All you need to know about total daily energy expenditure

TDEE is an acronym for Total Daily Energy Expenditure – or in other words how much energy you burn on a day-to-day basis. Just like all living creatures, we require energy to move and function.

How do we expend energy?

Like the old saying goes “nothing is for free”. This holds true with our body, where it ‘costs us energy’ to keep us alive! You may have felt these effects before, where if you have accidentally missed a meal, you may have felt lethargic. Luckily for us, our body has a built-in mechanism to make sure we do not just forget to eat and end up starving – we have hunger!

So, where does this energy come from?

The answer is food! The food we eat provides us with fuel for our body to function. More specifically, we derive energy from the carbohydrates, proteins and fats in our food. In our modern world, food is abundant and highly energy dense. This is one of the great marvels of modern civilization however, with all of this food it is now easy to consume too much energy.

How does TDEE affect your goals?

If you’re already at a healthy body weight, and you are looking to stay healthy, you will want to match your energy intake to your TDEE. Or in other words, you will want to eat an amount equal to how much you burn.

If you’re looking to lose body fat, you can do this by reducing your weight. To do this, you will want to consume slightly less energy than your TDEE. This will result in having ‘less energy’ than what your body needs, and your body will burn fat to make up for the difference in energy. This is how fat loss works!

Lastly, if you’re looking to gain weight, in particular, bulk up and build muscle, you may consider eating slightly more than your TDEE. This will give your body slightly more energy than it needs, and provided you are training appropriately, your body will use this additional energy to build some muscle (it will also build more fat!)

With all of this in mind, it is crucial you communicate your goals with a qualified nutritionist or dietitian. Nutrition and TDEE is a complicated area, and it is easier to navigate with expert advice!



PCYC Queensland may periodically share exercise demonstrations, suggested workouts, or nutritional tips on social media. While we encourage challenging yourself to complete workouts, not all exercises are suitable for everyone. These workouts, fitness and nutritional information are provided as a guide only and are not subject to your individual health or activity needs. Please ensure you only perform exercises that are within your current physical activity/exercise level of ability. Before you commence or if you have any concerns regarding any exercise, please consult a qualified Fitness Trainer, or your health professional to ensure you can participate safely.