Factors Affecting Energy Expenditure

Everything that you do burns calories. Doing the cleaning, walking from your car into the office, your football game, playing with your kids, etc. are all activities that burn calories. You also have processes that take place in your body that also expend energy. These include breathing and digestion. Take a look at the four key things that affect energy expenditure:

1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – Refers how many calories it takes to maintain basic bodily functions (organs and brain, etc.). This uses approximately 55-60% of daily calories expended per day.

2. Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) – This refers to the amount of calories used in the digestion, absorption, and storage of certain nutrients from the food we eat. TEF accounts for approximately 10% of daily energy output. This can vary based on the different macronutrients you’re consuming. Protein has the highest rate of thermogenesis (costs the most to metabolise).


For the most part, the two mentioned above are unchangeable, however we have control over:

3. Exercise Activity (EA) – This refers to the calories burnt directly from formal exercise/sporting activity.

4. Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) – Refers to the calories used in everything we do excluding sleeping, eating or direct exercise. It’s the calories burnt, walking around, doing chores, talking, typing and fidgeting/general movement. We often underestimate how important NEAT is but hopefully out example below will help to further emphasise it’s importance.