Back to how many (calories—daily and at each meal): I’ve always been good with numbers, and as a prep coach and nutritionist, I pride myself on having been blessed with the ability to utilize that skill along with being able to “visually” size up a competitor or individual. It’s always been quite easy for me to set up caloric intakes and breakdowns for the individuals I work with. However, for someone who doesn’t work with numbers and nutrition on a daily basis, putting together the proper amount of calories needed day in and day out to not only rekindle your metabolism, but also help you reach your goals can be a bit tricky. Again, each person is different and there will be some trial and error, but here’s a guide of how to successfully construct your caloric intake to fit your daily meal plan.
If you’re determining this on your own, it might be helpful to enlist the services of a nutritionist to help you. You can utilize this assistance in a couple of ways: You could consult with a nutritionist to work out the caloric intake for you, then take the information to run the program yourself, or you could simply hire the nutritionist to determine your caloric intake and diet and work with you throughout your entire program. No matter which course you decide, here’s a little background on caloric intake:
■ MEN: For men under the age of 40, a good average to go by is between 2,500–3,000 calories daily, divided among however many meals you need throughout the day. This number could vary a couple of hundred calories below 2,500 or a couple hundred above 3,000 depending on your build, age variance, and level of daily activity—more for a highly active male or athlete and less for a more sedentary individual.
For men between 40 and 50, that caloric intake number drops approximately 200–300 calories depending on age, build, and activity level; and for men over 50, the number would drop again, depending on those same variables. Of course, these are averages and what you may actually need is determined by trial and error—but this will at least give you some type of standard to begin with.
■ WOMEN: For women, the scale is much different—a woman from her 20s to early 30s, depending upon her actual age, build, and activity level would need an average of 2,000 per day and could be a couple hundred more or less, also depending on those variables. From middle 30s to 40s, when a woman’s body begins changing due to age, child birth, or possibly the onset of perimenopause, that number drops again to around 1,700 or so daily—going up or down a couple of hundred again depending on their bodies and activity level.
Once a woman is 50-plus and has hit menopause (the average age for menopause being 51)—that number would be cut again to around 1,500 daily—more or less could be added or taken from depending on age, activity level, and also considering where a woman may be in menopause—some women could hit it as early as their late 30s or early 40s while others don’t hit menopause until their 60s. Again, these numbers should be used only as a guideline to help you find the amount that works for you. - FLEX