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Basal Metabolic Rate: Starting Point For Weight Loss Plan
your Basal metabolic rate It is a tool used by trainers and nutritionists 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 a resting organism consumes in carrying out its basic functions”. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is a measure of the energy required to sustain the body at rest. It’s the calories you burn doing nothing (other than presiding over your body’s basic functions like digestion, circulation, breathing, etc.). This is nature’s way of preventing you from growing infinitely large. But how does basal metabolic rate help us start a weight loss program?
Basal metabolic rate is the reference point used to determine our minimum daily caloric needs. We can calculate 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 for 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
Her basal metabolic rate is 1,422. That means this woman burns 1,422 calories to keep her body functioning. So what do coaches (or you) do with this information? This number represents the minimum number of calories you need to consume each day to sustain yourself. But what if you want to lose weight? You have to cut your calories, right? is wrong
When you cut calories, your body naturally responds by slowing down its calorie burn to protect itself from starvation. Even if you eat less, your weight will stay the same. If you eat the same calories but exercise more it works, right? If your body works too hard and doesn’t get much energy, it will slow down your calorie burn and your results will be insignificant. So does that mean you should eat more calories? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Not according to Josh Bezzoni, fitness expert and co-founder of BioTrust Nutrition. He says, “Exercise raises the metabolism. Eating raises the metabolism. The trick is to learn to balance the two so that you still create a negative calorie balance.”
Let’s say you calculate your basal metabolic rate and it allows you to burn 2000 calories per day. Knowing this, you go on a diet and start eating 1500 calories a day which creates a 500 deficit. That sounds good, but eating less can lower your metabolism.
Now let’s change a few things. Your basal metabolic rate will still allow you to burn 2000 calories per day. But, instead of cutting your calories to 1500, you start eating 300 more calories each day but you burn 800 extra calories through exercise. The result? You’ll get the same 500 calorie deficit (2800 calories burned – 2300 calories consumed) but you’ll do so while increasing your metabolism by eating more and exercising. This process is especially helpful for those with a low basal metabolic rate due to calorie restriction and a sedentary lifestyle. (By the way, a 500-calorie deficit per day can result in a 1-pound weight loss per week.)
Basal metabolic rate provides a good baseline for minimum calories. Obviously, proper diet and exercise are critical to your success. An exercise program that includes a diet of sugary foods and/or endless walking on a treadmill can make weight loss difficult. But if you use your BMR as a starting point, don’t go below that level and add diet and exercise to create a calorie deficit.
A basal metabolic rate will get you started. The next step is lifestyle change. A diet high in vegetables, fruits, lean protein sources, nuts and seeds (less) combined with strength training, which includes both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, is a good formula to follow for weight loss and good health in general. Some sports can give you a full body workout. A good starting point in developing a weight loss plan is to calculate your basal metabolic rate.
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