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Basal Metabolic Rate: Starting Point For Weight Loss Plan
yours basal metabolic rate is a tool that trainers and nutritionists use as a starting point when developing a weight loss program. We all know what basal metabolism is – the dictionary defines it as “the amount of energy consumed by a resting organism just in maintaining its basic functions”. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is a measure of the energy required to maintain the body at rest. Those are the calories you burn while doing nothing (of course, except for the main functions of your body, such as digestion, circulation, breathing, etc.). It’s nature’s way of keeping you from unlimited growth. But how does basal metabolic rate help us start a weight loss program?
Basal metabolic rate is a reference point used to determine our minimum daily caloric needs. We can calculate BMR according to this formula using simple arithmetic:
Male: 66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years) Female: 655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4, 7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
To illustrate, let’s consider the basal metabolic rate for a 40-year-old woman who is 5’6 and weighs 150 pounds:
655 + (4.3 x 150) + (4.7 x 66) – (4.7 x 40) = 655 + 645 + 310 – 188 = 1,422 calories
The basal metabolic rate is 1,422. This means that this woman burns 1,422 calories just working her body. So what does an educator (or you) do with this information? This number represents the minimum number of calories you need to eat per day to maintain yourself. But if you want to lose weight? You should just cut your calories, right? Fake.
When you cut calories, your body naturally reacts and slows down calorie burning to prevent hunger. Even if you eat less, your weight stays the same. If you eat the same calories but exercise more, it should work, right? If your body is working harder and not getting more energy, again, it will slow down your calorie burn and your results will be poor. So does this mean you should eat more calories? Doesn’t this goal fail? Not according to Josh Bezoni, fitness expert and co-founder of BioTrust Nutrition. He says, “Speed increases metabolism. Eating increases metabolism. The trick is to learn to balance the two so you still create a negative calorie balance.”
Let’s say you calculate your basal metabolic rate and it allows you to burn 2000 calories a day. So you know, you go on a diet and start eating 1500 calories a day which creates a deficit of 500. That may sound like a good thing, but malnutrition only slows down your metabolism.
Now let’s change a few things. Your basal metabolic rate still allows you to burn 2000 calories a day. But, instead of cutting your calories back to 1500, you start eating an extra 300 calories per day but you burn an extra 800 calories through exercise. The result? You get the same 500 calorie deficit (2800 calories burned – 2300 calories consumed) but you do it while increasing your metabolism by eating and exercising more. This process is especially helpful for someone who has a low basal metabolic rate due to calorie restriction and a sedentary lifestyle. (By the way, losing 500 calories a day will lose 1 pound a week.)
Basal metabolic rate provides a good basis for minimal calories. Obviously, the right foods and exercise are very important to your success. A diet of sugary foods and/or an exercise program consisting of endless treadmill walking will make it difficult to lose weight. But if you use your BMR as a starting point, you’ll know not to go below that level and increase food and exercise accordingly to create a calorie deficit.
Your basal metabolic rate kicks in. The next step is lifestyle changes. A diet high in vegetables, fruits, lean protein sources, seeds and nuts (at least) combined with strength training that includes both aerobic and anaerobic exercise is a good formula to follow for weight loss and good health in general. Certain exercises can also give you a great total body workout. The best starting point in developing a weight loss plan is a calculation of your basal metabolic rate.
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