Health

Your BMR is the key to losing weight or gaining muscle

Your BMR is the key to losing weight or gaining muscle

If you want to lose body fat, gain muscle or maintain your weight, there is an important health indicator you should know about: basal metabolic rate. Yours BMR is the minimum number calories your body needs to function at rest. You may think you only need energy to exercise or complete tasks, but your body has a specific need for energy just to complete basic functions like breathing and regulating hormone levels.

Your BMR by itself is not a tool for weight loss, but it can be a useful starting point for figuring out how to adjust your diet and exercise goals. The problem with many diets and weight loss programs is that they are “one size fits all”. But every person is different, so taking one meal plan and applying it to multiple people just doesn’t work. Your BMR is calculated based on several different factors that are personal to you, such as your age, gender, current weight, and activity level.

Keep reading to learn what BMR is, how to calculate it, and how it can help you with your diet and exercise goals.

Read more: How many calories do you need to burn each day to lose weight?

BMR calculators use several different factors, such as age and gender, to determine your BMR.

Screenshot by Mercey Livingston/CNET

What is BMR and how to find it?

Many people use BMR as a starting point to calculate their daily calorie needs and how best to adjust them to reach their goals. In fact, many macro calculators, such as the popular ones IIFYMinclude BMR in your calculations to tell you your caloric intake and macro needs based on your goals.

One common misconception about BMR is that it’s the amount of calories your body burns at rest, but that’s a different metric—resting metabolic rate, or (RMR). Your BMR is the energy your body needs to perform basic functions, while RMR is the amount of calories your body burns Burns while at rest. Some people use the measurements interchangeably, but they are not necessarily the same thing.

BMR calculators

There are many different calculators available online that can calculate your estimated BMR. Note that some of them will ask you to enter your body fat percentage, which many people don’t know. If you don’t, you can make an estimate or use the attached pictures (like IIFYM does) to guess.

Some of the best BMR calculators:

BMR and TDEE

When you start learning about your BMR, you’ll likely also find information about your total daily energy expenditure, or TDEEsince BMR is often calculated first to find TDEE.

Your BMR tells you about calories needs, when you take that number plus how much you burn each day during normal activity and exercise, you get your TDEE. So really, TDEE is the number you work to figure out how to adjust macros or calories for body composition goals, according to the IIFYM.


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How to use your BMR to help you lose weight

Losing weight is hardbut using calculators that take your BMR into account is helpful for taking a more tailored approach for you calories and macronutrient needs. The way most BMR-based macros and calculators work is by factoring in your TDEE with your goals.

If you want to lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit, which means that the calculator will adjust your daily food intake to less calories than what you burn. Sometimes when you take an online quiz to find this number, you’ll be asked how fast you’d like to lose weight. Then the caloric deficit will adjust accordingly. The faster you want results, the more extreme you’ll need to cut calories. But many experts say that slow and steady is optimal compared to trying to lose weight quickly.

If you want to maintain your weight rather than lose or gain it, then knowing your BMR and TDEE can help you know how many calories you need to consume per day to maintain your weight. On the other hand, losing weight is gaining muscle mass. This also requires you to approach your diet strategically and add calories to your day (probably in the form of protein and carbs) to ensure you can gain muscle.

More for your health and well-being

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional with any questions you may have about your health condition or health goals.



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