Basal Metabolic Rate. It’s something you might have heard about it but might know nothing about.

Our bodies naturally burn calories just sitting around, being sedentary and doing nothing. This is whatyour BMR is. BMR is the number of calories, or energy, your body needs to function properly “including breathing and keeping your heart beating.”

 How to Calculate it

            There are a few ways to calculate your BMR. First, you can hand calculate it. In order to hand calculate it, you need to know your lean body mass (how many pounds of muscle your body has) and how many pounds of fat your body has. Every pound of muscle your body has needs 14 calories where as every pound of fat your body has requires 2 calories. For example, say you weight 130 pounds and have 100 pounds of muscle, and 30 pounds of fat. Do the equation (100 x 14) + (30 x 2) to get your BMR, which in this case, would be 1,460. If you don’t know your body composition, don’t worry. Call us and get started for a free Wellness Profile and we can help you!

You can also use an online calculator, although this might not be as accurate as a calculation of stopping in for a free wellness profile. There are tons of calculators online like this one from MyFitnessPal, which uses the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation, and takes into account your gender, height, weight and age. Some calculators also use the Harris-Benedict equation, which takes into account activity level. Although calculators can be a quick estimate, they aren’t as accurate as using numbers such as muscle mass and fat content.

Why BMR is Important to Know

            Knowing your Basal Metabolic Rate is important whether you want to maintain your weight, lose weight, or even gain weight.  Your BMR can help determine what number of calories you should be eating in order to meet your goals. If you want to lose weight, you will need to eat less than your BMR (or maintenance calories). If you want to gain weight, you will have to eat more.

 How to Set-up a Proper Meal Plan

            As fore-mentioned, your BMR is the number of calories you can use to base your meal plan around. In order to lose weight, you need to be eating in a calorie deficit, or less calories than your body burns. If you want to gain weight, you need to be eating in a calorie surplus, or eating more calories than your body burns. You can use your BMR in order to calculate this! Say for example, your BMR is 1,500 calories and you want to gain 1 pound per week. 1 pound is equal to 3,500 calories, so generally speaking, you will need to eat 3,500 extra calories a day, or 500 extra calories a day. This would mean your daily caloric intake should be around 2,000 calories. You can also do the same for a calorie deficit.

It’s also important when creating your meal plan to make sure you are doing so correctly. First, you need to make sure you’re eating enough. It is possible for you to not eat enough, and for your body to go into “fight or flight” mode. If you are not eating enough, your body can store the calories as fat because it is in “fight” mode (also known as starvation mode) or thinks you are in life threating danger. When calculating deficit calories, it’s important to make sure you aren’t eating too little calories and causing your body to go into this mode.

It’s also important to make sure you are eating the right foods. All calories are made up of macronutrients: carbs, fat and proteins. It’s important to make sure you are getting enough of all three of these nutrients, as well as your micronutrients (such as vitamins and minerals).

What You Can Do About Your BMR

            Knowing your basal metabolic rate, as we mentioned, is important no matter what your nutrition, fitness and weight goals are. Some people may find that their BMR is lower than expected, and there are a few factors that cause this. Unfortunately, some of it is due to genetics. It is possible that genetically, you burn fewer calories. Aside from genetics though, there are a few things you can do to increase your BMR and help it.

First, the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns at rest. As mentioned earlier, one pound of muscle equals 14 calories, where as one pound of fat equals two calories. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body requires. Strength training and increasing your muscle mass can help increase your BMR.

Eating enough, or avoiding “starvation mode” or “fight-or-flight” mode can also help increase your BMR by fueling your body and eating enough calories. According to a study by Live Strong, reducing your calorie can also slowly decrease your metabolism. By making sure you are eating enough for your body to run smoothly, you can avoid this.

Get Started

As mentioned above, Envision Fitness offers freewellness profiles. During these, we can calculate things such as your lean body mass, BMR, metabolic age and more! We can also help calculate your calories and macronutrients to meet your goals. Want to get started? Call us at 952-444-2791 or email us at Hopkins@envisionfitnessmn.com!