done regularly) and would not be something that the body finds difficult to perform.

That is a very simple example of progressive overload in the real world.

How Does Progressive Overload Work in Our Training?

The idea remains similar. Your goal should be to push your body beyond it’s normal demands. Why? So that your body responds by progressing you towards the goal you are working towards.

Muscle Building Example : John Smith wants to be bigger. He pushes 50kg on the bench press for 10 repetitions in his first week. He struggled.
His body responds throughout the week to make sure that next time he doesn’t struggle. It will do this by making John’s muscles bigger and stronger.John Smith comes back to the gym next week and pushes 50kg for 12 reps (progressive overload from last week – an extra 2 reps). His body grows bigger and stronger still.

Weight Loss Example : John Smith wants to drop body fat. He has taken up a cardio programme.
John does 20 minutes at a speed of 8km on the treadmill in his first week. He is very out of breath as he is not used to running for so long. His body responds by increasing his fitness and increasing his metabolism.20 minutes at 8km is now a ”normal” function for John. He must now beat his score the following week to progress (either by increasing the duration or his speed)

Failing to beat your score (increase intensity) from your previous workout will result in a plateau!

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No progressive overload = No reason for your body to change!

If John carried on with his 50kg for 10 repetition workout week after week his body will have no need to increase his muscle size and strength because it has now become a normal activity that it can handle fairly easily.


How Do We Ensure That We Reach Progressive Overload?

I’ll give you a list of things you can do here but this is also another detailed subject in which you’d greatly benefit from grabbing yourself either one of my recommended online muscle building programs or fat loss programs (depending on your goal). Clicking either of those links will take you to my detailed reviews of the most popular online programs.

There are a few things you must do :-

  • Keep a log of every workout you do! How will you remember what you did in your last workout if you don’t write it down? How do you know what score you have to beat to reach progressive overload? This is very important and a must do!
  • Train to muscular failure or close to it if you’re goal is to build muscle. (those last 1 or 2 repetitions that you struggle with are the difference between reaching progressive overload or not!)
  • Getting as close to failure as safely possible during your cardio programme.
  • (Failure is harder to determine with cardio. Obviously it wouldn’t be safe to go to absolute failure on the treadmill! As long as you’re using appropriate intensity and beating your previous workout’s score, you should progress. Don’t cheat yourself if you feel that you have a little more in the tank!)


    What If We Fail to Reach Progressive Overload and What Can We Do?

    Here are some reasons that people may fail to beat their previous score or increase their intensity

  • Not taking in the correct nutrition to allow your body to grow stronger/bigger/fitter
  • Solution : Eat correctly and eat enough food every single day!


    • Not pushing yourself to beat your previous score

    Solution : This is a mental thing and something only you can overcome. Sure at times your workout will feel uncomfortable (unless it is actual pain, stop if you feel you’re injuring yourself). You are trying to ‘overload’ your body! How badly do you want to reach your goal? If you want it enough, a bit of short term discomfort is nothing compared to the long term glory you will achieve.


    • Forgetting what you did the previous week

     Solution : No excuse, you MUST record your workouts


    • Feeling tired / Lacking energy / Overtraining

     Solution: Get adequate rest. Try to aim for at least 7 hours of sleep a night. You may also be overtraining. Take an extra day off in between workouts if this is the case and let your body recover fully.


    • Not using correct technique or cheating

    Solution: This can be hard to see yourself. Somebody will probably have to tell you if your form is slacking. Remember to lift a weight that is heavy enough but can be lifted with correct technique. There is no point in lifting heavy if you’re not targetting the correct muscles.


    Whoever you are, male or female, no matter what your goal you must exercise using progressive overload or your results will stagnate after the first couple of weeks. Remember that no two people are the same so start at a level that your body is capable of handling and progress gradually from there.

    In short : No progressive overload = No Progress!


    Take a look at some workouts you can use with the progressive overload principle :-

    Muscle Building Workouts

    Weight Loss Workouts