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Meet our TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) calculator

The best way to calculate your calorie and macronutrient targets. Let's explain why...

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Meet your new wingman.

Head to the bottom for your calculator if you don't want to read our approach to using this tool 

What's the deal with this calculator? Well, it's like the secret weapon of optimal performance, getting lean, building muscle, supporting health and eating the right amount of macronutrients. 

Our calculator helps you establish a healthy  intake of food (even if you are trying to lose weight) based on your TDEE and not just your BMR. Plus, it prescribes the most optimal ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fat based on your physiology and goals to help you balance them like a nutritional ninja.

This calculator is a tool to help you establish targets for tracking your food. When you bring precision and accuracy to your nutrition, you can optimise your aesthetics, performance and health.

 

How?

 

Because you are using objective data and can track your intake based on numbers (and not moral value aka good food vs bad food).

What we like about this approach is that you have flexibility in what you eat. It just controls your total intake, each day or week becomes a game of tetris as you aim to hit your targets with the foods that you select. 

"You can eat what you want, just not how much of it you want" is our motto!

It is a learning process and a skill. That is where the educational part of tracking comes in; you learn how much protein is in a chicken breast or how much fat is in your favourite protein bar. You also learn how to fit in birthday cake at your best friend's party while still eating enough protein for the day.

Did someone say CAKE??

Yes!! You can eat the cake and it doesn't been your diet is ruined.

There are two major parts of your nutrition that are important for your health, aesthetics and performance;

  1. Quality; the nutritional content of your food.

  2. Quantity; the caloric content of your food.

This calculator will help you figure out number 2 (if you want help with number 1, go and download our free nutrition checklist here).

 

When it comes to the quantity of food you consume, we have to consider total calories AND the way those calories are split between protein, carbohydrates and fat. Each of those three macronutrients are important and you can optimise your intake by ensuring that you get the right amount of each. 

How does the calculator work?

Our Macronutrient Calculator is a highly accurate tool designed to help you determine your ideal caloric intake, including proteins, fats, and carbs, based on your body, activity level, and goals. It works by establishing your Basal Metabolic Rate first, then, it figures out your TOTAL energy needs based on your daily activity.

Using our calculator is easy: enter your information and it will provide your specific macro targets. Consistently hitting these targets for at least four weeks is key to observing results. Additionally, ensure your workout routine includes effective resistance training tailored to your goals.

 

Why Our Macronutrient Calculator Stands Out: Understanding TDEE

You might be wondering why our Macronutrient Calculator provides targets that are higher than other calculators...? 

 

TDEE accounts for the total calories you burn in a day, including your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and physical activity level. Our calculator uses a precise algorithm that takes into consideration various factors to calculate your TDEE accurately.

We believe in a comprehensive approach to fitness and health. By offering a TDEE that reflects your body's true energy needs, we empower you to fuel your body optimally for your goals.

 

Whether you're aiming to lose weight, build muscle, or enhance performance, having an accurate understanding of your TDEE ensures you're meeting your body's demands without compromising your progress.

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The components of total daily energy expenditure (TDEE)

1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): BMR represents the number of calories your body needs to maintain basic physiological functions while at rest. This includes functions like breathing, circulating blood, and regulating body temperature. BMR typically accounts for about 60% of total energy expenditure. It represents the largest portion of your daily calorie burn. We even know that about 20% of your caloric intake goes to your brain, it's expensive to run (which is why it's important that when you are losing weight, you don't under eat to the point that it impacts cognitive function).

2. Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT): NEAT encompasses all the calories you burn during non-exercise activities, such as walking, fidgeting, or doing household chores. These activities are not deliberate exercises but significantly contribute to your overall energy expenditure. NEAT varies widely among individuals and can account for approximately 15-30% of total energy expenditure. Some people naturally have higher NEAT due to factors like restlessness, while others have lower NEAT if they tend to be more sedentary. This will have a bigger impact on your body composition than doing 3 hours of training in the gym a week.

3. Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): TEF represents the energy your body expends digesting, absorbing, and processing the food you eat. Different macronutrients have varying TEF percentages. For example, protein requires more energy to digest compared to fats and carbohydrates. TEF typically accounts for about 10% of your total energy expenditure.

4. Exercise Activity (EA): EA includes the calories you burn during planned physical activities and exercises, such as workouts, running, or sports. This component is the most variable and can be adjusted based on the intensity, duration, and frequency of your exercise routine. For individuals with a regular exercise routine, EA can range from 10-20% of total energy expenditure.

 

*Many people overestimate how many calories their 3-4 sessions in the gym a week will burn, especially if they have a sedentary job. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you can out-exercise a bad diet. Your training is incredibly important for your health and quality of life, but in terms of burning calories, it doesn't amount to much. 

 

Understanding these components allows you to make informed decisions about your diet and exercise. By considering your BMR, NEAT, TEF, and EA, you can create a balanced approach to nutrition and physical activity tailored to your individual needs and goals.

 

The Importance of Tracking Food: Building Awareness and Knowledge

Tracking your food intake can be an invaluable tool, especially when you're starting your fitness journey. It helps you become aware of portion sizes, macronutrient composition, and overall calorie intake. This awareness is crucial for making informed decisions about your diet and achieving specific fitness goals. Through tracking, you learn about the nutritional content of various foods and how they impact your body.

As you become better and better at tracking your food, you will find it eaasier and easier. We recommend pre-entering your day of eating the day prior (especially if you are new to tracking). As you become more experienced, you can track as you go; just don't fall into the trap of saying "I'll track it later" because we all know that won't happen.

 

Put it in your app before you put it in your mouth is our rule.

 

Our Favourite Tracking Hack

 

You do not have to eat the same amount every single day.

 

Wait, I don't??

 

You might have dinner plans on Friday night and a family event on Saturday, trying to restrict your intake can be unnecessarily difficult at best and cause full-blown binge episodes at worst. Why not eat more on those two days of the week but eat less on the other 5 days? This is just as effective in getting results if not more so as it can help you build better consistency over the long term. 

If you are given 2,000 calories a day, that's 14,000 calories a week. You can make Friday and Saturday 2,500 calories and the other days will be 1,800 calories. Your weekly average doesn't change! We are BIG fans of using the weekly average here at CFK Nutrition!

It can look like this ↓ 

MONDAY         1,800 calories

TUESDAY         1,800 calories

WEDNESDAY  1,800 calories

THURSDAY      1,800 calories

FRIDAY             2,500 calories (high day)

SATURDAY       2,500 calories (high day)

SUNDAY           1,800 calories

Many of our clients are guided by their coach to discover that they can have 1-2 high days a week, where they get an extra 500 calories then somewhere else in the week they have a slightly lower day and it all works out (especially when there are some days that you naturally don't feel as hungry or you are too busy and accidentally don't eat as much).

We also track our weight by using the weekly average as well! Weigh yourself 3 times a week and at the end of each week you will have two numbers to compare; weekly average calories and weekly average weight. This is the BEST method to observe your results and is what all our coaches use with their clients. 

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How much weight should I be realistically losing/gaining?

 

It depends.

On a lot of things.

The way we see it, if your goal is weight loss and you are progressively losing weight over time then you are losing at a good rate. Slow weight loss is good weight loss. You need time to reinforce your new eating and training habits anyway so the longer it takes, the better. Same goes for gaining muscle.

Rather than picking a goal weight (which is usually an arbitrary number anyway), we pick a timeframe that is a realistic period for achieving some great progress towards a goal. Specifically when losing weight, you have to experience hunger. That's the reality, so it's about finding the right amount of hunger you can tolerate... without being driven to madness (and the closest Italian restaurant).

We like to do 8-12 week diet periods to achieve high adherence. Being consistent is so important plus this protects many people from falling into perpetual dieting where it just never ends (unless you "cheat").

The other piece of the puzzle?

 

Your body will not change in a linear fashion.

 

People can expect to lose 0.5-1.0kg per week BUT THAT IS BASED ON AN AVERAGE OVER TIME. This can help you create a projection but it will not guide you on what to expect from week to week. In short, expect anarchy. Total anarchy. #hopeforthebestpreparefortheworst

You can watch my 10 week cut and you'll see that 7 out of the 10 weeks produced no change in my weight, then there were some huge drops in my weight in certain weeks (like the week after my period).

Taking Breaks from Tracking: Developing Intuitive Eating

 

It's equally important to recognise that tracking food meticulously isn't meant to be a perpetual practice. Taking breaks from tracking allows you to develop a healthy relationship with food and learn intuitive eating. Intuitive eating involves listening to your body's hunger and fullness cues, making mindful food choices, and trusting your body to guide your eating habits. By taking breaks, you gain confidence in your ability to make nutritious choices without relying on a tracking app.

Every 4-8 weeks we prescribe a diet break. Tune in to your body's signals, dance to its rhythm, and maintain that fitness groove without the macro obsession for 7 days. And, remember that we only recommend going through a tracking phase 1-2 times a year, AT LEAST 50% of the year should be spent focusing on eating quality food without hyperfixating on the quantity (we recommend sitting 10% above maintenance calories for a period as well, ladies, I'm talking to you to ensure you build muscle). 

In fact, if you have only ever dieted to change your aesthetics and you have never focused on eating for health, then we often recommend that you start there. Remove the diet mindset, undermine any rigid food rules and relearn what your bodies natural desires are with food. Intuitive eating doesn't mean there are no rules, but it does give us freedom to not be obsessed with food and your weight which we believe is vital to living a full and happy life (and teaching our kids how to do the same).

Understanding the Limits of Calculators

While our Macronutrient Calculator provides valuable guidance, it's essential to acknowledge its limitations. Every individual is unique, and factors such as metabolism, stress levels, and sleep patterns affect your body. That's why it's crucial to pay attention to how you feel and perform.

Listen to your body. If you find yourself lacking energy or feeling sluggish, consider adjusting your macros. Tailoring your intake based on how you feel and perform is key to optimizing your fitness journey. Being in tune with your body's signals ensures that you not only meet your physical goals but also maintain overall well-being.

This calculator also won't prescribe quality, it only prescribes quantity. It is up to you to build meal prep habits and to know what micronutrients you need. Choosing food based on their nutrient density is a whole thing and we have coaches that can help you with that!

Remember, while calculators offer a starting point, your body's feedback is invaluable. Stay mindful, adapt your nutrition as needed, and embark on a personalized, sustainable path to achieving your fitness aspirations.

Tracking: Not the Be All and End All

While tracking is a valuable tool, it's not the ultimate solution. Mastering the basics of healthy eating remains the priority. Understanding the importance of whole, minimally processed foods, balanced meals, and appropriate portion sizes forms the foundation of a healthy diet. Regardless of whether you track your food or not, these principles remain constant.

 

Tracking can provide structure and help you fine-tune your approach, but it should compliment your understanding of fundamental nutrition, not replace it.

Tracking food offers useful insights, but it's essential to strike a balance. Use tracking as a learning tool, take breaks to develop intuitive eating skills, and remember that mastering the basics of healthy eating is key to long-term well-being, regardless of your tracking habits.

In a nutshell (pun intended), tracking food is your trusty sidekick, not the main event. Learn, take breaks, and remember, a healthy diet is the anchor, with or without the tracking gadget.

 

Here's to your journey – may it be delicious, nutritious, and uniquely yours!

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