What Actually Basal Metabolic Rate Means? – A Quick Answer

What actually Basal Metabolic rate means?

Basal Metabolic Rate is referred to as ‘BMR ‘ n a short form. If you are new to fitness and especially if you are looking for weight loss as your primary target, believe me… the whole science of weight loss revolves around the term ‘BMR’.

If you really want to get noticeable results in weight loss and fitness regime, you need to revolve your whole program around BMR.

Let us understand what actually basal metabolic rate means? 

In technical terms, as per National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI),

the Basal Metabolic rate refers to the rate at which the body burns calories when an individual has not exercised for the last 24 hours free from any emotional stress and gone through the complete rest overnight especially.

In simple words, BMR means the number of calories your body needs for the most basic functioning of vital organs such as kidney, liver, heart, blood circulation and breathing.




There is another term coined similar to RMR which means resting metabolic rate. However, RMR is measured for an individual when he is awake for 12 hours at least without exercising in the thermoneutral state (no change in temperature. RMR is easy to calculate than BMR and seems more practical. Isn’t it! 



BMR doesn’t take in to account the total calories you spend in a day. As other than basic body functions, there are a lot more activities like walking, running, day to day activities.

The extra calories in addition to BMR give you an overview of how many calories you burn in a day. Once you know calorie output as above, input calories need to be monitored for effective weight loss.

Check out a quick video explaining What actually basal metabolic rate means…



Factors Affecting Basal Metabolic Rate –

Everybody in this world wishes to have a higher BMR for weight loss. Can we control BMR?

For this query, you need to understand the factors affecting it.

Here I am briefly going to cover those factors.

Basal metabolic rate is hugely depending upon your body composition. By body composition I mean the proportion of muscle as compared to fat mass.

The reason is quite simple, muscle mass requires many more calories to maintain and grow them as compared to fat because muscles do take a lot more effort to build them. Right!


This is the reason, as per the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI),


Older adults (>70 years) have lower BMR than young adults by as much as 20% -25%.


The adults with Body Mass Index (BMI)>30 (obese people) have the lowest BMR due to very high Fat as compared to muscle mass.



Now, you can understand the importance of BMR in your fitness and weight loss goals. You may be wondering about how to calculate the basal metabolic rate in the first place.


Technically speaking, you will have to go without eating for the next 24 hours sleeping inside a room without any physical activity and make use of some device to measure your calories.


Looks horrible… WAIT…

If you don’t want to measure your exact BMR which I think, you should avoid it as it is not practical. Here is a recommended method by making use of the Harris-Benedict formula which takes into account weight, height, age, and gender…



BMR = 655 + (9.6 × weight in kg) + (1.8 × height in cm) – (4.7 × age in years)



BMR = 66 + (13.7 × weight in kg) + (5 × height in cm) – (6.8 × age in years)

Just enter your details and get the closest possible result for your body type.


NOTE – Here is a handy BMR calculator from bodybuilding.com based on the above formula. Just fill details and get prompt results.


As Per Wikipedia,

The Basal metabolic rate accounts for about 60% to 75% of the daily calorie expenditure by individuals.


So, as above, once you know your approximate BMR values, then you can move to the next step which is TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). TDEE is inclusive of BMR and calories from your other physical activities.


As per a study, on average women have BMR of about 1400 calories and men have on average BMR of 1800 calories.

Next article coming soon on TDEE… 

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