TDEE stands for Total Daily Energy Expenditure. It is the total amount of energy (calories) you expend in one day. TDEE calculator is an excellent tool that helps measure our daily calorie needs, so we can customize our diet and workout plan to crush desired goals.
What is TDEE?
TDEE, or total daily energy expenditure, is the total number of calories you burn in a day. It takes into account your resting metabolic rate (RMR), physical activity, and the thermic effect of food (TEF).
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
BMR is the number of calories that the body uses at complete rest. In other words, it’s the minimum number of energy needed to keep a person alive through pumping blood, breathing, fueling the brain, and maintaining organ function. BMR accounts for around 60-75% of TDEE.
Physical Activity (NEAT & EAT)
Energy expenditure from physical activity may be further divided into two categories:
- Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT): The amount of energy you expend in daily activities outside of structured exercise (e.g., household chores, walking your dog).
- Exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT): The amount of energy you burn through structured exercise (e.g., cycling, weightlifting).
EAT, and NEAT make up about 15-30% of TDEE. However, it may depend on whether the person has a very active or sedentary job and how intense or long he/she is training.
Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)
TEF is the energy your body uses to digest, absorb, and metabolize the food you eat. It’s about 7-10% of your TDEE.
Remember, the TDEE may vary from person to person as it depends on various factors, including a person’s age, gender, height, weight, and activity level.
TDEE Calculator Formulas
TDEE is calculated through the factors described above. You need to first calculate your BMR and then multiply it based on your activity level.
There’re several formulas used to calculate BMR. Some of the more commonly used equations are:
- Mifflin St-Jeor equation,
- Harris-Benedict equation, and
- Katch-McArdle equation.
Our (CrazyAthlete.com’s) calculator uses the Mifflin St. Jeor formula, which is considered to be the “gold standard” of calorie calculators by most nutritionists and dieticians.
Once you’ve calculated your BMR, it will be multiplied based on your activity level to measure your TDEE. Continue reading to learn how to calculate it manually.
How to Calculate TDEE Manually?
To calculate TDEE, you need to multiply your BMR based on your activity level.
- TDEE = BMR x Activity Level
You can use CrazyAthlete.com’s BMR calculator or the following (Mifflin-St Jeor’s) formula to calculate your BMR:
- Men: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) + 5
- Women: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) – 161
The activity level multiplier is basically used to calculate additional calories your body needs to support physical activity. Here’s the activity level multiplier:
- Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
- Lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): BMR x 1.375
- Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): BMR x 1.55
- Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week): BMR x 1.725
- Extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training): BMR x 1.9
For example, if a 25-year-old woman weighs 60 kg, is 5’5″ tall, and is moderately active (exercising 3-5 days per week), her TDEE would be calculated as follows:
BMR = (10 x 60) + (6.25 x 152.4) – (5 x 25) – 161 = 1267 calories/day
TDEE = BMR x Activity Level = 1267 x 1.55 = 1964 calories/day
This means in order to maintain her current body weight, this woman needs to consume approximately 1964 calories per day.
How to Use TDEE to Lose Weight?
Fat loss requires a net deficit in caloric intake without losing lean body mass.
You can achieve caloric deficit through either a decrease in energy intake, an increase in energy expenditure, or a combination of both (which may be more manageable and sustainable for most people).
Once you’ve calculated your TDEE, you need to decrease caloric intake to lose weight.
A moderate caloric reduction (e.g., 500 caloric deficit per day) may be more sustainable and help minimize the loss of lean mass while also maintaining adequate caloric intake to fuel training.
Remember, drastically decreasing caloric intake is not advisable because it can lead to the risks of electrolyte imbalances, inadequate nutrient intake (lack of vitamins and minerals), and the loss of lean muscle mass.
So, consuming about 500 calories less per day than your TDEE is a healthy number to lose about 1 pound weight per week.
How to Use TDEE to Gain Muscle?
Building muscle is an anabolic process that requires both the stimulation of muscle protein synthesis and the availability of adequate fuel.
Adequate caloric intake, especially adequate protein intake combined with resistance training, remains essential for increasing muscle mass. 
After calculating TDEE, you need to be in a calorie surplus to support muscle hypertrophy (growth).
Although the specific amount of the surplus will vary from individual to individual, the recommended range for a caloric surplus may be in the realm of 350 to 500 calories per day. 
For example, if your TDEE is 2500 calories per day and your aim should be to consume 2850-3000 calories per day, creating a surplus of 350-500 calories per day, which is necessary for muscle growth.
Whether you want to gain muscle or lose weight, it may take several weeks or months to see significant changes and may depend on various factors such as age, gender, weight, exercise, and nutrition. So, be patient and stay consistent with your diet and training.
1. Longland, T. M., Oikawa, S. Y., Mitchell, C. J., Devries, M. C., & Phillips, S. M. (2016). Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 103(3), 738–746. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/103/3/738/4564609
2. Slater G. J., Dieter, B. P., Marsh, D. J., Helms, E. R., Shaw, G., & Iraki J. (2019). Is an energy surplus required to maximize skeletal muscle hypertrophy associated with resistance training? Frontiers in Nutrition, 6, 131. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2019.00131