Though not nearly as straightforward as some claim, the question of how many calories you need to obtain a six pack is straightforward to answer. For your six pack to appear its best, we want to reduce your body fat percentage to less than 15, ideally less than 10. In order to lower your body fat, you just need to consume fewer calories than the standard recommendation of 2,500 calories for men and 2000 calories for women each day.

This is not only incorrect, but basing how many calories you consume on this could potentially increase your body fat.

What Percentage of Calories Should You Consume?

Your Totally Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), which we'll refer to as the number of calories you consume each day, is what determines this. The first is your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is simply how many calories your body would require on a daily basis if you did no exercise at all. Your height, weight, age, and sex are used to calculate it, but don't worry if the total seems challenging; I'll walk you through it:

BMR for women is 655 plus 4.35 times weight in pounds plus 4.7 times height in inches ( 4.7 x age in years )

Men's BMR is 66 + 6.23 times their weight in pounds + 12.7 times their height in inches ( 6.8 x age in year )

When you drop below your BMR, your body may enter what is referred to as Starvation Mode. This has a number of impacts, one of which is a slowing of your metabolism, which lowers your BMR and reduces the amount of calories you need. Plus, you'll have less energy and your body will get much better at storing fat.

How active you are is the second factor we must consider when determining how many calories you need. Now, since your TDEE is based on how busy your lifestyle is, it will be higher than your BMR unless you actually sleep all day or do nothing but sit around, which I doubt. You require more calories the more active you are and the higher your TDEE.

Simply multiply your BMR by your average level of activity now that you are aware of your BMR. You must consume this many calories each day to keep your weight stable.

Desk-based employment and inactivity = BMR x 1.2

Lightly Active = BMR x 1.375 (light activity 1-3 days per week)

Moderately Active = BMR x 1.55 (moderate exercise three to five days per week).

Very Active = BMR x 1.725 (intense activity 3-5 days per week).

Extremely Active (daily vigorous exercise & physically demanding work) = BMR x 1.9

I'll use the example of a man who is 25 years old, 6 feet tall, and weighs 220 pounds, or just under 15 stone, to demonstrate what I mean. The formula to determine his BMR would be as follows:

66 for being a guy, 6.23 x weight in pounds, 1,370.6, and 12.7 x height, 914.4, minus 6.8 x age, 170, equals 2181

Therefore, 2181 is the number of calories required in this scenario, but only to equal his BMR. His BMR needs to be multiplied by 1.55 to calculate his TDEE because he leads a moderately active lifestyle, which includes going to the gym three times a week and having a job that doesn't need too much sitting down.

2181 x 1.55 = 3380.55

In this case, the man requires 3380.55 calories per day, yet if he consumes that many, he CANNOT develop a six-pack. why not Because, as I previously stated, a body fat percentage of 15 or even 10 is required to see even the greatest set of abs, the man in the case needs to lose weight to lower his body fat percentage. He needs to consume fewer calories while maintaining a BMR above in order to get there safely, effectively, and sustainably.

In this case, the individual needs to consume 2380 calories per day to reduce his body fat %. However, until he reaches the weight he plans to maintain, or anytime his usual activity level varies, he must recalculate his BMR and TDEE every 4 to 6 weeks.

**An Alternative to Calorie Restriction**

If you prefer eating a lot or enjoy eating high-calorie foods but find it difficult to eat less calories, you may have already realized there are ways to reduce body fat without necessarily consuming fewer calories. Your BMR and TDEE will rise if you exercise more or just get more active overall, such as by walking to work and taking the stairs rather than the elevator.

To put it another way, your size and level of activity will largely determine how many calories you need to obtain a six-pack.

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