How do you calculate energy expenditure?

By Patrick Banks

Posted 2 years agoHEALTH

There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to lose weight. It feels like you’re doing everything right, but the scale just won’t budge. 

But before we proceed to the solution, let’s make sure you’re familiar with the energy expenditure of your body so that you can include diet and exercise easily. If you don’t know what it is, using an easy TDEE  calculator will solve your many questions!

The good news is that calculating your TDEE is simple—and there are tons of different calculators online that will tell you what it should be based on age, gender and activity leve

In this article we’ll explain how to calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate) so you can better understand how you calculate energy expenditure!

What is TDEE?

A person’s Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is a measurement of how many calories are burned per day while the body is at rest.

It’s calculated by finding your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and multiplying it by your activity level.

BMI is a measurement of weight in relation to height that applies to adult men and women. A BMI between 18.5-24.9 is considered normal; 25-29.9 is overweight; 30 or higher indicates obesity (also known as being “30+”).

How to calculate TDEE of a person?

TDEE is calculated by finding your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and multiplying it by your activity level.

In order to quickly and easily calculate your TDEE, you’ll first need to determine your BMR. The easiest way to do this is by going through the “Harris-Benedict” formula:

  • Male BMR = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kilograms) + (5 x height in centimeters) – (6.8 x age)
  • Female BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kilograms) + (1.8 x height in centimeters) – (4.7 x age)

Once you’ve determined your basal metabolic rate, multiply it by the appropriate activity factor for your lifestyle: Sedentary = 1; Lightly active = 1½; Moderately active = 2½; Very active = 3¼; Extremely active = 4 or more [Source: Physical Activity and Controlling Weight]. 

Now that we have our total daily energy expenditure, we can now figure out how many calories are burned from each activity type such as walking at a brisk pace for an hour and running for one hour at 5 miles per hour or swimming laps for 40 minutes with good technique and speed training intensity levels.

What is BMR and how do you calculate it?

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of energy, or calories, that your body burns while at rest. This can also be referred to as your resting metabolic rate (RMR)

Your BMR basically represents how many calories you need to stay alive—it’s how long you can go without eating before you die.

For example: If you eat a pound of food and my BMR is 1,000 calories per day, then in theory you could live for 30 days without eating anything else because it would take 30 days for you to burn through 1,000 extra calories above your daily intake—or you could starve yourself to death in just 3 days if your BMR was only 500 calories per day!

Formula to calculate BMR for men:

BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in kg) + (12.7 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age)

So, for a man who is 70 years old, weighs 75 kg and is 1.75 meters tall: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x 75) + (12.7 x 175) – (6.8 x 70). The result is 1,216 calories per day or 2,092 calories per week or 864,000 calories per year.

Formula to calculate BMR for women:

The formula to calculate your BMR is:

BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years).

 For example, a 30-year-old woman who is 5’4″ and weighs 130 pounds will have an approximate BMR of 1,528 calories per day. This means that if she wants to lose weight, she will need to eat at least 1,528 fewer calories each day than her body burns off just maintaining itself! That’s easier said than done!

You can use basic math to calculate your TDEE

The second method for calculating your TDEE is to use the following equation:

TDEE = BMR x activity level

This equation uses your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and multiplies it by your activity level. 

The higher your activity level is, the more energy your body will need in order to sustain itself at this higher level of output. 

Such as, if you weigh 140 pounds and do 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day on top of sitting around doing nothing all day long then we would say that you have an average daily physical activity level (or sedentary lifestyle). 

In order for us to calculate how many calories are needed each day for someone like this we simply multiply their BMR by their daily physical activity: 140 pounds x 1821 kcals/pound = 28616 kcals/day (1821 kcal) + 30 minutes moderate exercise = 28646 total daily caloric expenditure.


Now that you know how to calculate your TDEE, you can begin to make better decisions about your health and fitness. It’s important to understand that the numbers in these equations are estimates based on averages. It’s possible for them to be inaccurate due to differences in body composition or genetics, so always take into account what works best for you!

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About the author Patrick Banks

Patrick is a Berlin-based dating advisor, motivational speaker, a huge fitness and vegan diet enthusiast and the main editor at Wingman Magazine, specialised in men's health. His ultimate goal is to share with men around the world his passion for self-development and to help them to become the greatest version of themselves. He believes a healthy body and successful social interactions are two main keys to happiness.