Are You Eating Enough?

What’s Included?

  • How to calculate your energy needs
  • How to determine your macros
  • Signs you aren’t eating enough

Have you ever wondered if you’re eating enough to support your health and training? Diet culture tells us often that, as women, we need to eat less. The problem with this is it can negatively impact your overall health, not just your running performance. This article can help you figure out if you’re eating enough and you might be surprised how many calories we really need to thrive in running and beyond!


The following equation can be used to estimate your daily calorie needs. The base of this equation is your estimated BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate. You should NEVER eat at or below this number. This is the amount of calories your body needs to function if all you did was lay in bed and breathe all day. The activity factor (AF) is then used to account for how active you are.

ACTIVITY LEVELS:

Sedentary = 1.2 – day to day movement, sedentary job, little to no intentional exercise

Lightly active = 1.375 – light exercise 1-3x/week

Moderately active = 1.55 – moderate exercise 3-5x/week

Active = 1.725 – hard exercise 6-7x/week

Very active = 1.9 – hard exercise, physical job, 6-7x/week

Note: 1 kg = 2.2 lbs; 1 in = 2.54 cm

EXAMPLE:

32 year old female, who is 5’7” and 145 lbs, who runs 3x/week and lifts weight 2x/week and has a desk job

Step 1: Convert lbs to kg: 145 lbs / 2.2 = 65.9 kg

Step 2: Convert in to cm: 5’7” = 67 in x 2.54 = 170.18 cm

Step 3: AF = 1.375 – 1.55

(10 x 65.9) + (6.25 x 170.18) – (5 x 32) – 161 = 1401 kcal x AF 1.375-1.55 = 1927 – 2172 kcal

In this example, the BMR or basal metabolic rate is 1400 kcal. Calorie intake should NEVER be at or below this number. Your individual BMR may be higher or lower. We then take this number and multiple by the activity factor. This is where you can maintain your current weight and support your training.


Macronutrients, or Macros, are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. All foods have some combination of these three components, and all three are important! The generally accepted macronutrient distribution ranges (AMDR) for these three nutrients are:

Carbohydrates: 45-65% of total calories `

Protein: 10-35% of total calories

Fat: 20-35% of total calories

Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram, protein has 4 calories per gram, and fats have 9 calories per gram. Taking the example above we can break this down. We’ll use the upper end of the calorie range we determined above (2172 kcal).

65.9 kg x 1.5 g/kg = 99 g protein x 4 kcal/g = 396 kcal

396 / 2172 = 18% of calories

Step 2: Calculate fat (20-35% of your calories should come from fat. In this example, I used 25%)

2172 kcal x 0.25 = 543 kcal / 9 kcal/g = 60g fat

543 / 2172 = 25% of calories

Step 3: Calculate remaining calories from carbohydrates (45-65% of calories should come from carbohydrates. This includes grains, pastas, fruits, and veggies)

2172 – 396 – 543 = 1233 kcal / 4 kcal/g = 308 g carbohydrates

1233 / 2172 = 56% of calories

MACROS: 2172 kcal

Carbs: 308g

Protein: 99g

Fat: 60g


If we listen to our bodies closely, we can start to see that they can tell us a lot! Some signs that you may not be eating enough:

  • Increased fatigue and exhaustion
  • You don’t have a period
  • You aren’t sleeping well at night
  • Feeling cold all the time
  • Getting sick often
  • Hair Loss
  • Poor recovery from workouts
  • Decreased performance during workouts
  • Increased effort
  • Increased risk or recurring injuries

No matter where you fall on the size spectrum, everyone deserves to feel good about fueling their body. If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, make sure to check out your nutrition to see if you may be falling short. Undereating, whether intentional or not, can have serious impacts on your overall health. Have more questions? Let us know!


Amy Haas
Run with Aim, LLC
UESCA Certified Running Coach
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
NASM Certified Nutrition Coach

Written & Verified by Katelyn Biros
Registered Dietitian

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