How to Calculate Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure and Activity Level

How to Calculate Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure and Activity Level

We gain weight and we lose weight. What gives? How many calories should I eat? How many calories should males eat? How many calories should should females eat? All very common questions.

Well, I’m sure you’ve heard of metabolism, or the process in which we breakdown foods for energy. Well, let’s look at basics and your activity level.

First, you need to know what a Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is. BMR is simply the amount of energy you expend per day. Whether you’re standing, sitting, sleeping, or farting, you’re using energy because something is going on in your body. This will vary from person to person, but calculators do a relatively decent job in estimating your BMR. Key factors that are calculated into BMR are: sex, height, weight, and body composition (fat vs muscle).

Calculating your correct activity can seem like a scary task. Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is a quotient of your activity modifier and your BMR.

As a result, how many calories you are recommended to consume will vary depending on what you do.

Activity Level


Each of these levels can have a huge impact on your calorie recommendations.

There are many different dieticians and nutritionists that attest that one way to calculate it is better than the other, but I like to stick with the basic Harris-Benedict equation. If you want to get mathematical, here are the equations on how they are calculated:

  • Male (metric): TDEE = AL x ((13.75 x WKG) + (5 x HC) – (6.76 x age) + 66)
  • Male (imperial): TDEE = AL x ((6.25 x WP) + (12.7 x HI) – (6.76 x age) + 66)
  • Female (metric): TDEE = AL x ((9.56 x WKG) + (1.85 x HC) – 4.68 x age) + 655)
  • Female (imperial): TDEE = AL x ((4.35 x WP) + (4.7 x HI) – 4.68 x age) + 655)

AL = Activity Level
TDEE = Total Daily Energy Expenditure
HC = Height in Centimeters
HI = Height in Inches
WKG = Weight in Kilograms
WP = Weight in Pounds

and “Activity Level” has the following multipliers

“Sedentary” = 1.2
“Lightly Active” = 1.375
“Moderately Active” = 1.55
“Very Active” = 1.725
“Extremely Active” = 1.9

Photo Credit: moonjazz via Compfight cc

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