Myth Buster: Eat less and Exercise More?

By: Steffie Handley

Calories: More or less with exercise?

The amount of calories we consume seems to be a very popular thing to think about nowadays. But what is the correct amount of calories you should consume if you are exercising?

Well, it obviously depends on your goal whether this is to increase muscle, lose weight or just keep toned and stay fit.

The typical healthy calorie intake should be around 2000 for women. You have got to remember when you are exercising, you are going to be burning off a lot of calories. It’s important you are taking in the correct amount of calories and nutrients to give your body enough energy to perform the increase in activity levels that you are pushing it to do.

If you don’t consume enough calories you could feel effects such as the following:

  • Decrease in muscle mass
  • Decreased energy levels/fatigue
  • Slowed down metabolism
  • Faster weight gain when calorie intake returns to normal

So it is very important you maintain a good level of calorie intake in order to ensure your body can function efficiently.


Calorie intake with exercise to lose weight

When a lot of people think of losing weight they think they have to massively cut back on calories to get the best results as quickly as possible- No, this is not the healthy way to do it! When your exercising, you are going to be burning a lot more calories than usual so even if you maintain your current calorie intake, you will see some changes.

You can of course, reduce your calorie intake in order to see faster weight loss or more improvements. The healthy amount to drop your calorie intake by is around 500-600 calories. So this would mean women could consume up to 1400-1500 calories a day. Don’t starve yourself, if you are hungry, EAT!


Calorie intake with exercise to maintain current weight but tone up

As mentioned previously, the amount of calories you burn increases with exercise so if you consume the same amount of calories as you did before you started exercise you are probably going to lose a bit of weight.

Increasing your calorie intake by around 200 calories (up to 2200 for women and 2700 for men) would ensure that although you’re eating more, you are burning it off with exercise and not losing too much weight. When I say consume 200 more calories, I don’t mean eat a load of pizza, ice cream and cake, I mean healthy snacks and foods that won’t increase fat intake!


Calorie intake with exercise to build muscle

If you are slim and don’t consume many calories, then you won’t build muscle. Your body needs something to be able to turn into muscle. Increasing your calorie intake by around 500 per day to begin with, is a healthy way to start. This means women can consume up to 2500.

It is important you are getting your calories from the right amount of foods,though. Snacks such as nuts are a good way to consume high amounts of calories. Protein intake is also important when building muscle as this gives your body the energy and the correct nutrients it needs to sustain your requirements.

As you build more and more muscle, the amount of calories you can take in can increase also, again to ensure you are providing your body with enough energy and nutrients.



As well as the correct calorie intake, you need to make sure you are carrying out the correct types of exercises to achieve your goal. For example, if you are wanting to build muscle but are only performing aerobic exercises, chances are, you’re not going to build much muscle!

At our Fierce Fit classes and private sessions, our personal trainers will be able to guide you in the right direction and give you the most appropriate exercises for your desired goals!

If you want to find out more about personal training sessions and classes, visit our website.


Steffie Handley

Steffie Handley

I graduated from University of central Lancashire with a social worker based degree, (Care, Community and Citizenship). I knew I wanted to help people but was unsure of which path to take, I found myself lost, I finished university and still not a clue what to do. During my time at university I no longer found time for physical activity, my love for food grew and my weight slowly crept up. I knew something had to change as I felt friends were moving on around me and I was stationary. This was the kickstart I needed to go on my fitness journey which has seen me shed over eight stone in weight, complete my first marathon in Geneva raising money for UNICEF, qualify as an Advanced Personal Trainer and Nutritional Advisor.

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