Lose WeightWhat is the Basal Metabolic Rate, how to calculate it and what...

What is the Basal Metabolic Rate, how to calculate it and what it is for?

The Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is an ideal parameter in weight loss diets, helping to know how much the person should lose weight or how much exercise they should do. Find out how to easily calculate it at home.

As you surely know, the so-called Body Mass Index (BMI) has become one of the most used measures when it comes to finding out if a person is at a normal weight, or is nevertheless overweight or obese.

It basically consists of a measure of association between the mass of a person and his height, calculated according to the operation mass (which is expressed in kilograms) divided by the square of the height (which is expressed in meters squared). This value is then identified in the WHO classification of nutritional status according to BMI.

The value obtained assumes the person’s Body Mass Index, which is not constant, but actually varies depending on the age and sex of the individual, as well as on the proportions of both muscle and adipose tissue.

However, as argued by scientists such as the mathematician Keith Devlin it would actually be a useless calculation for the evaluation of health, although convenient but consistent, however, in an inaccurate measure of weight.

For this reason, over the years, other parameters and measures have been developed that can be extremely useful in this regard. This is the case of the Basal Metabolic Rate (or BMR). And it is that we are faced with another useful parameter in weight loss diets, although it is true that it tends to be less known than the body mass index.

What is the Basal Metabolic Rate?

It consists of the amount of calories that the body needs to function at its most basic level; that is, in a state of rest. In other words: it is the amount of daily calories necessary to maintain the basic functions of our body.

It is a good option to know how many calories our body burns without doing any type of exercise or complementary physical activity.

It was developed in 1919 by James Arthur Harris and Francis Gano Benedict, at which time it was known as the Harris-Benedict method. Later other methods appeared.

For the calculation, different personal elements are used, such as: sex, age in years, and height in centimeters and weight in kilograms.

How is it calculated?

Although there are different ways to calculate the Basal Metabolic Rate, the most accurate is the Harris-Benedict equation revised in 1990 by Mifflin and St Jeor. Is the next:

In men: BMR = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) + 5

In women: BMR = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) – 161

Since this calculation only shows the minimum consumption of our body, it is now necessary to calculate the energy expenditure based on our lifestyle. And it is not the same to be an athletic runner than, for example, working 8 hours a day in an office sitting in front of the computer.

For this, it is useful to calculate the recommended daily calorie intake for a person to maintain their current weight:

  • Little or no exercise: Daily calories needed = BMR x 1.2
  • Light exercise (1-3 days a week): Daily calories needed = BMR x 1,375
  • Moderate exercise (3-5 days a week): Daily calories needed = BMR x 1.55
  • Strong exercise (6-7 days a week): Daily calories needed = BMR x 1,725
  • Very strong exercise (twice a day): Daily calories needed = BMR x 1.9

By doing this last calculation we will know the calories we need to maintain our current weight, and in turn help us to choose the diet that best suits us. On the other hand, it is also useful to know how much physical exercise we should include in our day to day to, for example, lose weight.



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