Do I really understand Total Daily Energy Expenditure?

Do i really understand Total Daily Energy Expenditure?

Do I really understand Total Daily Energy Expenditure?

Let us learn one more term often used in relation to weight loss and bodybuilding as promised by me in the last article where i wrote about BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).

What actually basal metabolic rate means?

Jump to this article if you wanna know about BMR in detail as this term shall be a part of this article too…

That said, Total Daily Energy Expenditure has a huge role to play in weight loss and gaining lean muscle mass. Those guys who are missing out on this term are missing a lot more in their workout routine.

I truly believe a person who knows his basics has a much better muscle mind connection than the one who just follows the trainer for sake of workout.

Here is a brief summary of what you will learn by the end of this article-


1. What actually is Total Daily Energy Expenditure 

2. Components of Total Daily Energy Expenditure

3.  Factors Affecting  Total Daily Energy Expenditure

4.How to calculate Total Daily Energy Expenditure

5. My Opinion

Skip where you want just in case you are short of time…



Let us jump quickly to the main topic…



As per the National Center for Biotechnology Information,

“Total daily energy expenditure is composed of the energy costs of the processes for life, of the energy expended in order to digest, absorb and covert food and energy expended during the physical activities.”

Confused a bit…

Don’t worry, in layman language, TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) is the total calories you burn daily in your routine including your body basic functions such as breathing, digestion, etc, and physical activity you perform during the day…

NOTE – TDEE varies hugely from person to person depending upon lots of factors such as age, gender, the lifestyle which we shall discuss later…


TDEE varies from 1600 calories per day for a small, lazy woman to over 3000 calories for muscle athlete. The misbalance between energy intake and TDEE is the root cause of weight gain and weight loss.





If you are not a technical guy or do want to go deeper, you may skip this section.

But I suggest you give it a look as there are lots of fun facts hidden inside these technical terms. Be patient and enjoy…

The TDEE is technically composed of four terms 1. BMR 2. TEF 3. NEAT 4. TEA


Defination of Total daily Energy Expenditure


1. BMR

BMR refers to the Basal Metabolic rate which is the rate at which your body burns the calories for most basic bodily functions such as blood circulation, working of kidneys, lungs, heart, blood circulation, digestion, etc.


BMR varies from 1400 calories for women up to 1800 calories for men on average. Though still varies person to person depending upon genetics, lifestyle and much more…


 2. TEF

TEF refers to the Thermic Effect of Food, as per very well fit,

TEF means the number of calories you burn in chewing and digesting of food.



Thermic Effect of Food generally accounts for 10% of TDEE on average depending upon the proportion of protein, carbohydrate, and fat in your diet.


NOTE – Some people may start eating more as an excuse to increase TEF, but mind it, calories you intake from excess food has a way more adverse effects on your body.


  3. NEAT –

NEAT refers to Non- Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. This actually means the number of calories you burn doing the only household works such as roaming inside the home for minor works, visiting the nearby market, playing with kids BUT NOT EXERCISE…

Personally, this is my favorite way of losing weight, as the kind of changes you make in your lifestyle doesn’t need any extra timeslot like you have to while visiting the gym.

Instead, minor changes such as walking by foot to grocery shop, choosing stairs instead of escalator/lift get deeply embedded into your busy hours as your lifestyle. It is way more practical and sustainable.


NEAT has way more impact on TDEE than TEF and active changes brought in lifestyle may increase NEAT rapidly thereby helping weight loss.


 4. TEA

It refers to the Thermic Effect of Activity. And activity here means the intentional gym or home workout where your prime focus is only training your body parts.



TEA also has a huge impact on TDEE, however, it varies from person to person. For most people doing 9 to 5 office jobs and doing some household works, TEA shall be close to zero.

First Increase NEAT, then focus on improving TEA for accelerating the results for weight loss and getting muscular.


Now you really understand Total Daily Energy Expenditure.

Let us jump to the factors affecting TDEE which you now may already be knowing at this stage.

Here is the Quick Animated Video explaining – Do I really understand Total Daily Energy Expenditure…




TDEE is affected by several factors as under…

1. Your Genetics

Some people are way thinner than others despite taking way more calories. The researchers are still not confirmed why it happens. BMR is affected by this factor.

2. Your Gender

Men have more muscle mass than women. While women have more fat than men. Maintaining muscle mass requires calories to burn for. So men have higher BMR as compared to women.

3. Your age

As your age increases, muscle mass decreases and so is your basal metabolic rate thereby affecting TDEE.

As cited in Wikipedia,

‘BMR typical declines by 1-2% per decade after the age of 20’

4. Your body composition

Fatty people with more fat as compared to muscle have a lesser basal metabolic rate.

5. Your activity Level


As mentioned beforehand, your lifestyle (NEAT), your workout (TEA) also have a major impact on total daily energy expenditure.



For any person, it is just almost impossible to calculate the exact values of TDEE unless you have access to some advanced laboratory with relevant machinery.

Here are some shortcut for calculating the TDEE for quick assessment



Calculate BMR by using the Harris-Benedict formula. Just enter weight, age, height and get approximate BMR values



BMR = 655 + (9.6 × weight in kg) + (1.8 × height in cm) – (4.7 × age in years)



BMR = 66 + (13.7 × weight in kg) + (5 × height in cm) – (6.8 × age in years)

Just enter your details and get the closest possible result for your body type.


NOTE – Here is the link to an online BMR calculator for getting instant results.




Multiply your BMR with the following factors depending upon your activity level as mentioned in the picture below –


Info-graphic showing calculation of Total Daily Energy Expenditure


Here is the link to the TDEE calculator for getting immediate results.



Focus on components of TDEE which are in your control rather than worrying about your genetics, gender, age. Basal Metabolic Rate, Thermic effect of food can’t be varied easily.

But you can control your calorie intake, improve lifestyle and include workouts to increase NEAT and TEA as I explained earlier.

Just create a balance of calorie intake and calories expended around your body parameters for a healthy living.

If the concept of metabolism goes over the roof for you, check out this nicely plated article –  What do you actually mean by metabolism?


How was the article? Do share your thoughts and mail me your doubts.


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