Calculate your calorie consumption and basal metabolism during sports!

Without fuel, no engine is running. The fuel of the human "engine" is the energy it gains from the nutrients of food. Now calculate the daily calorie requirement and basal metabolic rate during sports.

Determine your daily energy needs

How much can you lose in 10 weeks? Find out now!

On the one hand, we need energy for processes such as breathing, the maintenance of organ functions, physical and mental work in everyday life. Add to this the extra calories required through sport. However, this so-called work or performance turnover is often overestimated! We show you how you can calculate your daily energy requirements. The unit of energy content of the food is expressed in kilojoules (kJ) or kilocalories (kcal). In everyday use, however, the unit kilocalories (kcal) is predominantly used. 1 kilocalorie equals 4.184 kilojoules, or 1 kilojoule 0.239 kilocalories. The conversion is very simple: From kilocalories to kilojoules, the value is multiplied by 4.184, in the opposite case divided by this value.

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Some of the energy derived from nutrient depletion is transferred to other energy-containing compounds such as ATP and can thus be used in your organism for various forms of work (eg muscle activity). The efficiency of biological energy conservation is 40%. The remaining 60% of the binding energy is released as heat. Thus, more energy must be used for ATP formation than is conserved in ATP.

Table 1 shows the contribution of each major nutrient to ATP formation. Depending on the type of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, the values ​​may vary by ± 10%. (1)

17.4 kcal (73.2 J)

18.1 kcal (75.7 J)

20.8 kcal (87.3 J)


Formation of ATP per 100g of nutrient

Required nutrient energy per mole of ATP

Carbohydrate (starch)

23.5 mol

Fat (tristeain)

51.4 mol

Protein (casein)

20.4 mol

Tab.1: Utilization of nutrients to form ATP (1)

Physiological and physical fuel value - the difference

The physiological calorific value refers to the energy that is released during the metabolism ("combustion") of a particular nutrient. This is also called "burning calories". For carbohydrates and fats, the physiological calorific value is equal to the physical one. They are completely degraded in the organism to the energy-free end products carbon dioxide and water. Protein is different. Your organism can only decompose protein incompletely. The nitrogen contained in the protein molecules is excreted as an energy-containing urea compound with the urine. Therefore, the physiological calorific value of protein is about 25% lower than the physical calorific value measured in the laboratory. Table 2 gives you an overview. (2)

4.1 kcal / g (17 kJ / g)

9.3 kcal / g (38.9 kJ / g)

4.1 kcal / g (17 kJ / g)


Physical calorific value (gross energy)

Physiological calorific value (digestible energy)


4.1 kcal / g (17 kJ / g)


9.3 kcal / g (38.9 kJ / g)


5.7 kcal / g (23.9 kJ / g)

Tab. 2: Physical and physiological calorific value of the main nutrients (2)

Recording the energy turnover

The daily energy expenditure of a person can be measured by different methods. However, this is only partially practicable in everyday life or in counseling situations. Therefore, the average daily energy requirement of a person is usually estimated or calculated without specifically measuring it.

Examples of measuring methods are direct and indirect calorimetry.

In direct calorimetry the subject is in a measuring chamber for a longer period of time (at least 24 hours). The heat produced by the combustion of nutrients is measured and thus the sales are calculated. Since some of the heat is initially stored in the body, short-term energy sales measurements using direct calorimetry are not meaningful. It should also be taken into account that another part of the heat is released into the air in the form of water vapor. With this method, only statements about the energy turnover, but not about the share of different nutrients in the energy turnover are possible.

This is possible with the method of indirect calorimetry. Their principle is based on the fact that the nutrients are oxidatively degraded to water, carbon dioxide and nitrogen-containing products. Here, the nutrient conversion via the respiratory gas analysis (O2 uptake and CO2 release) and the nitrogen excretion in the urine can be recorded, and calculate the energy expenditure using the known physiological calorific values. Breathing air is detected by means of a mouthpiece or a face mask. (1)

The calorie calculator for your basal metabolic rate

Their daily energy requirements are made up of the basal metabolic rate (GU), food-related thermogenesis, work and performance (muscle work), as well as the need for growth, stress, illness, pregnancy and lactation. (3) The GU is energy consumption under strict rest conditions and postabsorptive condition. Above all, it depends on the amount of muscle, age, gender and genetic and hormonal influences. It is measured 12-14 hours after the last meal, immediately after awakening, and with complete physical rest. In immediate body environment thermoneutral conditions should prevail between 27-31 ° C.

Of course, not every home can do a professional measurement. In order to be able to determine your GU nevertheless, there is a formula for which you only need factors such as gender, weight, height and age:


GU = 66 + (13.7 * weight in kg) + (5 * size in cm) - (6.8 * age in years)


GU = 655 + (9.6 * weight in kg) + (1.8 * size in cm) - (4.7 * age in years)

The JV designates the amount of energy needed to maintain all vital organ functions and metabolic functions in absolute rest and wakefulness. So it's the amount of calories that your body consumes, even if you do nothing.

There is also still-fasting sales (RNU). This can be determined in contrast to the GU by indirect calorimetry in the consultation. The RNU is about 5% above the GU and its measurement conditions are a bit more practical. Here also in the morning 12-14 hours after the last meal is measured. However, the subject may be measured clothed at 24-26 ° C room temperature in comfortable, relaxed sitting. (1)

The increase in energy turnover

Postprandial thermogenesis is the increase in energy expenditure after ingestion. Your organism needs energy to transport and metabolize the main energy-producing nutrients. This manifests itself in increased heat generation and is referred to as thermogenesis. Depending on the composition of the food, thermogenesis accounts for about 10% of the total energy requirement.

Also read: The energy metabolism as the key to success

Calculate your daily calorie requirements! Important for losing weight

To estimate the actual daily needs, add to the GU the energy needs during everyday life, during work, during exercise and other recreational activities. This will give you the total energy needed per day. A common method is to specify the daily energy requirement of various occupational and leisure activities in the form of PAL (physical activity level) values ​​as a multiple of the JV.

PAL value 1.2 (x GU) predominantly sedentary / lying lifestyle without other activities, eg bedridden people or wheelchair users

PAL value 1.3 to 1.5 mainly sedentary activity with little to no leisure activities, eg office workers, precision mechanics, teachers, etc.

PAL value 1.6 to 1.7 major sitting activity with a few standing and walking activities, eg students, assembly line workers, motorists, etc.

PAL value 1.8 to 1.9 predominantly standing and walking activities, eg retail, salesman, craftsman, waiter, housework

PAL value 2.0 to 2.4 strenuous physical activity, eg competitive athletes, construction workers, forestry workers, farmers, miners, etc.

Your calorie consumption in sports

In order to determine the energy turnover through exercise, there are different formulas and possibilities. For example, cycling in the slipstream reduces energy consumption. In practice, your resting sales can be determined via indirect calorimetry. By determining your calorie consumption under stress, you will be able to determine your total series intake and then tune your diet to it!

Our book tip from the Trainingsworldredaktion:

The practice book of sports nutrition

The practice book of sports nutrition

Optimal nutrition is an indispensable prerequisite for optimizing performance and the best possible training success, both in competitive and competitive sports. From weightlifting through combined sports to pure endurance sports, a specially designed diet supports training and weight management effectively. This book provides a guide to the practical implementation of a sport-appropriate meal design in everyday life and answers important questions about the suitability and value of food, meaningful use of food supplements u. v. m. In addition, it contains numerous nutritional evaluation formulas, a meal planning guide, and a comprehensive, exercise-based food study.

If you are interested, you can order the book directly here in the shop or via Amazon .

Hanna Sandig


1. Biesalski (ed.) (2004): Nutritional Medicine. Stuttgart: Georg Thieme publishing house

2. Grosshauser (2010): nutrition in triathlon. Hamburg: spomedis GmbH

3. DGE (2000): Reference levels for nutrient intake. Frankfurt am Main: Umschau Braus GmbH


ATP - adenosine triphosphate is a high-energy compound (nucleotide) that generates biological energy in the human organism (muscle work)

Postabsorptive - timeframe in which the absorption process of nutrients and digestion is completed (time "after" absorption)

Megajoule (MJ) - the unit for energy, work and heat (1 MJ = 1.000 kJ = 239 kcal)

Mol - quantity in chemical reactions

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