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How to calculate your BMR and TDEE

When it comes to losing weight, beginners can do it without too much effort. A little healthy eating here, a little exercise there, and the pounds fall off.

Once you get further into your training, however, those initial muscle gains and fat losses slow down.

Suddenly, jogging and eating salmon doesn’t quite cut it – you need to get technical, and plan your diet using your BMR vs TDEE.

In this article, we’ll take a look at defining TDEE vs BMR, and we’ll show you how you can calculate both of these values – before using them to figure out what goals you need to be hitting to achieve either muscle growth or fat loss.

What is BMR?

BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate. This refers to the energy used by your body simply by being alive, i.e. the number of calories you burn over 24 hours if you do nothing but lie in bed.

Your BMR, therefore, relates to the minimum amount of calories your body can operate on per day.

What is TDEE?

The TDEE definition is ‘Total Daily Energy Expenditure’. This, unsurprisingly, is the total number of calories your body needs to go about your daily business.

Whether that’s going to work, to the gym, or going shopping, etc. Calculating this can help you with weight gain and weight loss (depending, of course, on which one you want to achieve).

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For women, they say the necessary TDEE is somewhere in the vicinity of 2000 calories per day, while for men it’s said to be 2500.

This is a common myth; the reality is that there’s no one number that fits everybody. We’re all different, and factors such as age, height, weight, and training level can all impact your TDEE.

Therefore although there’s an easily definable TDEE meaning, it’s a little trickier to calculate it.

How to calculate your BMR

Calculating your BMR shows you how many calories per day you have to consume to keep your body’s basic functions running.

You’ll need to know your weight in kilos and your height in centimetres before you begin. Then, use one of the following formulas, depending on your gender.

Women: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) – 161

Men: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5

How to calculate your TDEE

You can’t work out your TDEE until you have your BMR calculated using the formula above. Once you have your BMR, you need to assess your level of activity on any given day.

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In order to get an accurate calculation, try to be as honest as possible about how much exercise you’re getting and how much work you’re putting in.

The amount of activity you’re getting relates to a number, known as your PAL (Physical Activity Level) Value.

Level of Activity Average PAL Value
Sedentary or light activity lifestyle 1.5
Active or moderately active lifestyle 1.8
Vigorous or vigorously active lifestyle 2.2

Once you have decided which one is right for you, to work out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, you must simply multiply your BMR by your PAL Value. Easy!

Sedentary or light activity lifestyle

This would be you if you worked at a desk all day, didn’t take regular walks, didn’t play a sport, and spent the majority of each day seated instead of upright and moving around.

Active or moderately active lifestyle

This includes people who may have active jobs such as labourers, construction workers, or farm work. This could also refer to you if you have a job at a desk or similar, yet work out, go for regular long walks, or play a sport in your spare time.

Vigorous or vigorously active lifestyle

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A vigorous lifestyle refers to the lifestyle of somebody either in intense agricultural work, the armed forces, or a professional athlete. This is a very high level of activity every day, which would require a very large intake of calories in order to support it.

Also Read: How to cut and keep your muscle

When you have multiplied your BMR by your PAL Value, you will have your TDEE. This is the overall number of calories that you must eat every day to stay at your current weight, neither losing weight nor gaining fat.

How to lose weight with your BMR vs TDEE

Once you’ve got your TDEE calculated, if you want to lose weight it’s a simple matter of subtracting 500 calories from your recommended daily amount.

This is a safe amount of calories to cut, and should result in you losing roughly one pound of fat per week (3500 calories equates to a pound of fat). This isn’t 100% accurate of course, because muscle mass will also be used as energy as well, however, it gives you a rough idea of what to aim for.

To minimise the muscle you lose while you’re in a caloric deficit (the technical term for consuming a number of calories below your TDEE), you need to make sure you’re consuming plenty of dietary protein, as well as weight training.

This will promote muscle growth, and reduce the rate at which your muscles deteriorate in a caloric deficit.

How to gain weight with your TDEE vs BMR

Bodybuilder Is Working On His Chest With Cable Crossover In Gym. Smoke on background

If you want to put on muscle, you need to be eating above your TDEE. Anywhere between 250 calories and 500 extra calories should do the trick.

In addition, make sure you’re eating a protein-rich diet, and weight training with heavy weights. Measure your progress regularly, and if you’re not seeing the gains you’d hoped for, up your calorie intake incrementally.

In terms of gaining muscle while losing fat, it’s not impossible, but usually, that’s an area beginners have more luck in, as it gets increasingly difficult as you progress.

Often, it’s more effective to simply focus on one target at a time.

You’ve got this, guys.

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The Brutal Force Team

The Brutal Force Team

We research and write articles about health, fitness and dieting. Each of our articles includes sources from scientific studies where possible.

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The Brutal Force Team

The Brutal Force Team

We research and write articles about health, fitness and dieting. Each of our articles includes sources from scientific studies where possible.