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How to Calculate the Number of Calories Burned Naturally Each Day

Learn how to calculate the number of calories burned naturally each day. Gain insights into managing weight and optimizing health with this comprehensive calculation technique. Make informed decisions about diet and exercise for a healthier lifestyle.

In this article, you will discover a simple method for determining the number of calories burned naturally each day. By understanding how many calories your body naturally expends without any additional physical activity or exercise, you gain valuable insights into managing your weight and optimizing your health. This comprehensive calculation technique provides you with an accurate estimate of your daily caloric expenditure, allowing you to make informed decisions about your diet and exercise routine. By harnessing this knowledge, you can embark on a journey towards a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.

Factors Affecting Natural Calorie Burning

Body Size

Body size plays a significant role in determining the number of calories burned naturally each day. Generally, larger bodies require more energy for basic functions such as maintaining body temperature and organ function. This means that individuals with a larger body size are more likely to have a higher basal metabolic rate (BMR) and burn more calories at rest compared to those with a smaller body size.


Gender is another factor that influences natural calorie burning. On average, men tend to have a higher BMR than women due to several factors. Men typically have a higher percentage of lean muscle mass, which is metabolically more active than fat tissue. Additionally, men generally have a larger body size. However, it is important to note that individual variations exist, and factors such as age, body composition, and hormone levels also contribute to differences in calorie burning between genders.


Age is a crucial factor influencing natural calorie burning. As we age, our muscle mass tends to decrease, resulting in a decrease in BMR. This decline in muscle mass is often accompanied by an increase in body fat, as fat tissue is less metabolically active than muscle tissue. Therefore, older individuals generally have a lower BMR compared to younger individuals, which means they burn fewer calories at rest.

Muscle Mass

Muscle mass has a significant impact on natural calorie burning. Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue, meaning it burns more calories at rest. Therefore, individuals with a higher percentage of lean muscle mass tend to have a higher BMR and burn more calories naturally. Regular resistance training exercises, such as weightlifting, can help increase muscle mass, which can, in turn, boost natural calorie burning.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)


Basal metabolic rate (BMR) refers to the number of calories your body needs to maintain basic physiological functions at rest. These functions include breathing, circulating blood, and controlling body temperature. BMR does not take into account physical activity or other factors.

How to Determine BMR

There are several methods to determine your BMR, including indirect calorimetry, which measures the amount of oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide produced by the body. However, for practical purposes, BMR can be estimated using equations that take into account factors such as gender, age, weight, and height.

BMR Calculation Formulas

There are various formulas used to calculate BMR. One commonly used formula is the Harris-Benedict equation, which takes into account gender, weight, height, and age. Another widely used formula is the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation, which is considered more accurate, as it takes into account differences in body composition. These formulas provide an estimate of the number of calories your body needs to function at rest and serve as a baseline for further calculations.

How to Calculate the Number of Calories Burned Naturally Each Day

Physical Activity Level

Sedentary Lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle refers to a minimal level of physical activity in daily life. This includes activities such as sitting for long periods, little to no exercise, and limited movement. People with a sedentary lifestyle typically have a lower overall calorie expenditure, as they burn fewer calories through physical activity. This can contribute to weight gain and various health issues.

Light Activity Level

A light activity level involves engaging in activities such as walking, light household chores, or low-intensity exercise for less than two hours a day. While individuals with a light activity level burn more calories than those with a sedentary lifestyle, the overall calorie expenditure is still relatively low. It is important to note that light activity alone may not be sufficient for significant weight loss or maintenance.

Moderate Activity Level

Individuals with a moderate activity level engage in activities such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming for two to four hours a day. This level of activity increases the total calorie expenditure, contributing to better weight management and overall health. Regular moderate activity can help elevate the metabolic rate and improve natural calorie burning.

High Activity Level

A high activity level involves engaging in intense physical activities such as running, weightlifting, or participating in sports for more than four hours a day. People with a high activity level have a significantly higher calorie expenditure, as intense exercise requires more energy. This level of activity is beneficial for weight loss, improving cardiovascular health, and increasing overall fitness levels.

Very High Activity Level

Individuals with a very high activity level engage in strenuous physical activities, including professional athletes, construction workers, or individuals with physically demanding jobs. The calorie expenditure for those with a very high activity level is exceptionally high, as their daily activities require significant energy output. It is essential for these individuals to consume an adequate amount of calories to meet their energy needs and support proper recovery and performance.

Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)


The thermic effect of food (TEF) refers to the energy required by the body to digest, absorb, and process the macronutrients consumed. When we eat, our body burns calories to break down and utilize the nutrients from the food. The TEF can contribute to total calorie expenditure, albeit to a lesser extent compared to basal metabolic rate and physical activity.

Factors Affecting TEF

Several factors affect the thermic effect of food. Firstly, protein has a higher thermic effect compared to fats and carbohydrates, meaning it requires more energy to digest and process. Therefore, a diet rich in protein can slightly increase the overall calorie expenditure. Additionally, the size and composition of a meal can influence TEF, with larger and more complex meals requiring more energy for digestion.

Calculating TEF

Calculating the exact thermic effect of food can be challenging, as it depends on various factors such as meal composition, portion sizes, and individual metabolic rates. However, it is estimated that TEF typically accounts for approximately 10% of the total calorie intake from a meal. For example, if you consume a meal containing 500 calories, around 50 calories would be expended through the thermic effect of food.

How to Calculate the Number of Calories Burned Naturally Each Day

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)


Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) refers to the energy expended from activities other than planned exercise or structured physical activity sessions. NEAT includes activities such as fidgeting, walking at a slow pace, standing, or even standing up from a seated position. These activities may seem minor, but they contribute significantly to the overall calorie expenditure throughout the day.

Ways to Increase NEAT

Increasing NEAT can be an effective way to boost natural calorie burning. Simple lifestyle changes such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from your destination, or incorporating short walks into your daily routine can help increase NEAT. Additionally, incorporating more movement into your workplace, such as using a standing desk or taking regular stretch breaks, can also contribute to increased NEAT.

Importance of NEAT

NEAT plays a crucial role in overall energy expenditure and weight management. Even small increases in NEAT can contribute to a significant increase in calorie burning throughout the day. Furthermore, NEAT can help counteract the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle and improve overall health. Therefore, finding opportunities to increase NEAT should be a part of any comprehensive approach to managing weight and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Weight Loss and Calorie Deficit

Understanding Calorie Deficit

Calorie deficit refers to consuming fewer calories than your body needs for its daily energy requirements. When you create a calorie deficit, your body is forced to utilize stored energy sources, such as fat, to make up for the energy deficit. This can result in gradual and sustainable weight loss over time.

Calculating Calorie Deficit

Calculating the appropriate calorie deficit depends on individual factors such as weight, height, age, and activity level. Generally, a safe and effective rate of weight loss is 0.5-1 pound per week, which requires a calorie deficit of approximately 500-1000 calories per day. It is important to strike a balance and not create an excessively large deficit, as this can have negative effects on metabolism and overall health.

Impact on Natural Calorie Burning

When you create a calorie deficit, your body adjusts by reducing its metabolic rate to conserve energy. This metabolic adaptation is a survival mechanism that helps your body maintain energy balance. As a result, your natural calorie burning, specifically your BMR, may decrease when in a calorie deficit. Therefore, it is crucial to take a balanced approach to weight loss by incorporating physical activity, strength training, and proper nutrition to mitigate the potential decrease in natural calorie burning.

Importance of Accurate Calorie Tracking

Methods of Calorie Tracking

Accurate calorie tracking is essential for individuals looking to manage their weight or make specific dietary changes. Several methods can be used to track calorie intake, such as manually recording food and portion sizes in a journal, using smartphone apps, or utilizing online databases and nutrition calculators. Each method has its pros and cons, so it is essential to choose a tracking method that works best for you and allows for accurate and consistent monitoring.

Using Apps and Devices for Accuracy

In recent years, technology has provided us with various apps and devices that can assist in accurate calorie tracking. These apps and devices often have extensive food databases, making it easier to find accurate nutritional information for various food items. Additionally, devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches can estimate calorie expenditure based on heart rate, steps taken, and other factors. While these tools can be helpful, it is important to recognize that they may not be 100% accurate and should be used as a reference rather than a definitive measurement.

Other Factors Influencing Calorie Burning


Genetics play a role in determining an individual’s natural calorie burning. Some people may naturally have a higher BMR or a genetic predisposition to store more fat. However, it is essential to remember that genetics are just one piece of the puzzle, and lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity also significantly influence overall calorie burning and weight management.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal imbalances can impact natural calorie burning. For example, conditions such as hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones, can lead to a decrease in metabolic rate and subsequent weight gain. Similarly, hormonal imbalances related to conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may also affect metabolic rate and contribute to difficulties in managing weight.


Certain medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and some medications used to manage chronic illnesses, can affect natural calorie burning and metabolism. These medications may lead to weight gain or create challenges in weight management. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional if you suspect that a medication is impacting your calorie burning or weight.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors can indirectly affect natural calorie burning. For example, living in a colder climate may require your body to burn more calories to maintain body temperature. Additionally, exposure to certain pollutants and toxins may disrupt metabolic processes, leading to alterations in calorie burning and weight regulation. While these factors may have a minor impact, they should still be considered in the comprehensive understanding of calorie burning.

Recommendations for a Healthy Caloric Intake

Consult a Healthcare Professional

When determining your caloric intake, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian or physician. These professionals can assess your individual needs and goals and provide personalized recommendations based on your unique circumstances. They can help you create a balanced and sustainable approach to calorie intake that supports your overall health and wellbeing.

Consider Individual Needs and Goals

A healthy caloric intake should consider individual needs and goals. Factors such as age, gender, body size, physical activity level, and specific health conditions should be taken into account. For example, athletes and individuals with physically demanding jobs may require more calories to support their energy needs. On the other hand, individuals with specific health conditions, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease, may require specific dietary modifications.

Adopt a Balanced Diet and Exercise Routine

A balanced diet and regular exercise are key components of maintaining a healthy caloric intake. Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients while limiting processed and high-calorie foods. Additionally, aim to incorporate a combination of cardiorespiratory exercise and strength training into your routine. This approach can help increase natural calorie burning, improve overall fitness, and support weight management.


Understanding the factors influencing natural calorie burning is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight and overall wellbeing. Body size, gender, age, and muscle mass all contribute to the number of calories burned at rest. Basal metabolic rate, physical activity level, thermic effect of food, and non-exercise activity thermogenesis further shape overall calorie expenditure.

Other factors, including genetics, hormonal imbalances, medications, and environmental factors, play a role as well. Accurate calorie tracking, incorporating a calorie deficit if needed, and considering individual needs and goals are essential for managing weight effectively. Ultimately, adopting a balanced diet, regular exercise routine, and consulting a healthcare professional can guide individuals toward a healthy caloric intake and improved overall health.

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