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Weight Loss 101: BMR and Your Daily Intake

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Think you should run a marathon only to burn off breakfast, lunch and dinner? Believe again. The body needs a substantial amount of energy (i.e. calories) simply to work consistently. Every day, your body must breathe, blink, circulate blood, control body temperature, grow new cells, support contract muscles and nerve and brain action. Staying living is hard work, folks! The amount of energy (in the form of calories) that the body needs to work while resting for 24 hours is known as the basal metabolic rate, or BMR. This amount of calories represents how much energy your body requires to support body functions that are critical if, hypothetically, you were resting in bed for an entire day. In fact, your BMR is the single biggest component (upwards of 60 percent) of your overall energy burned each day. BMR stands for basal metabolic rate and represents the variety of calories you’d burn in a day if you stayed in bed all day and were inactive. Our BMR calculator allows you to calculate not only the number of calories you burn when inactive but also a daily calorie figure that considers your lifestyle activity level. These two figures together give you a representative figure for your daily calorie intake. The BMR tool uses two formulas to calculate amounts:
  1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): This rule takes basic variants such as weight, your age and height and supplies you with the number of calories you might burn off each day if you were inactive for that day.
  2. We use the original Harris Benedict Formula to calculate your daily calorie burn based upon your activity level. The computation is pretty straight forward, taking your BMR and multiplying it by a set amount based by how energetic you are.

Mifflin St. Jeor Equation

For guys: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5

For girls: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) – 161

“You’ll want to use a BMR as a rough estimate to establish your basic needs,” says Dr. Jennifer Sacheck, Ph.D, an associate professor of nutrition at Tufts University and coauthor of Thinner This Year. She notes that this won’t vary too much for a male or female of exactly the same age and body weight. Why the emphasis on weight, stature, age and sex?

Weight and height: “The more mass you’ve got, the more fuel you must support larger organs,” notes Dr. Sacheck, explaining why heavier and taller people have a higher BMR. Your BMR falls, when you slim down and you need fewer calories each day. By comparison, when you gain dense, heavier muscle, your BMR will improve.

Age: According to Dr. Sacheck, metabolic rate decreases as you age because muscle mass decrease by five to 10 percent each decade after the age of 30. Fortunately, it’s not a particular fate for the over-30 crowd. “We can mitigate that when we’re participated in strength training,” says Dr. Sacheck. She urges circuit training that incorporates total-body resistance exercises (believe lunges, squats, core work on a balance ball). “Strength training person muscle groups in isolation won’t be as effective in strengthening your body for daily movement that constantly comprises a mixture of muscle groups.

Sex: Since body composition (ratios of lean muscle, bone and fat) differ between men and women, research demonstrates a woman’s BMR is commonly around five to 10 percent lower than a man’s.

Keep in mind, unless you have sophisticated tools to assess your respiration or you’re carefully monitoring your heart rate, you can’t compute precisely how many calories you’re burning with digestion and exercise . Plus, Dr. Sacheck notes that pressure levels and illness can also somewhat or rather change your BMR. However, a formula-based estimate is a good place to start if you desire to keep your diet in check.

Energy, Explained

Knowing your BMR, you can make a more realistic guess of your total daily energy expenditure, or TDEE. This reflects the entire number of calories, or energy, your body burns off during a specified day when you’re sleeping, ingesting and digesting food, exercising and working. To actually represent the energy you’re glowing, TDEE takes into account two additional aspects.
  1. Thermic Effect of Activity (TEA): This is the number of calories burned while exercising. The more intensely your muscles are working — sprinting during periods or contracting while lifting weights — the more calories you’ll burn. And if you’ve finished a higher intensity workout, your body will need to work even more difficult to replenish its oxygen stores, resulting in an afterburn effect referred to as EPOC.
  2. “It’s only roughly three to five percent of your daily calorie needs,” Dr. Sacheck says, noting that proteins and fiber have the highest thermic effect, meaning they require the most number of calories to digest per calorie consumed.
How do we set a number on our TDEE? Taking into account your activity level and BMR, the calculators below can give an approximation of how much fuel your body requires. Note: If weight loss is your goal, you’ll want to create a calorie deficit. Aim to consume 90% of your TDEE.

The Takeaway

Knowing your BMR is significant no matter if your aim would be to lose weight, increase muscle, run more challenging or even taper from a training plan. It’s the first step to getting an idea of how much fuel you must keep your engine roaring. The next step is deciding which meals that are healthful match up with your TDEE and leave you satisfied and energized. When your body fluctuates or you alter your exercise routine, revisit the BMR calculator to know if you should be eating more or less. When in doubt, talk to your physician or nutritionist to be sure you’re on the correct track.
Andy Tong

The author Andy Tong

An authority on food psychology, Wansink is most beneficial known for his work on consumer behavior and for popularizing terms such as "mindless eating" and "health halos. " He authored the best-selling book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (Bantam, 2006). Wansink participated in the first two editions of Best Diets.