Their basal metabolic rate it is a tool that trainers and nutritionists use as a starting point when developing a weight loss program. We all know what basal metabolism is: the dictionary defines it as “the amount of energy consumed by an organism at rest simply to maintain its basic functions.” Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is a measure of the energy required to keep the body at rest. They are the calories you burn doing nothing (apart from presiding over basic functions of your body like digestion, circulation, breathing, etc., of course). It’s nature’s way of keeping you from getting infinitely bigger. But how does the basal metabolic rate help us start a weight loss program?
Basal metabolic rate is a reference point used to determine our minimum daily caloric needs. We can calculate the BMR using simple arithmetic according to this formula:
Male: 66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years) Female: 655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4. 7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
To illustrate, let’s calculate the basal metabolic rate of a 40-year-old woman who is 5’6 tall and weighs 150 pounds:
655 + (4.3 x 150) + (4.7 x 66) – (4.7 x 40) = 655 + 645 + 310 – 188 = 1,422 calories
His basal metabolic rate is 1.422. That means this woman burns 1,422 calories keeping her body running. So what does a coach (or you) do with this information? This number represents the minimum calories she needs to consume daily to maintain herself. But what if you want to lose weight? You should cut your calories, right? Wrong.
When you cut back on calories, your body naturally reacts by slowing down calorie burning to ward off hunger. Even though you are eating less, your weight stays the same. If you eat the same calories but exercise more, that should work, right? If your body works harder and doesn’t get more energy, again, it will slow down the calorie burn and the results will be negligible. So does that mean you have to eat more calories? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Not according to Josh Bezoni, fitness expert and co-founder of BioTrust Nutrition. He says, “Exercise increases metabolism. Eating increases metabolism. The trick is learning to balance the two so you still create a negative calorie balance.”
Let’s say it calculates your basal metabolic rate and allows you to burn 2,000 calories a day. Knowing this, you go on a diet and start eating 1,500 calories a day, which creates a deficit of 500. That might seem like a good thing, but eating too little just slows down your metabolism.
Now we are going to change some things. Your basal metabolic rate still allows you to burn 2,000 calories a day. But instead of cutting his calories to 1,500, he starts eating 300 more calories each day, but also burns an additional 800 calories through exercise. The result? You get the same 500 calorie deficit (2,800 calories burned – 2,300 calories consumed) but do so while increasing your metabolism by eating and exercising more. This process is especially useful for those who have a low basal metabolic rate due to caloric restriction and a sedentary lifestyle. (By the way, a deficit of 500 calories per day results in a weight loss of 1 pound per week.)
Basal metabolic rate provides a good baseline for minimal calories. Obviously, the right foods and exercise are crucial to your success. A diet of sugary foods and/or an exercise program that involves walking non-stop on a treadmill will make it difficult to lose weight. But if you use your BMR as a starting point, you’ll know not to go below that level and add food and exercise accordingly to create a calorie deficit.
Basal metabolic rate helps you get started. The next step is lifestyle changes. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean protein sources, seeds and nuts (in moderation) combined with strength training that involves both aerobic and anaerobic exercise is a good formula to follow for weight loss and overall good health. Certain sports can also give you a great full-body workout. The best starting point for developing a weight loss plan is calculating your Basal Metabolic Rate.