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What method should I use to calculate my daily energy expenditure in rest?

When you are a professional or ultra fanatic athlete, use the Ten Haaf method to calculate daily energy expenditure at rest (BMR). For others, use the Harris-Benedict method.

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Written by: The Athlete’s FoodCoach, on 18-01-2024
Loe van Belle, Sepp Kuss and Milan Vader getting their nutrition at a buffet using FoodCoach app

Why are there different methods to calculate my daily energy expenditure in rest?

Athletes, especially professionals, often have a high fat free mass (higher muscle mass and lower body fat percentage). Mainly because of this, athletes tend to burn more energy at rest compared to individuals with the same weight but a lower fat free mass. Muscle tissue has a higher metabolism compared to fat tissue, leading to higher energy expenditure at rest. As a result, their Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is often higher.

To calculate the energy needs for athletes, a modified BMR calculation like Ten Haaf is often used, which takes into account this differences in body composition. This helps ensure that their nutritional intake aligns with the increased energy demands.

How do I get the calculation of my daily energy expenditure in rest on point?

  1. App: Select a method that initially seems most suitable in the FoodCoach app and this app for two weeks for automatic daily energy calculations.
  2. Selection: When you are in doubt which method to select, you can use the following rule of thumb as guidance: If you engage in cycling for more than 10 hours per week or running for more than 5 hours per week, opt for the Ten Haaf formula.
  3. Calibration: Follow your plan and log all meals over a period of two weeks. Pay attention to your body signals. If you're still feeling hungry or experiencing weight gain/loss, consider adjusting your profile settings in the app. (e.g. change from Harris-Benadict to Ten Haaf or increase your activity level).

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Mindset matters

Calorie calculations offer an approximate daily estimate, never precision. Don't stress over minor calorie discrepancies. Remember that your body's needs aren't confined to 24-hour cycles and minor variations can be balanced gradually over time. Embrace flexibility and balance in your approach. Calculating calories isn’t a must. It is a great strategy if circumstances change in your life.

Are you still uncertain if you're on track? Consider connecting to one of our FoodCoach experts for a consult. They can analyze your energy intake and energy output and help you finetune your app-settings and nutrition strategy.

Sepp Kuss having fun with FoodCoach Janneke Ensing, while weighing his food

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