TDEE: Total Daily Energy Expenditure Calculator
If you’re looking to lose weight, build muscle, maintain your current body composition, or in any other way manipulate your physiology through diet, you need to know your TDEE: total daily energy expenditure. It represents the exact number of calories your body burns on any given day.
In order to burn fat, you need to eat fewer calories than your TDEE dictates; in order to gain weight, you need to eat more calories than your TDEE dictates; in order to maintain your current weight, you need to eat exactly the amount of calories that your TDEE dictates. It really is this simple, at least as a baseline in how to manipulate your weight.
This is why, when working out your daily calorie count and macronutrient breakdown, TDEE is vital.
How to calculate your TDEE
Luckily, it’s quite easy to work out at least an approximation of your TDEE. This can be done with a simple TDEE calculator. TDEE is based on a simple enough formula. Just enter your details, select your goals and find out what you need to be taking in every day.
Your TDEE represents the interplay of a few different values.
Your BMR (basal metabolic rate) is a big part- so much so that many people skip TDEE and go straight for BMR, though this will lead to a rougher approximation of how much you should be eating and will ultimately be less efficient.
In addition, it takes into account non-exercise activity thermogenesis- NEAT. This is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating, or sports-like exercise.
Finally, we have TEF- the thermal effect of food. This is the energy required for digestion, absorption, and disposal of ingested nutrients. Its magnitude depends on the composition of the food consumed.
Adding these into the equation, accounting for them properly, gives us the precise number of calories an individual will need to eat on any given day, as a baseline.
How to use TDEE
As mentioned above, if you want to run any kind of body-recomposition protocol (losing or gaining body fat, losing or gaining muscle, or a mixture thereof) you need to know your TDEE. Once you have it, weight loss/gain becomes a simple matter of arithmetic.
Three rules apply for bodyweight manipulation surrounding TDEE:
- If you want to gain weight, you need to eat more calories than demanded by your TDEE
- If you want to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than demanded by your TDEE
- If you want to maintain your current weight, you need to eat the exact calories demanded by your TDEE
Try working with daily increments of 500 calories. If you want to lose or gain 1lb/0.5kg per week, subtracting or adding 500 calories to your daily TDEE respectively will let you achieve this (so 3500 calories/week, spread evenly over 7 days). If you want to lose or gain 2lb/1kg per week, this would be 1000 calories, either way.
Any more than this is quite drastic and should only be considered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider.