Determining your basal metabolic rate

There are days when nothing sounds better than lounging in pj’s and catching up on  Chicago Fire.  Add a little ice cream and life is good, right?!  Even though you didn’t make it to the gym…or move from the couch…your body is still working hard.

Ok, so it isn’t working as hard as it does during that tough kick boxing class.  But, pumping blood, firing neurons, digesting food, and exchanging oxygen for CO2 expends energy.

Ever wonder how many calories you’re burning on those days when you’re doing little of nothing?

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body innately burns during an inactive state.

Similar to resting heart rate or body mass index, there are several factors that play a role in this number: age, gender, even muscle tone (lean muscle burns more calories than fat at rest- another reason to move off the couch!).

How do you figure out this mostly accurate BMR number? 665 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – 4.7 x (age in years)

men: 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

Too much math? You can always use the BMR calculator instead.

Remember, your BMR does not factor activity or exercise.  Basal Metaboic Rate determines the number of calories your body needs to support itself if you were to chill in bed for 24 hours.

Why is this number important? It’s a good baseline for setting, or maintaining, health & fitness goals.

Wondering approximately how many calories your body burns when active?  This chart* will help…

  • Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
  • Lightly active (easy exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): BMR x 1.375
  • Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): BMR x 1.55
  • Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week): BMR x 1.725
  • Extremely active (very hard exercise/sports and physical job): BMR x 1.9

Remember, these numbers are not exact. But they do offer a better understanding of your body’s needs.


Chilling Out photo credit
Math Guy photo credit
*Activity chart credit



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