What is TDEE?

What is TDEE?

I use the term “TDEE” quite frequently when answering Q&A’s on my story.

TDEE = Total Daily Energy Expenditure.

  • This is the total number of calories (energy) you burn in a day.


What makes up your TDEE?

  • Non-exercise activity: such as daily steps, doing laundry, walking up and down the stairs, playing with your kids, etc.
  • Exercise activity: lifting, spin class, running, etc.
  • Your resting metabolic rate: the calories you burn simply by existing, such as breathing and blinking.
  • The thermic effect of food: the increase in metabolic rate that occurs after ingestion of food. When you eat food, your body expends a small amount of energy to digest, absorb, and store the food you've eaten


So why does TDEE matter?

  • It is important to be mindful of your TDEE because it is a helpful tool to get you on the path to your fitness goals


Total daily energy expenditure varies from person to person, depending on body size, gender, body composition, activity level, and GENETICS. The total energy expenditure for a small, sedentary woman, for example, might be 1800 calories or less per day but the TDEE for a 6’4 college football athlete might be upwards of 3000 calories. This is because he has significantly more muscle mass, a higher daily activity level, and is a larger person.


This means the football athlete can eat 3000 calories per day and maintain weight while the female example eats only 1800 to maintain weight.


To lose weight, your body must use more calories than you eat. That means that you either need to increase your energy expenditure, decrease your calorie intake, or, ideally, do a combination of both to create a calorie deficit.


To gain weight and build muscle, your body must be fueled with calories and energy. This is why in a bulking phase; you increase your calories and decreases your cardio.


“So how do I find my exact TDEE???”

  • You could find an estimate, but you’ll never be EXACT (and that’s okay!)
  • Online calculators are usually not that accurate and neither are fitness trackers/watches

But having a rough estimate and being consistent and mindful with your TDEE will allow you to set your calorie intake to a range that is right for your specific goals.


For example, if you wanted to increase your TDEE be mindful of things such as:

  • daily step count
  • total cardio
  • taking the stairs
  • parking your car in a farther spot
  • walking your dog
  • house cleaning/yard work

Hope this helps!