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The Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) calculator estimates your basal metabolic rate.


This term refers to the total energy expended throughout the day factoring in daily activity.

The amount of energy required during rest under moderate conditions when the digestive system is at rest is known as the basal metabolic rate (BMR). It’s the same as calculating how much fuel an idling car uses while stopped. Only essential organs, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, nervous system, intestines, liver, lungs, sex organs, muscles, and skin, will consume energy in this condition.

Upkeep accounts for up to 70% of total energy (calories) spent by most people daily. Physical activity accounts for 20% of expenditure, whereas food digestion, commonly known as thermogenesis, accounts for 10%.

For accurate BMR measurement, a person’s sympathetic nervous system must be inactive; that is, the person must be fully rested.

Basal metabolism accounts for most of a person’s overall caloric requirements. We can calculate the more accurate total daily caloric requirement by multiplying the BMR by a factor of 1.2 to 1.9, depending on activity level.

In most cases, we can calculate BMR using formulas based on statistical data. One of the first equations proposed was the Harris-Benedict Equation. It was updated in 1984 to make it more accurate and used until the Mifflin-St. Jeor Equation was developed in 1990.

Variables Affecting Base Metabolic Rate


The older and leaner a person gets, the lower their BMR or the minimum calorie intake required to keep organs functioning at a certain level.


Genetic traits passed down from past generations affect BMR.

Muscle Mass

Aerobic training such as running or cycling does not affect BMR. However, anaerobic exercise, such as weight lifting, increases BMR by building muscle mass and increasing resting energy expenditure. Greater muscle mass corresponds to higher BMR levels needed to maintain the body at a certain level.


We can increase BMR by eating small meals at frequent intervals. You should also avoid starvation. The smartphone enters power-saving mode when the battery level reaches 5%. Similarly, the human body will sacrifice energy levels, emotions, physical appearance, and mental operations to use the limited caloric energy better. Starvation can lower BMR by as much as 30%.


Ensuring the survival of a viable fetus raises BMR. This explains why pregnant women consume more than usual. Also, based on hormonal changes, menopause can increase or decrease BMR.


To help lose weight, people take certain supplements or medications that increase BMR. One of the most prevalent is caffeine.


The energy needed to maintain homeostatic body temperature increases BMR in colder conditions. Similarly, excessive exterior heat might elevate BMR when the body uses energy to cool internal organs. For every 1.36 degrees Fahrenheit increase in the body’s internal temperature, BMR increases by around 7%.


Aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling, does not affect BMR. But anaerobic exercise, such as weight training, indirectly leads to a higher BMR. The fact is that anaerobic exercise builds muscle mass and thereby increases the body's energy intake at rest. And the higher the percentage of muscle mass in a person's body composition, the higher the BMR.


On average, due to having a higher muscle mass and lower body fat percentage, men typically have a higher BMR compared to women. The exact difference in BMR varies based on individual body composition, age, and other factors.

Health status

Illnesses or wounds can increase your metabolic rate by about 2 times because the body needs more energy to recover when sick.

Macronutrient intake

Protein increases BMR by 20% to 30%, fat increases BMR by 5%, and carbohydrates increase BMR by 5% to 10%.

Metabolism and Basal Metabolism

Basal BMR measures our body's energy expenditure when we have just woken up, have not eaten in the past 12 hours, and our body temperature is at a minimum. Basal metabolism shows how much energy the human body uses to perform basic functions.

Metabolism is a complex process that converts food into energy. This is how our body can function. Our energy expenditures are related to four types of metabolism:

  1. Resting or basal metabolism. This process maintains total life activity at rest and expends between 50%-75% of total energy.

  2. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). It involves simple body movements such as walking, standing, or changing your posture. Even with this activity, the energy expenditure of the body is substantial. And in some cases, they may be equal to intense physical activity.

  3. Food thermogenesis or TEF (thermic effect of food). This includes the processing and digestion of food. Food thermogenesis accounts for about 10% of the body's total energy expenditures.

  4. Thermogenesis from vigorous exercise or TEE (Thermic effect of exercise). This includes energy expenditure from exercise, which is 5%-15% of the body's total energy expenditure.


Basal metabolic rate or BMR (basal metabolic rate) reflects the minimum amount of energy (calories) expended by the human body to sustain itself at rest. Processes involved in metabolism include:

  • blood circulation,

  • respiration,

  • brain activity,

  • protein synthesis,

  • cellular repair and other processes.


BMR is the rate at which your body converts calories into energy to support life at rest. This factor also affects weight gain or loss and determines the rate of aging. Maximum calorie burn is in providing your body with basic functions. And these functions make up the basal metabolism.

It's commonly understood that most adults have a BMR that requires them to consume somewhere between 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day for women and 1,500 to 1,800 for men to maintain physiological functions at rest. It's important to note that these figures are just for BMR and do not include additional calories needed for daily activities and exercise. This is referred to as TDEE and should be the figure that you consider when determining your energy requirments.

The Calculation of Basal Metabolic Rate

Knowing data such as sex, weight, age, and height, we can determine a person's BMR with an 80-85% accuracy. To calculate this, we will need a formula and data:

  • W - body weight,

  • A - age,

  • H - height in centimeters.


To get the data, let's take the most popular and accurate formula for BMR calculation to date, the Mifflin-St. Jeor formula.


It turned out to be the most accurate of all invented to date. And that is why the Mifflin-St. Jeor formula is most often used in BMR calculators.

  • BMR for men = 10W + 6.25H - 5A + 5

  • BMR for women = 10W + 6.25H - 5A - 161


Next, we will need to multiply the resulting baseline metabolic index by the physical activity ratio to get the number of calories required for the day (TDEE). Physical activity is divided into six categories:

  1. Passive activity (complete absence of physical activity or minimal level - BMR × 1.2).

  2. Minimal activity (training 1-3 times weekly - BMR × 1.375).

  3. Light activity (training 4-5 times weekly - BMR × 1.46).

  4. Moderate activity (daily exercise or vigorous exercise 3-4 times a week - BMR × 1.55).

  5. Intense activity (exercising 6-7 times a week - BMR × 1.725).

  6. Super-intensive activity (high-intensity work, daily and very intense workouts, or professional sports - BMR × 1.9).

The Rules for Weight Management

When you know your TDEE, you understand how many calories you burn during the day. With your TDEE, you can learn how many calories you need to take to gain muscle mass, lose weight, or maintain weight.


Suppose you know how many calories you are getting and burning. In that case, it will be easier for you to reach an optimal and healthy weight.

If the basal metabolism is high and a person is on a low-calorie diet and still leads at least a relatively active lifestyle, exhaustion, eating disorders, and all kinds of diseases related to metabolic disorders may appear. The body will try with all its might not to give up a single calorie, putting everything into action - first and foremost, to serve vital processes.

A low-calorie diet and skipping meals will not give you the desired result. This approach to weight loss can lead to health problems. The fact is that the body is prohibitively intelligent and programmed to survive. Severe caloric restriction is guaranteed to make the body feel that hunger is coming.

The body will adapt to the limited caloric intake and use less energy to accomplish the same tasks. You will end up with a disturbed metabolism, low stamina, and frequent and rapid fatigue. The worst consequence can be malfunctions of vital systems or the development of chronic diseases.

Maybe the situation is the opposite: a person consumes significantly more calories than required. Then it can lead them not only to obesity but also to more dangerous disorders - thyroid disease or metabolic syndrome.

It is not recommended that women eat less than 1,200 kcal per day and men less than 1,800 kcal per day. Rather than starving yourself, balance your diet without any major hikes.

The easiest way to maintain a healthy weight is to balance your calories consumed and your food intake carefully.

To increase your weight, you must increase your calorie intake. If you want to gain weight slowly and steadily, increase your calorie intake by 300 - 500 kilocalories daily. If you're going to gain weight faster, increase your daily calorie intake by 700 - 1,000 kilocalories.


In the literature on metabolism, you may come across a term such as RMR (Resting metabolic rate), which means resting metabolic rate.

Resting metabolic rate is the amount of energy your body needs to function at rest. In addition to the body's basic functions, RMR considers additional daily activities that do not require much effort. Such activities include:

  • eating,

  • walking for short periods of time,

  • using to the bathroom,

  • consuming caffeine,

  • sweating,

  • shivering

RMR can be measured by equations or by laboratory tests. The lab test will require the subject to get a good night's sleep, restrict food intake, and restrict exercise.

The Similarities between RMR and BMR

BMR and RMR indicate the number of calories your body burns when a person is not exercising. This is often about the same number for each person.

The Differences between BMR and RMR

RMR already considers the minimum activity a person engages in during the day. The BMR does not take such activity into account. But that's why BMR allows you more flexibility in calculating the calories you need.

The BMR is usually slightly lower than the RMR precisely because the BMR doesn't take activity metrics into account. And RMR takes into account the light activity during the day.

BMR allows you to use ratios that indicate the type of physical activity during the day. Having a baseline metabolic rate, you can choose the activity level you do and calculate the amount of calories you need. To do this, you must multiply your BMR by the coefficient corresponding to one of the six physical activity levels.

In Summary

An average individual consuming a standard diet will have expected TDEE numbers. However, some aspects that specifically affect TDEE are still not sufficiently explained. Even if scientists control all known metabolic rate factors in studies, that still leaves 26% of the unknown differences between the TDEE of different people.

As a result, even the most exact TDEE estimates performed by professionals will not be entirely accurate in their readings. Not all functions of the human body are yet well understood, so the calculation of total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) derived from the BMR estimate is only an estimate.

To achieve any wellness or fitness aim, TDEE can help establish the groundwork, but it doesn’t have much to give beyond that.

Keeping a daily log of exercise, food intake, and so on can assist in tracing the aspects that contribute to any given outcome and help you discover what works and what needs improvement.

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