The Importance of BMR and TDEE Values

The worst thing that a beginner can do when they are just getting to grips with the diet and exercise world is overwhelm themselves with specialist terminology. After all, these terms sound like the real-deal but they can often be confusing and misleading when they aren’t defined properly. Here at The Healthy Living and Fitness, we’ve decided to go over two acronyms: BMR and TDEE, and explain why they are so important in fitness…

The body is a complex machine that requires sustenance for even the most basic of tasks like breathing, processing nutrients, circulating blood and producing cells. We obtain this energy from the food that we eat and everybody has a minimum calorie requirement – known as a BMR – that dictates the amount of calories required to carry out these basic functions and sustain life when you are at rest. Effectively, this is the amount of calories required to keep you alive if you laid in bed for an entire day and didn’t move. After all, even the smallest movements burn energy. BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate and can be calculated by plugging your height, weight, age and gender into an equation. As the minimum amount of calories your body needs, it is pretty safe to assume that you should never eat below this value when trying to lose weight as you may find that your body simply begins to burn muscle rather than fat because it is easier to break down.

Once you have obtained your BMR value, you can then start to look at your TDEE – which stands for Total Daily Energy Expenditure – and take your activity level into consideration. The biggest mistake that you can make when exercising for weight loss is not consuming enough calories to sustain the activity and this is why a lot of people pass out during an intense workout. Your TDEE is the total number of calories that your body requires on any given day to sustain life and give you the energy to go to work, exercise and complete simple tasks like eating and watching TV. Simply times your BMR by the following values depending on your activity level to find your TDEE:

  • Sedentary: BMR x 1.2
  • Lightly Active: BMR x 1.4
  • Moderately Active: BMR x 1.6
  • Heavily Active: BMR x 1.8
  • Athlete: BMR x 2

It is this figure that you make a subtraction from in order to create a calorie deficit, however your TDEE is merely a guideline and can fluctuate overtime. Plus, some online calculators may use different figures. Remember to accurately and honestly take your activity level into consideration in order to avoid eating a calorie surplus instead.

Weight loss is a process affected by energy intake and expenditure, which simply means that consuming fewer calories than your body burns in a given day will ultimately force it to resort to fat stores for the remaining energy that it requires. With this said, it is important to eat a varied and balanced diet and enough calories to promote a healthy lifestyle when you are reducing your calorie intake in order to encourage weight loss.