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Is 3000 calories to much or does it sound about right?

Jmoney711Jmoney711 Member Posts: 42 Member Member Posts: 42 Member
I’m 5 foot 10 150 pounds 20 years old male and very active, I road bike nearly every day more so around 4 -6 times a week averaging around 25 - 30+ miles and normal ride time is about an hour in a half. My fitness pal says to maintain I need about 3000 calories to maintain. Is anyone else eating this much to maintain? It just seems like a lot. I would love some insight

Replies

  • sijomialsijomial Member Posts: 16,712 Member Member Posts: 16,712 Member
    60 YO, retired but very active, cycle a lot, 5'9, 170lbs.
    In summer 3,500 - 4,000 cals is quite common as a daily goal.

    For someone your age despite your light weight doing a lot of exercise no I don't regard 3,000 cals as a lot!

    I use a power meter to (very accurately) estimate my cycling burns which I need to add to my approximately 2,500 cal a day allowance for a non-exercise day. Thirty mile ride for me is typically over 1,000 net cals.

    How did you work out your estimate?
    Are you selecting Very Active setting to reflect your activity EXCLUDING exercise and adding your cycling on top or doing something else?

    e.g. my calorie goal in MyFitnessPal terms is 2,500 + exercise calories.

  • corinasue1143corinasue1143 Member Posts: 3,897 Member Member Posts: 3,897 Member
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    Looks pretty close.

    Try it for a couple weeks. See what happens.
  • Jmoney711Jmoney711 Member Posts: 42 Member Member Posts: 42 Member
    @sijomial i put myfitness pal activity to “very active” and it gave me a calorie goal of 3050 calories a day. I see the calories curbed on my strava account and Apple Watch but take the numbers they give me very lightly as I know they are known to be inaccurate, after my rides it will say I burned around 1200 calories. I don’t have a power meter yet but I hope to invest in one soon.
  • Jmoney711Jmoney711 Member Posts: 42 Member Member Posts: 42 Member
    ^ also I don’t “eat back” calories burned but I do want to eat enough for optimal nutrition and make sure I’m giving my body the right amount of energy so I can improve and perform well on the bike.
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Member Posts: 7,388 Member Member Posts: 7,388 Member
    Estimates are estimates and they depend on a lot, including your intake logging, to determine their apparent accuracy.

    That said, and for the amount of exercise you posit, no, your 3K Cal does not sound like a lot. Plus, if your, "average" male is around 2500 Cal to maintain... why would 3K be a lot for an active young person?

    In terms of MFP Calories specifically, you may want to differentiate between general activity outside of exercise and specific exercise activity. MFP treats them separately (they still have to be added up together to estimate your burn). TDEE estimators lump the two together.
  • Jmoney711Jmoney711 Member Posts: 42 Member Member Posts: 42 Member
    @sijomial what kind of foods do you eat in order to reach that calorie goal. I find it hard to hit 3,000 + calories.
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Member Posts: 7,388 Member Member Posts: 7,388 Member
    Jmoney711 wrote: »
    @sijomial what kind of foods do you eat in order to reach that calorie goal. I find it hard to hit 3,000 + calories.

    I am not the wise one, or the cycling one!

    I only walk around and am 2.7x your age, a bit more than 2" shorter, and weight just a smidgen more than you! Since my TDEE is only about 2660 AND I have been losing a tiny bit these past three months, I've only had 7 days between 2987 and 3631 during the April 25 to June 13 time frame which is what I can easily pull!

    One thread all 7 days have in common is... drum-roll: an appreciable quantity of candy bars and ice-cream!

    Pre-covid the common thread would have been restaurant meals and protein bars (the ones I used to buy have temporarily? disappeared :disappointed: )

    I still eat my broccoli!
  • sijomialsijomial Member Posts: 16,712 Member Member Posts: 16,712 Member
    Jmoney711 wrote: »
    ^ also I don’t “eat back” calories burned but I do want to eat enough for optimal nutrition and make sure I’m giving my body the right amount of energy so I can improve and perform well on the bike.

    OK lets get the eat back exercise calories thing out of the way first.....
    Whether you are following the MFP style or using a tracker to estimate that day's TDEE (which varies in line with both exercise and non-exercise activity) you are eating back exercise calories.
    And with such a high exercise volume you NEED to be taking them into account.
    The non-tracker TDEE method also has people eating their exercise calories - just a daily average insetad of varying on the day.

    Apple Watch doesn't send the correct numbers to MyFitnessPal if you link it directly, disconnect it or link via an intermediary app like Pacer. It's not worth using a tracker if the data is wrong.

    Setting your MyFitnessPal activity level to Very Active because of your exercise isn't the way it's supposed to be used (it's everything EXCEPT exercise).

    For 20 - 30 mile rides they don't need specific targetted fuelling (Plain water, maybe electrolytes in hot/humid weather). If you have ambitions to go longer then you will start to think about how to fuel.
    The MyFitnessPal method suits people doing endurance cardio very well.

    Strava estimates I find perfectly usable and comparable to my power meter but that's partly luck as Strava's estimates are gross calories but it significantly under-estimates the power I need to produce to drag my un-aerodynamic riding position through the air. Your aero has a very good chance of being better than mine.

    I don't struggle to eat a lot more than 3,000 cals with just my regular diet. It's a pretty high carb diet (loads of grains, veg or all kinds, fruit....). It does give me a lot of dietary freedom for enjoyable treats (mostly savoury ones but that's personal) as with a big diet it's very easy to hit or exceed all micro and macro nutrient needs.
    On long ride days (say 50miles and upwards) then fuelling with very high carbs does become necessary for performance (unless you are happy to plod along....).

    Overall 3,000 really isn't high for your age, gender and exercise. My hunch would be it's a low estimate but just a hunch as I don't have any idea of your non-exercise activity. You could be very active or sedentary outside of your exercise and that makes a significant difference.
    If you go to a TDEE calculator such as https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/ you would get another set of estimates/predictions.

  • Jmoney711Jmoney711 Member Posts: 42 Member Member Posts: 42 Member
    Ok I will take all this into account and change up the way I have my MFP activity set up. When you do have days where you consume 3000+ calories do you hold a lot of water weight the following day? I find that sometimes I will be up 2 to 4 pounds the next morning. Is that normal? @sijomial
  • Jmoney711Jmoney711 Member Posts: 42 Member Member Posts: 42 Member
    And what about rest days when you are not on the bike, how do you handle your caloric intake then?
  • sijomialsijomial Member Posts: 16,712 Member Member Posts: 16,712 Member
    Jmoney711 wrote: »
    And what about rest days when you are not on the bike, how do you handle your caloric intake then?


    I eat less.
    (Might skip breakfast, might have less snacks, might make different food choices.....)

    Although in reality I don't attempt to hit a balance on a daily basis, I'm happier to take a much longer term view and although I can't do true intuitive eating (unless I want to get fat again!) I try to make my weight control as natural and flexible as possible which includes eating more when I'm hungrier, not making myself eat when I'm not hungry (or don't need to eat more that day).

    "I find that sometimes I will be up 2 to 4 pounds the next morning. Is that normal?"
    It's normal for me. Up three pounds this morning after a family BBQ yesterday. A Chinese meal can mean 5lbs up. One or two days later generally I'm back to my normal weight

    My weight fluctuations are related to:
    Sodium variation from food choices, heat, extreme exercise, alcohol, flying, food volume, inflammation when I have a bad back. I only take note of my overall weight trend, not at all bothered by my natural day to day fluctuations as they resolve themselves without intervention.
  • Jmoney711Jmoney711 Member Posts: 42 Member Member Posts: 42 Member
    Thank you for your insight, it has helped me out a lot.
  • ritzvinritzvin Member, Premium Posts: 2,686 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,686 Member
    Jmoney711 wrote: »
    ^ also I don’t “eat back” calories burned but I do want to eat enough for optimal nutrition and make sure I’m giving my body the right amount of energy so I can improve and perform well on the bike.

    You're probably good to eat most of them back.. somewhat less if you were in a paceline. You can adjust as you go.
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    Jmoney711 wrote: »
    @sijomial what kind of foods do you eat in order to reach that calorie goal. I find it hard to hit 3,000 + calories.


    One thread all 7 days have in common is... drum-roll: an appreciable quantity of candy bars and ice-cream!

    Pre-covid the common thread would have been restaurant meals and protein bars (the ones I used to buy have temporarily? disappeared :disappointed: )

    Yeah- The post-ride ice cream & beer isn't quite cutting it for me. Those pub/restaurant post-ride/run stops (that immediately disappeared) provided a LOT of calories. I need to make sure I pick up a candy bar (or 2 or 3) (or maybe cake or cookies) after particularly grueling rides like yesterday. I stuffed myself as much as I could with what I had at home afterward (after 2 ice cream cones and a package of honeyed almonds and a beer and along with a cider) - to come up at -107 net calories. ouch. (I was regretting not at least buying that bag of mouth-wateringly-fatty atlantic salmon earlier in the week).

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