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What is TDEE?

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

TDEE stands for Total Daily Energy Expenditure - the amount of energy you use up in a day as a living, breathing, human being.

This number will be different for everyone, depending on their age, body size, activity levels and of course genetics. Some of these factors you can change, and obviously others you can't!

Our bodies require fuel to do literally EVERYTHING and are constantly doing thousands of things we can't see to keep us alive.

Read on below to find out more about where our energy gets spent and how we can alter our daily expenditure!

There are four different factors used to calculate a persons TDEE:


Below is a more detailed description of what each means!

1. BMR - Basal Metabolic Rate

This is the amount of energy your body needs to keep you alive while at complete rest. Think lying in bed not doing anything all day.

Your body requires energy to be able to perform basic functions to keep you alive - breathing, circulation and producing cells to name a few.

Notice how big this part of the graph is? This is why we need to fuel our bodies appropriately, even if we haven't done a workout or how inactive we feel we've been on any particular day!

The factors that come into play to determine your BMR include your sex, age, weight, body composition, height and genetic factors. Obviously, many of these you have no control over - but some you do and you can use these to manipulate the amount of energy you burn in a day.

Working to alter your body composition is an effective way of doing this. The more muscle on a persons body, the more energy is required to keep that body functioning. You will be burning more energy even while resting!

Strength training is a fantastic way of gaining muscle, which is why it is such an effective tool for weight management (not to mention SO many other benefits including increased bone density and ability to perform day to day tasks!)

2. NEAT - Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis

NEAT is all of the energy you burn in a day just going about your daily life. Getting out of bed, moving around your house, getting ready for work, cooking dinner, fidgeting, walking the dog, doing the groceries.....You get the idea! NEAT is the second biggest component of our daily energy expenditure, and probably the easiest to manipulate. Our bodies require fuel to do literally EVERYTHING!

The more we move, the more energy we use - this is why our NEAT is a great place to start for anyone that is looking to alter their weight.

There are so many ways to do this, an easy one is to simply park a little further away from where you need to go and walking!

3. TEF - Thermic Effect of Food

This is the energy required to break down the food that we eat into nutrients that our bodies can store or use. Our digestive system requires energy too!

Foods high in protein require the most energy to break down - lean meats, eggs, fish, nuts, beans, tofu and dairy are great sources. Prioritising protein throughout your day can alter the amount of energy you burn, therefore increasing your TDEE.

Add to that, protein is required by every cell in our bodies - it's a very important nutrient! (More on protein in a future blog....)

EAT - Exercise Activity Thermogenesis

(Nothing to do with food!)

EAT is our intentional exercise - our gym workouts, runs, swims, bike rides, group classes and team sports. It is often the part that a lot of us consider the most important when trying to manage our body size and weight - but it's actually the smallest component of our total daily energy expenditure!

Of course, that doesn't mean that physical exercise isn't important - we all know that our bodies are made to move! The physical and mental benefits of exercise are well documented. But it is worth remembering that there is much more involved when it comes to manipulating our bodies. Thrashing ourselves in workouts will only lead to burnout, injury and lack of enjoyment.

Ensuring we move daily, eat a nutritious diet that is appropriate for our energy requirements, rest when needed and drink plenty of water will ultimately aid you in becoming the happiest, healthiest version of yourself!

Work out appropriately and focus on the small, more achievable things - consistency is key. Remember, small changes give big rewards over time!

If you are interested in learning more about your body composition and TDEE, why not book in for an Evolt360 Body Scan with us?

Your scan will show you your muscle and fat mass, hydration levels and calculate your TDEE - as well as SO much more!

It's a great tool to find out what is going on within YOUR body.

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