BASAL METABOLIC RATE (BMR) EXPLAINED
Everyone has a minimum number of daily calories that they need to consume in order to function. This minimum number of calories is called the ‘basal metabolic rate’ (BMR). Your BMR is the number of calories your organs need to function while you perform no activity whatsoever. You can think of it as the amount of energy you’d burn if you sat on the sofa all day doing nothing.
Since your basal metabolic rate is based mainly on involuntary functions like breathing and pumping blood, changes in your day-to-day activity don’t do much to raise or lower this number. However, increasing muscle mass does increase BMR, because muscle is metabolically “hungry” and it takes more energy to maintain more muscle. This means that when you have a lot of muscle mass, you’ll burn more calories at rest.
WHY DO YOU NEED TO KNOW YOUR BMR?
Once you know your BMR, you can use it to calculate the calories you actually burn in a day. From there, you can determine how many calories you need to do the following;
- Gain muscle
- Lose fat
- Maintain your weight
The overall number of calories your body uses on a daily basis is referred to as your “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE). It’s determined based on your BMR as well as how active you are throughout the day. This varies significantly based on your activity level, age, and sex. Usually, men have a higher TDEE than women because they have more muscle mass, and both TDEE and BMR tend to fall regardless of gender as you age.
You can use a TDEE calculator to find this number, or calculate it manually to get a more specific result. Keep in mind, though, that it’s impossible to know your exact TDEE, as your activity levels will change day to day, and the only way to get 100 percent accurate BMR numbers is through laboratory testing. You can use our ‘Macro Calculator’ to work out your TDEE by selecting your age, weight, height and how active you are and then selecting ‘performance (Same as TDEE)’ under the ‘Goal’ drop down box
Once you know exactly how many calories / Macros you need, you can easily track your calorie intake for free with the mobile app MyFitnessPal.
HOW TO USE YOUR BMR TO HELP YOU DIET
Once you use our BMR calculator to find out your BMR to determine your TDEE, you can make sure that the nutrition plan you follow is appropriate for your level of energy expenditure and that it isn’t giving you too many or too few calories. Being armed with this knowledge, rather than guesstimating or blindly following a plan without scaling it to your individual needs, can make or break your muscle gains or fat loss.
You can use our ‘Macro Diet Calculator’ to workout exactly how many calories you need to consume, broken down by grams of Protein, Carbohydrates and fats you need in order to achieve your goal.