What is RMR? The rule of thumb is to consume fewer calories by dieting and burn excess calories through exercise when it comes to losing weight. If it were really that easy, though, nobody would have any weight loss struggles.
Often, people who find it difficult to lose weight are thought to have a “slow metabolism.” But what exactly does that mean? Rather than thinking of metabolism in terms of slow or fast, it’s better to identify an individual’s resting metabolic rate
What Is RMR?
Resting metabolic rate is the amount of energy burned by the body while it’s at rest. Typically, it refers to the minimum number of calories required to fuel the most fundamental processes to stay alive, such as breathing, heartbeat, digestion, and more.
An individual’s RMR can vary depending on a variety of factors. For example, children and adolescents require more calories to support skeletal and muscular growth. However, taller people tend to require more calories than smaller people to maintain and support bodily processes. Athletes will also require more calories than the average person because they need energy for training and maintaining muscle mass.
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To make things even more complicated, men and women have different caloric needs due to differences in hormones and body composition. Every single person has their own unique RMR, which is one reason why there’s no “one size fits all” approach to weight loss.
Why Is Resting Metabolic Rate Important for Weight Loss?
According to the experts at Fitmate, “a calorie deficit is an essential component of any good weight loss plan.” To burn more calories than they consume, people must first know their minimum caloric needs. This is where knowing one’s RMR becomes useful. If an individual determines their RMR is 2,000 calories per day, then they immediately know several things about themselves, like:
- Their body requires 2,000 calories/day to maintain their current weight
- They must eat less than 2,000 calories/day to lose weight and/or burn more calories by exercising more often
- They must consume more than 2,000 calories/day to gain weight
Basically, what a calorie deficit is will depend on an individual’s RMR. In turn, knowing one’s own RMR is required for building a diet and exercise plan that actually works.
How to Determine Resting Metabolic Rate
It’s possible to calculate the resting metabolic rate with a mathematical formula or online calculator using one’s own height, weight, and age. This method is convenient and free but doesn’t account for other variables that aren’t included in the formula, such as lifestyle habits, local climate, and personal stress levels, all of which can affect someone’s RMR.
Today, the best way to determine RMR accurately is to undergo a resting metabolic rate test. This non-invasive test uses a respiration mask or hood that measures oxygen and carbon dioxide in a person’s breath. Those values are then used to calculate RMR.
There’s a lot of science involved in weight loss, and RMR is just one piece of the overall puzzle. If calorie output is the key to weight loss, then figuring one’s own RMR is the first step towards creating a calorie deficit.