Accurate TDEE Calculator

Find Your Calorie Intake Based on Energy Expenditure

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPT, BSEngUpdated: April 8, 2024

You know that calories are important for reaching your fitness goals. But how do you know how many calories you should eat for fat loss or muscle gain?

The first step is to determine how many calories you burn in a day, also called TDEE. However, most online calculators use generic formulas that don’t accurately estimate TDEE.

For that reason, I created a more accurate TDEE calculator that considers your unique body type and schedule. This simple tool will tell you precisely how many calories you burn. Try it and see your results!

tdee calculator

What Is TDEE?

Total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is the number of calories burned in a day. It is dictated by your metabolism, physical activity level, and additional exercise.

Most of the calories you burn come from your metabolic rate, which is the energy your body uses for basic functions like breathing and maintaining temperature. This is also called your BMR (basal metabolic rate).

In addition to BMR, you burn calories through regular daily activities like walking and any additional exercise, such as resistance training or cardio. Together, these three parts add up to the total energy you expend in a day.

tdee calculator chart

Why Is TDEE Important?

Think of TDEE as your “diet home base.” Matching your calorie intake to your TDEE can help you avoid dramatic weight gain or loss.

Another name for TDEE is your maintenance calories. At this number, you’re in perfect energy balance, and your weight usually stays the same.

From here, you can easily eat less to create a calorie deficit for weight loss or more to create a calorie surplus to gain muscle. That’s why knowing your TDEE is so important.

TDEE Calculator Calorie Intake

Problems With Other TDEE Calculators

Traditional TDEE calculators use the Harris-Benedict equation developed in 1918. A 1984 revision by Mifflin-St Jeor improved its accuracy but still has limitations.

Conventional TDEE formulas estimate basal metabolic rate using gender, height, weight, and age. However, they fail to account for body composition, a significant factor in BMR.

Additionally, the standard practice is to estimate activity level using a single multiplier based on how often you exercise each week. So you only get one number, which estimates how many calories you burn on average.

Essentially, most TDEE calculators are glorified BMI calculators with a generic activity factor.

What Makes This The Best TDEE Calculator?

I solved the major TDEE calculation problems by deriving new equations based on lean body mass. It’s important to realize that basal metabolic rate accounts for up to 80% of your daily energy expenditure. So it’s really important to calculate this correctly.

More Accurate Basal Metabolic Rate

BMR is directly correlated to lean mass. In other words, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate. That’s why I started with the Katch-Mcardle formula, which accounts for body fat percentage and lean mass when determining BMR.

Your genetics also affect how fast or slow your metabolism burns. So, I added a body type factor to determine your metabolic rate even more accurately.

If you don’t know your exact body composition, that’s okay. My calculator uses an easy slider and infographic to help you determine your body fat percentage. I also provide a body type quiz to help you discern whether you have a fast, slow, or average metabolism.

Adjusts to Your Activity Level

Your activity level isn’t the same every day. So why would you eat the same number of calories every day? That’s what other TDEE calculators would suggest.

To solve this problem, I ask a couple of questions about your level of physical activity. Such as whether you have a desk job or stand on your feet most of the day.

In addition, I determine the total amount of energy you burn during exercise based on the duration and intensity of your workouts so I can provide more accurate results regarding the total calories you burn each day.

With this information, you can see how many calories you burn on workout days and rest days. And you can adjust your daily calorie intake to maintain a deficit or surplus.

tdee calculator calories

How to Use the TDEE Calculator

In this section, I’ll walk you through how to use my total daily energy expenditure calculator.

Step 1: Body Type

  • Enter your current weight using the slider
  • Choose your gender
  • Use the slider to match your approximate body composition to the image below it
  • Choose which best describes your body type (take the quiz if you’re not sure)

Step 2: Activity Level

  • Select your normal activity
  • Select how often you work out
  • Use the slider to indicate how long you work out
  • Choose which describes your type of exercise

Step 3: Preferences

  • Choose what time of day you normally work out
  • Choose your fitness goal

Step 4: Get Your Plan

  • Access your calorie targets and recommended plan

Get Your Custom Meal Plan

Finding your TDEE is an essential first step in reaching your fitness goals. However, your goal probably isn’t to maintain your weight. More likely, you want to lose fat and gain muscle.

With a custom meal plan, you get personalized nutrition based on your body type, activity level, and fitness goal.

tdee calculator diet plan
  • Transform your body with goal-specific calories & macros

  • Easily plan meals with a daily menu built around your schedule

  • Simplify meal prep with delicious recipes formulated to fit your macros

  • Make better food choices with a grocery list right on your phone

  • Get Instant Access to Your Online Dashboard

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