How to calculate total energy expenditures

Written by kimberly dedes
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How to calculate total energy expenditures
The amount of daily activity you participate in and your resting metabolic rate determine your total energy expenditure. (Derek E. Rothchild/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Energy expenditure is the amount of energy (calories) your body uses. Gender, age, height and weight all factor into determining energy expenditure. Knowing your total daily energy expenditure (TEE) is helpful when attempting to lose or gain weight, or when you are actively working to maintain your current weight.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Scale
  • Calculator

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  1. 1

    Know your height. Measure yourself without your shoes while you're standing tall. Standing against a wall can help ensure you obtain an accurate measurement. Record this number.

  2. 2

    Determine your true weight. Weigh yourself in the morning before eating breakfast but after using the rest room. Since weight fluctuates, weighing yourself at the same time daily can provide a more accurate representation of your median weight. Record this number.

  3. 3

    Calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This rate determines how many calories your body needs to function when resting. Your BMR still allows energy for breathing, digestion and other bodily functions. The formula for calculation of this number is: BMI = (Weight in Pounds / ( Height in inches x Height in inches ) ) x 703. You can also enter your information into a calculator provided by a website like

  4. 4

    Multiply your BMR by an activity level multiplier to find your TEE. The little or no exercise multiplier is 1.2. The light-exercise multiplier is 1.375. For moderate exercise, multiply your BMR by 1.55. If involved in heavy exercise, multiply your BMR by 1.725. For those involved in very heavy exercise, such as training multiple times a day, the multiplier is 1.9. Visit a website like or and enter your information into a calculator to obtain your TEE.

  5. 5

    Compare that number with the amount of food you eat daily to determine if your eating habits match your goals. Change the number of calories you're eating based on whether you want to gain or lose weight.

Tips and warnings

  • The total energy expenditure will vary daily based on daily activities. When figuring your TEE, take into account different activities on different days.

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