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How to choose your activity level

Setting the right average activity level is important for your daily calorie targets to ensure you are properly fuelled for the level of exercise you perform.

But how do you decide your activity level?

We have used the Harris Benedict formula which categorises activity levels as follows:

  • Sedentary - little or no exercise
  • Lightly active - light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week
  • Moderately active - moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week
  • Very active - very intense exercise/sports 6-7 days a week

When assessing the intensity of exercise, the Harris Benedict formula offers the following explanations:

  • Exercise: 15-30 minutes of elevated heart rate activity.
  • Intense exercise: 45-120 minutes of elevated heart rate activity.
  • Very intense exercise: 2+ hours of elevated heart rate activity.

At Body Smart, we always advise that you underestimate your activity level at first and then adjust accordingly each week as you monitor your progress towards your chosen goals.

If you’re still struggling with choosing the right activity level for you, here are some modern examples we use with our Body Smart clients:

Sedentary Little or no regular exercise

You may have a sedentary desk job where you are sitting for large amounts of time each day. Under 5,000 steps per day puts you in the category of ‘sedentary’.

Lightly active You typically do 1-3 days of light activity or sports each week. You would do less than 30 minutes of moderate exercise like walking and less than 15-20 minutes of vigorous exercise like running each day. Over 5,000 and under 7,500 steps per day puts you in the ‘lightly active’ category.

Moderately Active You may have a more active job and participate in sports 3-5 days per week and average around 50 mins of vigorous activity per day. Your step count will typically be around 7,500 - 10,000 steps per day.

Very Active You are a very active person with a very active physical job or you’re an athlete. You participate in sports/very heavy manual labour 6-7 days per week and average around 2 hours of vigorous activity per day. Your step count will typically be over 12,500 steps per day.

Calorie & Protein Calculator

Calculated using the revised Harris Benedict formula

1. What is your goal?
2. Tell us a bit more about you
Imperial Metric
Female Male
170 cm
100 kg
5 feet 4 inches
170 lb
3. How active are you?
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Your Protein & Calories

Your daily calorie and protein targets are:

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2,018 Calories

2,018g Protein target

Get the FREE ‘How to Track Calories Accurately’ eBook

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