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Calculating Total Energy Expenditure (TEE)

How do I know how much fuel I’m burning throughout the day?  The answer is simple: Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or TEE.  Your TEE is the culmination of many factors including sex, age, genetics, hormones, body composition, body surface area, and the endocrine system all multiplied by an activity factor.  Your activity factor is simply a numeric value that represents how active you are.  It includes exercise and daily activities like profession.  Here’s how to figure out your TEE.  (BEWARE!  math involved)


  1. Body weight in pounds X 10 = Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

  2. RMR X activity factor = TEE

    1. Very Light. 1.2-1.3  Seated most of the day or light activity (cooking, driving, sitting in office)  Value of

    2. Low Active. 1.5-1.6  Sedentary lifestyle but with added moderate activity for 30 minutes.  Most office workers with a planned routine fall into this category.

    3. Active.  1.6-1.7  Low lifestyle, but with added activity 3 hour bike ride, or brisk walk at 4.5 MPH.

    4. Heavy.  1.9-2.1  Planned vigorous activities, physical labor, full time athletes, hard labor professions.


    Example: 180 pound man who is an endurance athlete or has a physically demanding job.

  • Step 1. 180 x 10 = 1800 RMR

  • Step 2. 1800 (RMR) x 2.1 (activity factor) = 3780 calories per day (TEE).  

Note: It’s extremely important to objectively look at your own activity level.  We as people tend to think that we are more active than we are.  If you work in an office and work out 2 time a week, you are NOT “active”!  Between “very light” and “Low active” is a reasonable spot for someone who exercises lightly 2 times per week.  Don’t be afraid to give yourself a numeric value that lies in-between these categories, such as a 1.4 instead of 1.3 or 1.5.  

    So now you know how to find out your daily total expenditure (TEE).  This is a general snapshot and it subject to change based on health, activity, and a multitude of internal and external factors.  It WILL change throughout life, and that’s ok!  

I’ll show you how to get those calories next week.  Stay tuned!