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What is Basal Metabolic Rate and How Can You Improve It?

by | Aug 23, 2023 | Uncategorized

Man on a workout machine with his trainer standing right next to him.

Are you looking to boost your fitness journey and achieve your personal goals more effectively? 

Understanding your basal metabolic rate (BMR) can be a game-changer. 

Below, we’ll take a closer look at BMR, what it means for your body, and how you can make positive changes to improve it. 

Loyalty Fitness is here to guide you on this enlightening journey toward a healthier you!

What is BMR?

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the baseline number of calories your body requires to maintain its basic functions while at rest. 

Think of it as the energy your body needs just to breathe, circulate blood, regulate temperature, and perform other vital tasks. It’s like your body’s engine running in the background, keeping you alive and well.

It’s the foundation of your energy expenditure and accounts for a significant portion of the calories you burn each day.

Why is BMR Important for Your Health?

Think of BMR as the cornerstone of your body’s energy balance. It provides insight into your minimum caloric needs to sustain life. 

Knowing your BMR can help you determine how many calories you need to consume to maintain, gain or lose weight effectively. 

Ignoring your BMR can lead to imbalanced diets and unrealistic expectations that may hinder your health and fitness goals.

Factors Affecting BMR

Age plays a significant role in determining your BMR. 

As you get older, your metabolic rate tends to decrease. This is primarily due to the loss of lean muscle mass. This natural process underscores the importance of proactive steps to maintain muscle as you age.

Your body composition, the ratio of muscle to fat, is a crucial determinant of BMR. 

Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue. This means that it requires more energy to sustain. So, individuals with higher muscle mass often have a higher BMR. Your liver and brain also need a significant amount of energy to function.

Other metabolically active tissues, such as the liver and brain, also play a role. These organs demand a significant amount of energy even at rest.

How to Calculate Your BMR

Understanding how to calculate your BMR can help you to make informed choices about your dietary and fitness needs. 

Two common methods for calculating BMR are the Harris-Benedict Equation and online BMR calculators.

The Harris-Benedict Equation

The Harris-Benedict Equation is a widely used formula that estimates your BMR based on age, gender, weight and height. There are separate equations for men and women:

For men: BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 × weight in kg) + (4.799 × height in cm) – (5.677 × age in years)

For women: BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 × weight in kg) + (3.098 × height in cm) – (4.330 × age in years)

Digital BMR Calculators

Additionally, there are now numerous online tools and apps that can easily calculate your BMR. 

These calculators usually require you to input your age, gender, weight and height. While they provide a convenient way to estimate your BMR, please keep in mind that they offer a rough estimate and may not account for all individual variations.

Why is BMR Important for Fitness Goals?

In addition to being vital for health, BMR is also crucial to your fitness goals in several significant ways:   

Fueling Your Body at Rest

Imagine your body as a car. Even when it’s stopped at a red light, the engine idles and fuel is burned. 

Similarly, your body burns calories even when you’re not exercising. 

BMR accounts for a significant portion of your daily energy expenditure. Knowing this can help you strategize your fitness plan.

BMR and Weight Management

BMR is often your starting point for effective weight management. 

If you consume fewer calories than your BMR then your body may go into starvation mode and slow down its functions. When this occurs it makes it more difficult to lose weight. 

On the flip side, eating above your BMR, without considering your activity level, can lead to weight gain. 

Finding the balance is key in order to determine the best fitness plan for you and your particular body.

Strategies to Boost BMR

The good news is that you can take proactive steps to boost your BMR naturally to support your fitness goals. 

Here are some strategies to consider:

Building Lean Muscle Mass

Muscle is like a high-octane fuel — more of it translates to a higher BMR.

Engaging in strength training and resistance exercises supports muscle growth which in turn elevates your BMR. It’s like turning up the heat on your body’s calorie-burning furnace- even while you’re resting!

Regular Exercise and Physical Activity

BMR gets a bonus boost with regular exercise. 

Regular strength training workouts and physical activity, such as brisk walking, cycling or swimming, can elevate your heart rate and increase your BMR.

Aim for consistency, not extreme efforts. If you need to, start small (just 10-15 min/day) and gradually work up to 30-35 min/day. If you find yourself sitting a lot during the day, try to get up every hour and walk/move/stretch for 5-10 minutes. 

As always, be sure to listen to your body. Too much of anything is not good. You want to be careful not to overdo it. Adequate rest is also important for an optimal BMR and overtraining can have detrimental effects.

Quality Sleep and Stress Management

Poor sleep and chronic stress do not just negatively impact mental health, but it can also lower your BMR. 

To maintain an ideal BMR, it’s important to prioritize good sleep hygiene and participate in stress-reducing activities such as routine exercise such as slow-motion strength training at Loyalty Fitness, meditation/journaling, time in nature, and quality time with friends/family for a happier and healthier you. 

Nutrition and BMR

Your dietary choices play a significant role in influencing your BMR. 

Some nutritional strategies to consider include:

The Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)

Every time you eat, your body expends energy to digest, absorb and process nutrients. Protein-rich foods, for instance, rev up your TEF which contributes to a higher BMR. Your muscles also need adequate protein in order to sustain muscle mass and get stronger.

Focus on whole, unprocessed foods, such as protein from animals, a plethora of fruit and vegetables, and healthy carbs and fats. Avoid extreme fad diets, caloric restriction, and extended periods of fasting.

Macronutrient Balance

Striking a balance between carbs, proteins and fats is also incredibly important as each macronutrient plays a role in maintaining your BMR. 

Try not to entirely cut out any of them; they’re all part of maintaining an optimal BMR. Find the right balance of these macronutrients that feels best for you.


Staying hydrated isn’t just about quenching your thirst. Water plays a role in every metabolic process, including those that influence your BMR. 

Think of water as the lubricant that keeps your metabolism smoothly chugging along. Adding high quality salt or electrolytes to your water is also important in order to restore minerals in your body (that you lose through sweat and urination) and help you feel your best. 

Improve Your BMR with Loyalty Fitness

Understanding your BMR is not just about calories in and out. It’s also about understanding your body’s unique energy needs and making choices that propel you toward your fitness goals. 

By working with a personal trainer at Loyalty Fitness, you can unlock the power of your basal metabolic rate and open the door to more effective fitness strategies that are tailored to your specific needs.

Armed with this knowledge from Loyalty Fitness, you’re ready to embark on a journey that transforms not just your physical well-being, but your entire approach to health and fitness. 

Contact us today to start your metabolic journey, make informed choices and watch your BMR become the guiding star on your path to a healthier you! 


Do you find yourself sitting a lot throughout the day? Set an alarm on your phone for every hour to remind you to get up, stretch, walk/move around for 5-10 minutes. While you’re at it, take a minute to schedule your weekly training session at Loyalty Fitness. Your body- and BMR- will thank you!

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