Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Do I Eat Back My Calories

This is a question I get more often than I would like to admit: "I burned 500 calories during my workout, I get to eat those since I burned them, right?"

1- how do you even know you're burning that many calories in a workout?

2- keep reading

Let's first discuss TDEE and BMR (referenced here as well, so if you have already read my cardio blog- skip ahead)

Your BMR is your basal metabolic rate AKA what you burn without moving.
Your TDEE is your total daily energy expenditure AKA your BMR + moving (in a day)

You burn calories 24/7/365. You don't just burn calories in the gym.

If you want to lose fat, you need to eat in between your BMR and TDEE. For simplicity, let's say your BMR is 1500 and TDEE is 2000. AKA your body (height, weight, body fat %) burns an extra 500 calories from all the moving you do (in and out of the gym) in a day. In order to lose weight, you  need to be in a deficit.

SIDE NOTE- I am not sure who wrote your meal plan (if anyone) if you are reading this. If you need a custom meal plan to configure all of these numbers for you- checkout

In order to be in a deficit- you need to be eating less calories than you burn (and still be above your BMR to prevent your body from going into starvation mode).

So if you are burning a total of 2000 a day and your meal plan calls for a 1600 calorie diet- you SHOULD NOT be "eating back" the calories you burn in a workout because the 1600 calorie diet already factors in the calories you are burning during your workout. If you eat them back- you will basically be at a maintenance level style of dieting (aka no weight loss and no fat gain).

At the end of the day- you need to be in a deficit to lose, eat what you burn to maintain, and eat more than you burn to bulk.


  1. Very helpful! I think I’m getting myself a meal plan from you guys.

  2. Great! I know my BMR is 1201 calories and Maintenance calories are 1441.2. I struggle with being tired if I eat less than 1200 ( that includes “eating back”) should I raise my daily calories from 1200 to 1300 and not eat back? Do you offer a one time consultation?

  3. No one should be eating less than 1200 calories. Most people go into “starvation mode” under 1400/1500 calories , especially if this is an ongoing lifestyle, which causes you to store fat because your body isn’t sure when you’re going to eat again

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  5. So here is where I’m confused...
    My BMR is roughly 1700. According to my chest strap monitor I burn anywhere from 800-1600 calories when I do a good workout. For the sake of keeping it simple let’s say I can hit 1000 calories burned every time. So my TDEE is 1000. Total of BMR & TDEE is 2700.
    To lose 2 pounds a week I’ll stick to eating 2700 calories a day and burning 1000 (the burning would be the deficit). To lose one pound/week I could actually eat 3200 calories a day and stick to burning 1000 calories a day. Is this right?
    If so, isnt that eating back some of your calories?

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