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BMR vs. TDEE — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on January 8, 2024
BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is the energy expended at rest, while TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) is the total calories burned in a day including activity.
BMR vs. TDEE — What's the Difference?

Difference Between BMR and TDEE


Key Differences

BMR, or Basal Metabolic Rate, represents the minimum amount of energy, measured in calories, that our bodies require to maintain basic physiological functions while at rest. This includes processes like breathing, blood circulation, and cell regeneration. TDEE, or Total Daily Energy Expenditure, encompasses the entire amount of calories an individual burns in one day. This value combines the BMR with the energy expended through physical activities and digestion.
Understanding both BMR and TDEE is crucial when considering weight management or fitness goals. BMR gives an insight into the number of calories our body needs without any additional activities. On the other hand, TDEE provides a more comprehensive view by considering all activities, whether it's walking, exercising, or even digesting food. If one's caloric intake is above their TDEE, they may gain weight, while consuming fewer calories than the TDEE can lead to weight loss.
In the context of nutrition and fitness, both BMR and TDEE serve as pivotal reference points. For those aiming to maintain their current weight, it's essential to consume calories equivalent to their TDEE. For weight loss or gain, understanding and adjusting based on these values is paramount. BMR tends to remain fairly constant, influenced mainly by factors like age, gender, and body composition. In contrast, TDEE can vary significantly based on one's lifestyle and activity level.
Lastly, while both BMR and TDEE are measured in calories, they highlight different aspects of energy consumption. BMR offers a baseline, the foundational energy our body demands without any extra influences. TDEE, however, paints the bigger picture, encapsulating every calorie burned from morning to night. The relationship between these two metrics can guide individuals in making informed decisions about diet and exercise.

Comparison Chart


Energy needed at rest.
Total energy expended in a day.


Basal functions like breathing, cell regeneration.
All activities, exercise, and digestion.

Use in Weight Management

Baseline calorie needs.
Determines caloric balance for gain/loss.

Factors Influencing

Age, gender, body composition.
Lifestyle, activity level, and BMR.


Relatively constant.
Can vary day-to-day based on activity.

Compare with Definitions


The metabolic rate when completely at rest.
BMR calculations don't factor in walking or any daily tasks.


The sum of calories burned in one day.
Your TDEE factors in workouts, chores, and even digestion.


The calorie requirement for body functions at rest.
Even in sleep, your BMR ensures energy for vital functions.


Comprehensive daily energy consumption metric.
Knowing your TDEE can guide dietary choices effectively.


The base energy consumption without activity.
My BMR indicates the calories I'd burn if I stayed in bed all day.


Caloric burn from morning to night.
TDEE helps understand how much energy daily routines consume.


Energy expended for basal physiological functions.
BMR considers calories burned by functions like heartbeats.


Total energy expenditure including all activities.
To maintain weight, eat calories equivalent to your TDEE.


The baseline calorie burn without external influences.
Before adding exercises to the mix, one must account for BMR.


BMR combined with activity-related energy burn.
If my TDEE is 2500 calories, any intake above that might lead to weight gain.


The rate at which heat is produced by an individual in a resting state

Common Curiosities

Does BMR change significantly day-to-day?

No, BMR remains relatively constant, influenced mainly by age, gender, and body composition.

What does BMR stand for?

BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate.

Which value, BMR or TDEE, is higher for an active person?

TDEE would be higher due to additional calories burned from activity.

What is TDEE an abbreviation for?

TDEE stands for Total Daily Energy Expenditure.

Does TDEE account for exercise?

Yes, TDEE includes calories burned from all activities, including exercise.

If I consume calories equal to my TDEE, will I gain weight?

No, consuming calories equal to TDEE should maintain your current weight.

Are there tools to calculate BMR and TDEE?

Yes, there are numerous online calculators and apps that can estimate both BMR and TDEE.

If I eat less than my BMR, is it unhealthy?

Consuming fewer calories than your BMR for extended periods can be harmful, as the body might not get the energy it needs for vital functions.

How can I increase my TDEE?

Increasing daily activities or exercising more can raise your TDEE.

Why is it essential to know my BMR when dieting?

Knowing your BMR can help determine the minimum calories you need to consume for basic functions.

Is the difference between BMR and TDEE just the calories burned from activities?

Primarily, yes. TDEE encompasses BMR plus the energy expended through all daily activities and digestion.

What activities are included in BMR calculations?

BMR covers basal functions like breathing, cell regeneration, and blood circulation.

Is BMR affected by my workout routine?

Not directly, BMR is more influenced by factors like age, gender, and body composition.

Can my lifestyle choices greatly affect TDEE?

Absolutely, an active lifestyle can significantly increase your TDEE compared to a sedentary one.

Do BMR and TDEE calculations consider body fat percentage?

While BMR calculations often factor in weight, some TDEE calculators also consider body fat percentage for a more accurate estimate.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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