What is Metabolic Rate?
Losing weight effectively requires a good understanding of your body. Your metabolic rate is simply a measure of how fast you burn calories.
Many overweight people are overweight, in part, because their metabolic rate is slow. Speeding up your metabolic rate, therefore, is a good way to speed weight loss.
Another reason it’s important to understand your metabolic rate is to help you determine how many calories you should be eating. To gain weight, you need more calories than you burn. To lose weight you need less. To determine how many calories you need, you must first start with how many calories your body needs. That’s why understanding your BMR and RMR is important.
BMR – The Basal Metabolic Rate
Your basal metabolic rate shows about the number of calories you need in 24 hours if you have no physical activity at all. Calculating your BMR requires that you fast and have the measurement taken as soon as you wake up in the morning. It is the measure of the calories your body must have just to operate.
RMR – Resting Metabolic Rate
Your RMR is almost the same thing. Knowing your RMR helps you know the minimum number of calories you need for your body to perform its functions. The primary difference is that your resting metabolic rate does not require you to fast before the test or to take it upon waking.
For most dieters, understanding the RMR is all that is required to make an accurate enough prediction of your metabolic rate for dieting purposes.
Your RMR is affected by several conditions including:
- Your weight
- Your age
- How much muscle mass you have
As we age, our resting metabolic rate decreases, and medications can affect it too.
Knowing your RMR helps you because you can use it to calculate how many calories you should eat and how much you should exercise in order to lose or maintain your weight. You can add more calories for your activities, such as your exercise but you should never fall below your base RMR.
When you fall below your RMR your body begins to think it is starving and may lower your metabolic below what it was before you began dieting. This slows your weight loss. You’ll lose weight best when you get at least the number of calories resting metabolic rate says you need.
Your RMR can be determined precisely in a lab. But, there are also online calculators that can calculate your RMR close enough to help most dieters achieve their goals.