How to Determine My Basal Metabolic Rate to Get Fit

Knowing your Basal Metabolic Rate will really help you get fit!

How to Determine My Basal Metabolic Rate

Many factors affect weight loss, including your age, gender and the amount of calories your body burns. It’s also more challenging to lose weight and maintain muscles as you get older. However, don’t let any of these things stop you!

The good news: you CAN create a smarter weight loss strategy.

To do this, the first step is to determine your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which is your body’s basic calorie burning level. What is it and how can it help with weight management? Check out this guide to learn more!

What is Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)?

What is Basal Metabolic RateBasal Metabolic Rate (BMR), also called Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), is the amount of energy your body burns in calories when it’s at rest. It indicates how much energy your body needs to support organs such as the heart, lungs and nervous system if you were to rest all day.

The most accurate way to measure Basal Metabolic Rate is through a lab test. Doctors analyze carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in your blood after you rest for 24 hours and fast for 12 hours with 8 hours of sleep.

However, there’s a much simpler way to determine your Basal Metabolic Rate. Experts have developed equations that can calculate it closely. You just need to plot your weight, height and age to get the approximate number.

Why It’s Important to Know Your Basal Metabolic Rate

Understanding your metabolism is an essential key to fitness.

Why It's Important to Know Your Basal Metabolic Rate - boost your metabolismWhether your goal is to lose fat, gain more muscle or maintain your physique, knowing your Basal Metabolic Rate can really help you create a more efficient fitness plan. It basically tells you how much energy you need to keep your body in shape. If you want to lose pounds, it’s a great way to know how much calories you need to cut down.

Your metabolism actually slows down as you age, decreasing by 5 percent every 10 years. Tracking it will allow you to make the appropriate diet and exercise adjustments to reach your fitness goals.

Step 1: How to Determine My Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

How to Determine My Basal Metabolic RateGood thing there’s a way to estimate your Basal Metabolic Rate without going through lab tests. You can use the Mifflin-St. Jeor Equation, a formula introduced in 1990 which is the standard when it comes to calculating BMR. It’s said to be more accurate than previous BMR formulas. Though it doesn’t include specific lifestyle and body composition, it still gives you a pretty good idea of your BMR.

Here’s how to calculate your BMR with the Mifflin-St. Jeor Equation:

  1. For Men

BMR = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) + 5

  1. For Women

BMR = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) – 161

Tips on conversion:

  • If you’re used to recording your weight in pounds (lbs), you can convert that number into kilograms (kg) by multiplying it by 0.45359237.

Example: 5 lbs. x 0.45359237 = 2.26796185 kg

  • If you’re used to recording your height in feet (ft), you can convert that number into centimeters (cm) by multiplying it by 30.48.

Example: 5 ft × 30.48 = 152.4 cm

How to Calculate Your Basal Metabolic RateTake note: Body composition differs between men and women, with men having more lean muscle and lower fat levels than women. Women usually have 5 to 10 percent lower BMR than men.

The more mass you have, the more energy you need to sustain your body. Taller and heavier people commonly have higher Basal Metabolic Rate. It actually decreases when you lose weight because your body requires fewer calories in a day. Likewise, when you gain muscle weight, your BMR will increase because you need more energy to fuel your muscles.

To show you how it’s done, here’s how I calculated my BMR:

Corin’s BMR

  • Age: 30
  • Gender: Female
  • Height: 157.48 cm
  • Weight: 52.3 kg

BMR = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) – 161
= (10 x 52.3 kg) + (6.25 x 157.48 cm) – (5 x 30) – 161
= (523 + 984.25) – 150 – 161
= 1,507.25 – 150 – 161
= 1,357.25 – 161
BMR = 1,196.25 calories

Step 2: How to Calculate My Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)

How to Calculate My Total Daily Energy ExpenditureOnce you know your Basal Metabolic Rate, the next step is to get a rough estimate of how much calories your body burns on a regular day.

Since Basal Metabolic Rate only indicates calories when you’re at rest, you need to determine your daily calorie burn when you do activities. This number is called Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), which reflects the number of calories you burn while doing daily activities like walking, working, eating and exercising.

There are several ways to estimate your TDEE, but one easy way to calculate it is to refer to the Activity Level chart below. Just take your BMR number and multiply it by your personal activity level.

TDEE = BMR x Activity Level

Activity levels range from Sedentary all the way to Extra Active with the corresponding numbers:

  1. How to Calculate My Total Daily Energy Expenditure - couch potato graphicSedentary: 1.2 – Usually for people who work desk jobs and engage in very little exercise or chores
  1. Lightly active: 1.37 – Generally for those who do physical chores and go on long walks at least 1 to 3 days in a week
  1. Moderately active: 1.55 – For people who move a lot during the day and workout (moderate effort) at least 3 to 5 days in a weekHow to Calculate My Total Daily Energy Expenditure - active artwork
  1. Very active: 1.725 – For individuals who play sports or engage in vigorous exercise on most days
  1. Extra active: 1.9 – For people who do intense workouts 6 to 7 days in a week with work that demands physical activity

To get my total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), I multiplied my BMR with my activity level, which reflects my daily movement and exercise. I’d say I’m lightly active, so I multiplied my BMR by 1.375.

TDEE = BMR x Activity Level
= 1,196.25 x 1.375
= 1,919.5 calories

There you have it! Now you can calculate your own Basal Metabolic Rate (MR) and Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDRR) too. The next step is to plan your diet and exercise routine according to your daily calorie burn.

Step 3: Improving My Metabolism

Improving My Metabolism - people in gym exercisingThe good news: exercise increases metabolism, helping your body burn fat and lose weight.

People with more muscle tissue burn 3 times more calories than those who have more fat. To gain more muscle, you can do strength exercises like weight lifting and intense full-body workouts like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and circuit training. Generally, getting more active will help improve your metabolism.

Apart from exercise, your diet plays a huge factor in your metabolic rate. Consuming sweets, junk food and highly processed food actually slows down your metabolism. Going on yo-yo diets or nutrient-deficient diets are also known to mess up your metabolism.

Improving My Metabolism - high-protein foodsTo help improve it, you can eat more lean protein and organic veggies. Choosing healthy, low-calorie snacks will help you cut down calories. Drinking beverages like green tea and kombucha have also been proven to enhance metabolism.

The idea is to create an exercise routine and diet plan that will suit your body’s needs. It will take time, but it will help you determine whether you need to make changes on your diet or workout. To make sure you’re on the right track, you can always calculate your BMR again.

Remember, this is just a guide. If you need more help, consult your doctor or nutritionist to give you further assistance. It’s always better to get professional advice before going on a new diet or fitness plan.

Have you tried calculating your Basal Metabolic Rate lately? How did it help?
Talk to us in the comments below!

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