When Should You Re-Test Your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)?

Scenario: A member started a work out program six months ago and had their resting metabolic rate tested. At what point should RMR be retested?

Resting metabolic rate is an individual’s nutritional consumption needs, having this value measured allows for the mathematically precise amount of calories needed to gain, maintain, or lose weight – all depending on the individual’s goal.

After participating in a workout regimen for a given time, such as six months, the body’s caloric demands change. If someone is trying to lose weight, and they hit a plateau of weight loss, they would need to retest their RMR; or if someone is trying to gain muscle mass, and they hit a plateau of weight gains, they would also need to retest their RMR.

With any change in body composition, such as an increase in fat free mass, caloric needs fluctuate. Because muscle burns three times as many calories as fat, a more muscular physique would require more calories than the average overweight physique. The transition into a more muscular body thus causes an increase in metabolism; burning the calories consumed even more quickly then before. This has a snowball effect, as you burn more calories you continually lose body fat, creating a larger fat free mass, again increasing your metabolism.

Factors that contribute to RMR include:

  • Body weight – more body weight requires more calories
  • Muscle mass – each pound of muscle consumes up to 50 calories a day for maintenance
  • Frequency of meals – the body knows to store less fat as it gets fed regularly
  • Hydration levels – slight dehydration can decrease your metabolism by 2%
  • Age – as we age the amount of muscle in our bodies decrease along with metabolism
  • Genetics – Pituitary and Thyroid issues can cause one to gain weight uncontrollably (this occurs in less than 1% of our population).
  • Environment – warmer climates have higher metabolism as they don’t need to store the energy for heat that the colder climates do
  • Gender – men burn more calories daily than women, and women naturally need to store ~ 10% more body fat then men

If you have any questions about resting metabolic rates or would like to schedule an appointment to find out what your RMR is; please contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.

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