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Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

Learning how many calories you burn at rest is a crucial part of your weight loss journey. This number goes into meal plans, food preparation, exercise, sleep, etc. Don't guess when it comes to your weight loss goals.

Resting metabolic rate (also called RMR) is the rate at which your body burns energy when it is at complete rest. You can calculate your RMR to see how many calories your body needs to perform basic functions like breathing and circulation. Your RMR is part of your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) or the total number of calories you burn each day.

What Is Metabolism and Metabolic Rate?

We often talk about metabolism as if it is a single mechanism in your body. But it's not. Metabolism—including resting metabolism—is a series of functions that are happening all the time. The rate at which those functions occur is your metabolic rate.

Your body converts the food you eat into energy in order to fuel both basic and complex functions like breathing or moving. This process is called metabolism. The entire metabolic process is a series of chemical actions that keep your body alive and healthy.

So how does metabolism work? Every food you eat contains nutrients. Your body absorbs the nutrients and converts them into units of heat—or calories. The energy—the calories—that are provided by the food are either used right away or stored for your body to use later. Extra calories are usually stored as fat.

What Is Resting Metabolic Rate?

Resting metabolism is the energy required by your body to perform the most basic functions when your body is at rest. These essential functions include things like breathing, circulating blood or basic brain functions. RMR is often used interchangeably with basal metabolic rate (BMR). However, while your RMR refers to the number of calories your body burns while at rest, your BMR is the minimum number of calories your body burns to just exist, without any external influences.

Although BMR is slightly more accurate, the difference is only notable in clinical settings. Not only is RMR an accurate estimate of BMR, but it is also sufficient for determining your daily calorie needs, and easy to calculate. You can calculate your RMR to find out your personal number.

How is My RMR Measured?

Your RMR is measured using a machine that measures your breathing while you rest in a recliner. The machine is connected to a mask that you wear for about 20 minutes. The machine measures how much you breath and how much oxygen your body uses during the test. It can then measure exactly how many calories your body burns at rest. This is the most accurate method to obtain your RMR.

Is My RMR Normal?

Once you know your RMR, you might be tempted to compare your number to the RMRs of other people around you. And you might wonder if your RMR is normal. According to several sources, the average RMR for women is around 1400 calories per day1 and for men is just over 1600 calories.

Women: Average BMR 1,400 calories per day Men: Average BMR just over 1,600 calories per day

Can I Change My RMR?

If you change your body weight, your RMR will change. An increase in weight will lead to an increase in your RMR, while weight loss will lower your RMR. Also, as you age, RMR usually decreases. Other than that, however, you can't really change your RMR.

But just because you can't change your RMR doesn't mean that you can't change your metabolism. In addition to your resting metabolism, there are several other factors that affect the total number of calories that you burn each day.

  • Thermic effect of food: We use energy to chew and digest food. Researchers call this the thermic effect of food (TEF). It makes up a very small part of your total energy requirements.

  • Energy used during physical activity: You can also burn a lot of calories with exercise. For example, you might boost your metabolism with a daily walk or a vigorous workout at the gym.

  • Non-exercise movement: Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) describes all of the calories that you burn doing basic movement throughout the day like carrying groceries, walking to your desk at work, or cooking dinner.

Change Your Metabolism to Lose Weight

To lose weight effectively, you should know your RMR and the total number of calories you burn each day (including exercise and NEAT). There are different ways to determine those numbers, but none is an exact science. Some gyms or medical centers offer metabolic testing services that may be more accurate.

Keep in mind that the number you get when you calculate your RMR is only an estimate. Even if you go to the gym or to a lab, the number you get isn't exact. It is simply the best guess at the number of calories that your body will burn. This is helpful to know if you are trying to gain or lose weight.

Some experimentation is always required to get your calories in (food intake) to balance out with calories out (metabolism) to reach your desired goal.

Once you have a smart estimate of how many calories you burn each day, you can change your daily food intake or change your daily activity level to create an energy deficit. Sometimes weight loss experts call it a calorie deficit.

When you don't give your body the energy it needs, it burns stored energy (stored fat) as fuel instead. The result is that you lose weight and slim down. A weekly calorie deficit of approximately 3,500 calories will result in roughly one pound of weight loss.

Schedule Your RMR Test Now

Call to schedule your RMR test. It will provide you or your coaches with valuable information so you can succeed.

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