Nutrition by the numbers?

I'm a newbie and suppose this question has been asked before. How does one know how much to eat by the numbers? Say a person swims four miles a week, lifts weights and rides bike. Would it be safe to assume they could eat 4000 calories a day? I'm trying to take a scientific approach to my training but often feel I don't under stand the basics.  As a side note I'm one year cancer free and have worked very hard to get my weight down and strength back. Getting back into swimming has been the single best thing I've done for my recovery. Started swimming again 01/04/24 and am going to swim a 2.4 mile open Water event in July. Any advice from you would be greatly appreciated



  • Charlie,

    Congrats on being cancer free for 1 year and regaining your physical fitness.

    There are alot of factors affecting caloric expenditure:

    • Age
    • Height/weight
    • Effort level
    • Duration of effort
    • Others

    I suggest googling "baseline caloric expenditure" to learn more.  You will see that men expend 2,000-2500 calories just through daily living, but there is a wide range.

    Next - track your exercises, the duration, and your heart rate/exertion level.  Then, find a chart that lists exercises and their caloric requirements.  At that point the math is easy.  For example, let's say the 4 miles/week of swimming requires 2 hours (30 minutes/mile).  Assuming you expend 500 calories/hour (which is high for most masters swimmers), that is only 1,000 calories from swimming for the entire week.  

    Based on the exercise regiment you describe, 4,000 calories/day sounds too high.  However, only you know by doing the math.

    Good luck with the research and preparing for the OW event - there are plenty of discussions about OW prep.


  • Thank you

    I've started using some apps to help. I'll know more in a week but I'm guessing about 3500 as I workout six days a week.

    Thanks again

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