What is basal metabolic rate (BMR) and why does it matter?

What is basal metabolic rate (BMR) and why does it matter?

Basal metabolic rate is the number of calories your body uses to function each day. Just to stay alive, your body is working all the time — breathing, pumping blood, controlling temperature, supporting the brain, and nervous system, etc. BMR is the resting energy required to complete all these basic tasks.

Calculating your BMR is very useful as it tells you the number of calories needed to function. Theoretically, you could lay in bed all day and still not gain a pound if you kept your caloric intake equal to your basal metabolic rate. But, as you will read below, inactivity leads to loss of muscle mass which alters your BMR.

Basal metabolic rate is an important number to know whether you’re trying to gain, lose, or stay at the same weight. It’s interesting to note, however, that simply cutting calories to below this threshold may not have the desired effect. Our bodies are complex machines and will account for any changes. For example, if you go on a crash diet where you’re not getting enough protein, your body will break down your lean body mass. Basically, if your body doesn’t get what it needs from food, it’ll take it from your own muscles. And, because muscle requires more energy to maintain than fat, your BMR will go decrease along with muscle mass.

Along with a host of other vital statistics, the Ivy Health Lab Body Analysis Scale measures and records your BMR every time you step on it. Tracking this number helps you to reach your goals like building muscle, losing fat, and achieving a healthy lean body mass.

The formula

At this point, your interest may be piqued enough that you’re wondering how you can calculate your basal metabolic rate at home. While there are two widely established methods of doing this, Harris Benedict and Mifflin St. Jeor Equation, a number of factors affect the result. Anything that may increase your metabolism will increase your BMR. Examples include stress, fear, exercise, and illness.

The BMR formulas do not account for those variables, but they do take into account height, age, gender, and weight. There is also a genetic component that scientists have yet to pin down. So, when you hear someone lamenting the fact that, no matter what they do they can’t seem to lose weight, there are certainly a small number of people for which that is an accurate statement. For most of us, however, being aware of our basal metabolic rate in a valuable tool in maintaining a healthy body.

The solution

The easiest way to track your resting metabolism is to buy a home scale that measures BMR. With the Ivy Health Labs Body Analysis Scale, you have the ability to, not only view your BMR whenever you chose, but track BMR over time. Using the free app, you can closely measure this level which, in turn, helps you to understand how to control your calorie intake. Tracking lean body mass and BMR will tell you if your diet is working towards helping you achieve your goals or if you need to adjust to protect muscle mass.