Many trainers overlook the importance of BMR, oftentimes because of a lack of understanding. BMR is Basal Metabolic Rate – which means the base rate at which the human body consumers calories for basic metabolic functions such as the pumping of blood, proper organ functions, cell repair, etc. BMR is largely determined by genetics and general physiology. The hypothalamus in the brain is responsible for much of this basic metabolic functioning.
One common way to calculate BMR is through utilizing the Katch-McArdle estimation. This equation determines your estimated kilocalories needed to lay around and do no physical activity. While this equation is thought to be the most accurate of BMR equations, it is important to remember it is an only a rough estimation and may differ from your actual bodily needs.
To use this equation, you must have your Lean Body Mass (in kilograms). To find your lean body mass, you’ll need your weight and body fat percentage.
Lean Body Mass = (Weight (kilograms) * ( 100 – Body Fat % ) / 100
Note: to convert from pounds to kilograms, you can use an estimated ratio of 2.2 – meaning you multiply the weight in pounds by 2.2 to estimate the weight in kilograms.
You then plug your Lean Body Mass (LBM) into the Katch-McArdle equation to find your BMR.
BMR = 370 + (21.6 * LBM)
How to use the BMR
Your BMR can be used to estimate your daily caloric needs by multiplying your BMR by an activity factor. For a sedentary lifestyle (little to no exercise), you could use a 1.2 approximate activity factor. In use, this would mean:
BMR * 1.2 = your daily caloric needs.
For a lightly active lifestlyle, 1.375 could be an appropriate activity factor. For a very active lifestyle, 1.725 could be an appropriate activity factor.
To increase your Basal Metabolic Rate, you can try:
1. Doing more resistance workout – muscles burn more calories than fat tissue.
2. Increase your daily activity
3. Consume more protein