How many times have you wondered (or asked the all-knowing Google) one of the following question:
- How many calories do I need to eat to lose weight fast?
- How many calories should I eat to build muscle?
- What’s the fastest way to lose belly fat?
In this article, you’ll find out how to calculate exactly how many calories you need to build muscle, lose belly fat, and create a diet plan that works as well as one that you enjoy.
It all starts with knowing your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).
What is TDEE?
TDEE stands for Total Daily Energy Expenditure, and it is the sum total of calories your body “burns” in a given day. TDEE is determined by four key factors:
- Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)-- number of calories your body burns each day to keep you alive
- Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) -- calories burned digesting the food we eat
- Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) -- calories burned performing daily movement that isn’t classified as structured exercise (i.e. walking from one room to another, taking out the trash, brushing your teeth)
- Thermic Effect of Activity (TEA) -- calories expended that are attributed to exercise
In order to calculate TDEE, you’d have to go through several tedious calculations by hand, or you could use one of the handy TDEE calculators on the internet, such as this one.
- If you want to lose fat, you need to eat fewer calories than your TDEE.
This forces your body to burn body fat for energy to compensate for the calories you’re not consuming each day. Do this long enough and you will lose belly fat.
- If you want to gain muscle mass, you need to eat more calories than your TDEE.
To gain weight, you must be in a moderate caloric surplus. Coupled with an intense training program following the principles of progressive overload, the extra calories you eat will be utilized to build and repair muscle tissue.
As for what specific foods to eat?
That’s the beauty of knowing your TDEE, you meal plan can consist of whatever foods you enjoy. No longer do you have to follow those bland, dull, and repetitive copycat meal plans you see in the magazines.