BMR: Why It Matters

Is it possible to lose weight if you stay in bed all the time and do nothing? Sure, as long as you eat just enough to stay alive.

What is BMR?

The energy needed for our body to function at rest, while doing nothing, is called basal metabolic rate or BMR. It is the energy needed for our heart, brain, kidneys and other organs to operate and keep us alive. Simply put, this is the number of calories you’d burn if you stayed in bed all day. It does not include exercise, typing on the computer, yard work, walking, talking, sitting, driving your car, shopping or even thinking for that matter. Yet, your BMR is important because it accounts for 60% to 70% of calories you burn each day. Nearly two thirds of the calories you burn every day are the result of your BMR which includes calories burned for basic bodily functions such as breathing, blood circulation and maintenance of body temperature. So many people don’t realize this, but BMR is truly a key factor in weight loss. 

Why is it important to know our Basal Metabolic Rate?

We are all different and we spend different amount of food to provide energy for our basic functions. Once we know our basal metabolic rate, we can also calculate how much we need to eat in order to keep healthy weight. Basal metabolic rate is calculated while we are at rest, when we do not spend energy for any activity except for the basic functions for our survival. Basal metabolic rate depends on our sex, age, weight and height. Once we know how much energy (food) we need to survive, we can also calculate how much calories from food we need per day, depending on our lifestyle, kind of work we do and the amount of physical exercise.

Things that Affect BMR


Diet is something you can control and just about everyone knows their diet is important for weight loss, but did you know that reducing your calorie intake too much can result in your BMR dropping as much as 20 to 30%? You need to create a calorie deficit if you want to lose weight, but you have to be careful that you don’t reduce your calorie intake too much or your BMR will decrease. It doesn’t make sense to go on an extreme calorie reduction diet that causes your BMR to also decrease. The smarter way to lose weight is to reduce your calorie intake more moderately and then to also increase your calories burned by exercising more. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) says that the daily calorie level consumed for women should never drop below 1200 calories per day and 1800 calories per day for men. In, some cases this may still even be too much of a reduction and could cause your BMR to drop significantly.

Lean Body Mass

The most prominent factor that affects your BMR….lean body mass. Simply put, the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn. Many women are afraid of lifting heavy weights out of fear of gaining weight. Unfortunately, this myth really does a lot of damage by persuading a lot women not to strength train.

The reality is that the only way to gain weight is to consume more calories than you burn.

Weightlifting burns calories and does not cause weight gain. If you gain weight during a strength training program it is not from the weightlifting, but instead comes from the excess calories you have consumed or temporary water weight gain. Without a positive caloric balance it is impossible to gain bodyweight. Let’s look at it this way, regardless, if you weight train or not, you will gain weight if you consume more calories than you burn each day. These extra calories will mainly be turned into body fat by the person who does not train with weights, while the same extra calories consumed by the person who trains with weights will be used to create new muscle tissue. You might be thinking that you would rather do cardio instead of lift weights to burn those extra calories. But remember, lifting weights develops lean muscle mass and since muscle takes up about one third the space of fat, you will not only look leaner, but will also increase your BMR. Since your BMR is responsible for most of the calories you burn each day you would be foolish not to take advantage of the best way to increase it. And guess what? Increasing your lean body mass increases your BMR and that translates to burning more calories all day long, even while you’re sleeping.


As you age, incorporating a thorough weight lifting program becomes even more important because your BMR will decrease about 2% every decade after the age of 20. This may not seem like a lot, but a 2% decrease for a person with a BMR of 1500 means they would burn 30 calories per day less than they did the decade before. This translates into a weight gain of nearly 3 pounds per year without taking into account any increase in calories consumed or decrease in their activities or exercise routine. This best way to counter the decrease in your BMR as you age is to increase your lean body mass and turn your body into a fat burning machine all day long!

Formula for Calculating BMR

There are many automatic calculators of basal metabolic rate available online, but if you want to know how it is calculated, here is the formula, different for women and men:

Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

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

Of course, this formula works for most people but not all. One variable that is not taken into consideration is lean body mass. Muscles spend more energy for survival than fat tissue, so people with lean, mean bodies need more energy to survive. That also means that obese people, who have much more fat tissues than muscle mass, need less energy to live, and have lower basal metabolic rate.   So, now you understand why some of your friends can eat anything and stay lean. Not only that they spend a lot of calories while exercising and building all those muscles, but muscles themselves burn calories even while doing nothing.   If you ever needed a reminder why exercising is so important, this is just another one of many. Basal metabolic rate can be calculated using the formula based on sex, age, weight and height, and the obtained result is fairly accurate.

Click here to calculate your BMR online:

How to Use BMR for Weight Loss

To lose weight, you have to consume fewer calories than you burn. If you’re in the normal weight range and only want to lose 5 to 10 pounds, you need to take 500 to 700 calories from your maintenance level. For overweight individuals, this rises to 700 to 1,000 calories daily, while obese persons can go for a 1,000 to 1,500 per day deficit. You don’t want to try for a bigger deficit than this, however, as going too low with your calorie intake can lead to lethargy, reduced immune function, an unhealthy relationship with food and large gains in weight post-diet.

Basically, figure out what your BMR is, subtract 500-1000 calories, and do not go below 1200 calories a day for easy, healthy weight loss.


How Body Fat Affects Your Health

The term ‘body fat’ is a familiar one. However, most people associate this word to obesity, cholesterol and an unhealthy constitution. Although excess body fat content can have severe implications, the body requires a specific content of body fat for various metabolic and structural functions.

What is body fat?

The term body fat refers to the excess fat stored by the body. Basically body fat is a store of energy that has not yet been utilized by the body; body fat is created when one ingests a greater amount of calories than that which is required to carry out the day to day functions of the body. The excess calories are stored as fat throughout the body and is classified as both essential body fat and nonessential body fat.

Essential body fat is required by the body to function properly; it is responsible for the regulation of body temperature, optimal functioning and cushioning of the internal organs and also as an emergency source of energy during illness.

Body fat is produced in the body through the absorption of fats present in the food consumed. As the body breaks down these fats, two byproducts are released into the body – glycerol and fatty acids. The liver processes glycerol into glucose and stores it as a stock of energy. Fatty acids provide energy for all major tissues, especially for the cardiac muscles and the skeletal muscles. So, it is very important to include appropriate amounts of fatty substances in the diet.

Here are a few major functions of body fats:

– Body fats help to maintain healthy skin and hair.

– To maintain the right body temperature, it is essential to have adequate body fat.

– Body fats are the storehouses of energy in the body.

– Body fats are necessary to ensure the smooth functioning of cells.

– Body fats have a cushioning effect on organs and tissues.

– Body fats act as a shock absorber for bones.

– The body will not be able to absorb many vital vitamins like A, E, D and K unless they are able to combine with fats.

– Body fats are also believed to act as immunity boosters to protect the body from ailments.

Too Much Body Fat – Why Is It Undesirable?Fat Loss Vs. Weight Loss Lose to Win: How To Lose Fat Instead of Weight. To lose weight: means you want to decrease the number on the scale, which weighs your body, which is made up of muscles, organs, fat and bones. To lose weight you simply have to restrict calories. To lose fat: means you want to decrease the amount of fat that is in your body, it is responsible for increasing the size. To lose fat, you have to control your hormones.:

Although the body cannot function smoothly without body fat, it is also important to remember that too much of body fat can negatively affect the body. Very often, the fats absorbed by the body do not burn off but get stored in the body.

Such accumulation of body fats may lead to obesity that can then set off many other health issues like breathing difficulties, arthritis and heart disease.

To prevent problems associated with too much body fat, one must be aware of the current body fat percentage in the body and the ideal percentage required. According to the American Council on Exercise, body fat must ideally constitute 14 – 17 percentage of the total weight of a man. In the case of women, body fat must be around 21 – 24 percentage of total weight.

Knowing the exact fat percentage in your body can help in setting realistic weight loss plans. With the various fat measurement techniques available today, it is very easy to keep track of the body fat and adopt steps to a healthy lifestyle. Some of the most popular fat measurement methods are Body Fat Scales, Navy Method, Hydrostatic Weighing and Skinfold Calipers.

How Does Body Fat Loss Differ From Weight Loss?

Body fat loss and weight loss are two completely different concepts. Consider an instance of two individuals belonging to the same age group – an athletically built person and a normal person. Due to the extra weight of muscles, the athletic person may weigh more than his counterpart. However, the second person’s weight may be related to a higher content of body fat. Obviously, this person will be more vulnerable to weight-related issues than the athletic person. Therefore, it is important to lose body fat rather than trying to lose body weight. With new methods that measure body fat percentage, you can get an accurate report of your body fat and the amount you must lose or gain to remain fit and healthy.

When trying weight loss plans to lose body fat, it is best to adopt a plan that combines a good exercise regimen with a healthy diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and a minimum of processed carbohydrates. You should keep the body fat levels to the ideal percentage and enjoy more health and happiness in your life.


Snooze to Lose ZzZzZ

Looking for a quick, easy way to lose weight (or at least prevent gain)?


Get some sleep.

Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles. Studies have shown that adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.

Turns out, we might not actually we losing when we snooze.

Reasons Why You Need a Good Night’s Sleep:

Sleep Controls Your Diet

The debate about the best way to achieve a healthy weight always revolves around eating and movement. If you want to look better, the most common suggestion is “eat less and move more.” But it’s not that simple, or even accurate. Sometimes you want to eat less and move more, but it seems impossible to do so. And there might be a good reason: Between living your life, working, and exercising, you’re forgetting to sleep enough. Or maybe, more importantly, you don’t realize that sleep is the key to being rewarded for your diet and fitness efforts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35 percent of people are sleep deprived. And when you consider that the statistic for obesity is nearly identical, it’s easy to connect the dots and discover that the connection is not a coincidence.

92c2bdb4dfe9675a0a6ac6a8121e9556Not sleeping enough—less than seven hours of sleep per night—can reduce and undo the benefits of dieting, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. In the study, dieters were put on different sleep schedules. When their bodies received adequate rest, half of the weight they lost was from fat. However when they cut back on sleep, the amount of fat lost was cut in half—even though they were on the same diet. What’s more, they felt significantly hungrier, were less satisfied after meals, and lacked energy to exercise. Overall, those on a sleep-deprived diet experienced a 55 percent reduction in fat loss compared to their well-rested counterparts.

Poor Sleep Changes Your Fat Cells

Think about the last time you had a bad night of sleep. How did you feel when you woke up? Exhausted. Dazed. Confused. Maybe even a little grumpy? It’s not just your brain and body that feel that way—your fat cells do too. When your body is sleep deprived, it suffers from “metabolic grogginess.” Within just four days of sleep deprivation, your body’s ability to properly use insulin (the master storage hormone) becomes completely disrupted. In fact, insulin sensitivity dropped by more than 30 percent.

Here’s why that’s bad: When your insulin is functioning well, fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from your blood stream and prevent storage. When you become more insulin resistant, fats (lipids) circulate in your blood and pump out more insulin. Eventually this excess insulin ends up storing fat in all the wrong places, such as tissues like your liver. And this is exacfdhtly how you become fat and suffer from diseases like diabetes.

Lack of Rest Makes You Crave Food

Many people believe that hunger is related to willpower and learning to control the call of your stomach, but that’s incorrect.

Hunger is controlled by two hormones: leptin and ghrelin.

Leptin is a hormone that is produced in your fat cells. The less leptin you produce, the more your stomach feels empty. The more ghrelin you produce, the more you stimulate hunger while also reducing the amount of calories you burn (your metabolism) and increasing the amount fat you store. In other words, you need to control leptin and ghrelin to successfully lose weight, but sleep deprivation makes that nearly impossible.

Sleep loss creates an internal battle that makes it nearly impossible to lose weight. When you don’t sleep enough, your cortisol levels rise. This is the stress hormone that is frequently associated with fat gain.

Lack of sleep also pushes you in the direction of the foods you know you shouldn’t eat. Turns out, sleep deprivation is a little like being drunk. You just don’t have the mental clarity to make good complex decisions, specifically with regards to the foods you eat—or foods you want to avoid. This isn’t helped by the fact that when you’re overtired, you also have increased activity in the amygdala, the reward region of your brain. This is why sleep deprivation destroys all diets; think of the amygdala as mind control—it makes you crave high-calorie foods.

And if all that wasn’t enough,  sleep deprivation makes you select greater portion sizes of all foods, further increasing the likelihood of weight gain.

Sleep Sabotages Gym Time

Unfortunately the disastrous impact spreads beyond diet and into your workouts. No matter what your fitness goals are, having some muscle on your body is important. Muscle is the enemy of fat—it helps you burn fat and stay young. But sleep (or lack thereof) is the enemy of muscle because sleep debt decreases protein synthesis (your body’s ability to make muscle), causes muscle loss, and can lead to a higher incidence of injuries.

Just as important, lack of sleep makes it harder for your body to recover from exercise by slowing down the production of growth hormone—your natural source of anti-aging and fat burning that also facilitates recovery.

If you’re someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy exercise, not prioritizing sleep will make something you don’t particularly enjoy almost unbearable. When you’re suffering from slept debt, everything you do feels more challenging, specifically your workouts.

The Secret: Prioritize Sleep

The connection between sleep and weight gain is hard to ignore.  And with all of the connections to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, and cognitive failure, the need to sleep goes far beyond just looking better and seeing results from your diet and exercise efforts.

Aim for: 7-9 hours of sleep every night

While there’s no hard number that applies to all people, a good rule of thumb is to receive between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, and to make sure that one poor night of sleep isn’t followed up with a few more. It might not seem like much, but it could make all the difference and mean more than any other health decision you make.