DRI Calculator & nutritional consumption questions

First, let me say that I am new to Trainer Road. I have always been “fit” but have not pursued any structured training until the last few months. That being said I signed up at my local YMCA two months ago and part of the perks were three sessions with a personal trainer. A long side the personalized training plan he also incorporated diet and nutritional information. As part of that he suggested that I check out the DRI Calculator to get my nutrition on track.


I created a spreadsheet to track my nutrition intake and after a few weeks found that I was WAY below what I should have been at according to the DRI calc.

For my body composition at a “very active” level the DRI calculator prescribes per day - 3,564 calories 400-579g of carbs, 38g fiber, 61g protein, and 79-139g fat. Most of this is hard for me to attain with my current diet (the fat I am spot on with; while protein is double or even triple the max. The rest (calories, carbs, and fiber I am getting half or less of).
Before I looked at the DRI calculator I was consuming much less than the prescribed daily nutrition (calories, carbs, & fiber wise). With the old diet I was happy with my weight loss and body/muscle tone I was experiencing in conjunction with my more structured training plans.

So… this is my question: I cycle 4-7 hours a week and spend 2-3 hours at the gym strength training. When I am not training I am a stay at home dad with a toddler. Would this constitute a “very active” level and validate the above consumption? Or should I shoot for a lower nutrition intake?
I feel like I have hit a wall so to speak, which is why I am asking about nutrition. FYI - some, or maybe all, of my lack of progress might be related to riding 100% outdoors vs. riding indoors on a trainer. I am still shopping for an indoor smart trainer but hope to have one by the end of the month when the days get too short to ride outside… Anyways, thank you in advance for any responses. I do appreciate the guidance. As I said I am pretty new to all this.


In my mind “very active” is reserved for the absolute most active people—the ones who live in the gym and work in a very active environment. I would keep it simple and just choose “active.”

That said, I’ve never heard of the DRI calculator before. I find its results fascinating, because it has me at 2700 calories per day with a significant boost in carbs and fat, but it nearly cuts my protein intake in half. I plan on doing more research on this, thanks for sharing.


I agree with Summerson, Very Active is probably an overestimation judging by your activity levels described in original post.

At the end of the day, try playing around with activity level categories over a period of time to find a consumption level that works for you to achieve the goal you’re going for. There is a process of trial and error to this approach of caloric/macro estimation


Thank you for the feedback. I switched to active and feel a lot less bloated already. 3,600 calories is a lot of food!! :rofl::rofl:

Blockquote In my mind “very active” is reserved for the absolute most active people—the ones who live in the gym and work in a very active environment. I would keep it simple and just choose “active.”

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Wow…that is about 500 more calories a day than I eat now, about 50 grams more carbs, half the protein. I’m on the low end on the fats. But like all government guidelines you should probably take it with a grain of salt…you dont know what research this is even based on.

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My thoughts exactly. I was curious if it matched with other nutrition guidelines out there. Or perhaps I was just drastically under fueling myself (before DRI I was consuming enough foods for sedentary/low active…)