My calorie calculator can estimate your daily maintenance calorie level, as well as provide a recommended starting place for both a calorie deficit (required for weight loss) or a calorie surplus (required for muscle gain). All you need to do is whack your details into the calculator below!
Your maintenance calorie level is the amount of energy that your body requires to function on a daily basis. When we eat at our maintenance level, we neither gain nor lose weight - we stay the same and maintain our current weight. If we eat over maintenance, we gain weight (due to the surplus/extra energy) and if we eat under maintenance, we lose weight (our body makes up the deficit with body fat).
Once you know what your daily maintenance level is, you can calculate where to start depending on whether you want to gain muscle or lose weight. For gaining muscle, a 300 calorie surplus is recommended (300 calories above your daily maintenance). For weight loss, a 500 calorie deficit is recommended (500 calories under your daily maintenance).
Note: the calculator is a great place to start, but bear in mind that it's only an estimation based on your statistics. Even two people with the same stats can have different maintenance calorie levels - this is because our metabolism adapts to how many calories we consume. As such, your daily maintenance level is always adapting and will change over time.
Best practice is to choose either maintenance, a surplus or a deficit, depending on your goal. Eat at the recommended level of daily calories for a week or two and see what happens. If your body weight stays the same, then you are at maintenance. If your weight goes up, then you are in a surplus. If your weight goes down, then you are in a deficit. Use that information to adjust accordingly for your current goal!