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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Knowing and Using Your Resting Metabolic Rate

By Dan Patterson

In many ways you could say that gaining or losing weight is really just a matter of simple math. The numbers or variables in this equation are the number of calories you eat or consume and the number of calories that your burn each day.

So by taking this example of simple math, if one of the variables in the equation is greater than the other, than it is rather predictable (over a longer period of time) what the effect on your body is. If you eat or consume more calories than you burn each day, then over time you should gain weight. If you burn more calories that you eat or consume each day, then over time you should lose weight.

No matter what you do during the day, you are burning calories. Different activities burn different amounts of calories, and also at a different rate. So, what is your average rate of just naturally burning calories? That’s where the Resting Metabolic Rate comes in, also known as RMR. Here’s how to calculate your RMR:

RMR = [Lean Body Mass in lbs] / 2.205 X 30.4

First find out what your lean body mass is (in other words, check your body fat percentage and calculate you lean body mass), divide that by 2.205, and then multiply that by 30.4. That will give you a good idea of what your RMR is.

So how do you use this information? Well, if you are trying to lose weight, then you need to eat less than your RMR. If you are trying to gain weight, then you should be eating more calories than your RMR. One thing to keep in mind with this is that the RMR doesn’t necessarily take into account extra calories burned by doing exercise. The concept is mainly based on the fact that if you have more lean body mass (more muscle), your body will work more efficiently and naturally burn more calories rather than a body that has less muscle. RMR is only to be used as a guide to help you make some plans for your lifetime fitness goals.

Here’s one way of how to use this information: Let’s say that for example you find that your RMR is at 2000, but you also do weight lifting or cardio each day that burns an average of 500 extra calories because of the extra work you do. So in this case, your base level of calories you should consume just to maintain your weight over time is around 2500 calories. Using this type of information can really help you to plan out your nutritional goals.

Dan Patterson is an editor of BodyFitnessInfo.com, a site that offers free information on many health related topics, including weight loss help and how to gain muscle.

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