Some typical calorie averages

Before you learn how to calculate your own calorie needs, it will help you to know the average person's calorie requirements. According to exercise physiologists William McArdle and Frank Katch, the average maintenance level for women in the United States is 2000-2100 calories per day and the average for men is 2700-2900 per day.

These numbers are only averages, of course. Actual calorie expenditures can vary widely and are much higher for athletes or extremely active people. Some triathletes and ultra-endurance athletes may require as many as 5000-6000 calories per day or more just to maintain their weight! Endurance cyclists often slog down energy bars and high calorie carbohydrate drinks on the saddle, just to keep from losing weight by the hour! Calorie requirements can also vary among people with the same activity levels because of differences in inherited metabolic rates.

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