Energy Requirements: Food = Calories = ENERGY

softball player

How many calories do I need?

Calorie needs vary from athlete to athlete and from day to day.  Males may need more calories than women. You may have a higher metabolism and that increases your needs. Calculating a range of calories for yourself can be helpful in meeting your goals.  Caloric needs should be met with high-energy, nutrient-dense foods.  An athlete engaging in high-intensity activity (basketball,swimming, running, etc.) needs 3,000-6000 calories per day to maintain weight.  A simple estimation of calorie, carb and protein needs for an athlete is as follows:


Training Calories(Calories/lb) Carbohydrates(Grams/lb) Proteins(Grams/lb)
Mild 12-14 2.0-3.0 .45
Moderate 15-17 2.0-3.0 .5-.75
Heavy 18-24 3.0-4.5 .65-.8
Very Heavy 24-29 4.5-5.5 .8-.85
Healthy Fats: Balance of energy for all training levels


Want more information? Download WINforum’s Nutrition Fundamentals




A 180 lb male basketball player training (heavy) in pre-season needs how many calories each day?

180 lb x 18 calories/lb = 3240 kcal each day (minimum)

This athlete needs to eat AT LEAST 3240 kcal each day to keep his body weight at 180 lbs.  If he wants to gain more lean muscle mass, he must eat more food (approx. 500 calories extra).  If he wants to lose body fat, he must eat less food (approx. 250-500 calories less).


basketball player