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TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure)

Updated: Apr 19

What is TDEE?

Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is an estimation of how many calories you burn per day when exercise is taken into account. It is calculated by first figuring out your Basal Metabolic Rate, then multiplying that value by an activity multiplier. Your TDEE is how many calories you expend every day. If you want to lose fat, try to eat about 15-20 percent less than you burn.

Factors that determine how many calories you burn in a day, or your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure)

How fast is your metabolism? How many calories do you burn when you exercise? How active are you in your daily life? These are all common things I ask new clients to help me determine the true calories burned a day. Unfortunately most people have the misconceptions that they have slow metabolism and why they can't lose weight. Or that they can exercise a lot to increase their daily total. In fact, there are more than just those two factors that determine the number calories burned. I’ve helped thousands of clients lose weight and get healthy, and TDEE is just one of many factors I consider when building a specific strategy for your goals.

  1. NEAT-non exercise activity thermogenesis - Outside of resting metabolic rate, This is where most people burn the most amount of calories in a day. As the name indicates, these are calories you burn through any activities that aren't direct exercise. Some examples are walking around at work, doing chores, standing at work instead of sitting, and just moving around more in general throughout the day. The more you can keep moving at even a minimal pace in your daily life the more calories you will burn every day.

  2. Resting metabolic rate - These are calories burned by your body just to maintain homeostasis and normal bodily functions like respiratory rate, circulating blood, and building cells. 60-75% of your daily calories burned come from here.

  3. Calories burned from exercise - The number here will vary depending on the intensity and duration of your exercise. Typically 15-30% of the daily calories burned.

  4. Thermic effect of food - Your body Burns calories to chew, digest, and store food. so basically your body has to burn calories to eat! This is one of the main reasons I emphasize to people that they need to be eating 4 to 5 small meals a day. Protein, carbs and fat All burn different amounts of calories. But proteins take the edge for more calories burned to be consumed. The Thermal effect of food accounts for 10% of your daily calories burned.

Photo of a diet plan book and a large salad

How to Increase Your Daily Metabolism

Your TDEE is often referred to as your daily metabolism - although these two things are pretty different! Regardless, when someone speaks about increasing or decreasing their metabolism, they are typically referring to increasing or decreasing the number of calories their body burns and uses each day.

Unfortunately, there is no special pill, superfood, or supplement that can do this. Because your BMR and daily movement make up so much of your TDEE there are really only two ways to change your TDEE - change your weight or exercise more. In other words, gaining muscle and working out more often mean you get to eat more calories and maintain your weight!

Calculate your TDEE

Although this TDEE calculator is a great tool, it's not perfect. Keep in mind this is just an estimate. Furthermore, many of us overestimate, underestimate, or flat-out lie about how much we weigh or exercise. Even if you were honest with the calculator, it doesn't mean the number will be 100 percent accurate. Whatever number the TDEE calculator gave to you is a starting point—not a law for you to abide for the rest of your life.

Once you've established your daily calorie intake, I suggest initially tracking your weight on a weekly basis. This will help determine if you need to adjust your calorie intake to optimize your fat-loss goals.

Find the Right Metabolism Balance with Revive Fitness

Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your weight, your energy expenditure is the ultimate regulator, and finding the right balance is key. Not every day will be perfect, but matching your energy intake to your energy expenditure over time and on average will help you maintain a healthy weight long-term.

If you need to change your weight to improve your health, modify your food intake, and TDEE together to improve your body composition while feeling your best. Contact Revive Fitness if you need help calculating your TDEE.


Article Author: Dwight Wilson

Dwight has over 20 years of experience and is an NSCA-certified trainer specializing in weight loss and enjoys bodybuilding style training. Owner of Revive Fitness, Dwight educates his clients in the areas of strength training, cardiovascular endurance, and proper nutrition.

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