Understanding BMR: the magic number for weight loss

Have you noticed that every year it becomes more difficult to eat what you usually do without gaining weight? This is because your basal metabolic rate (BMR) decreases as you age. And to make matters worse, starving yourself lowers your BMR by sabotaging your weight loss plans. This article will explain what BMR is, how to calculate it, and how to put this information into practice to help you manage your weight at any age.


Your BMR is your magic number when it comes to losing weight. This number represents the number of calories your body needs to function at its most basic level. is the number of calories you would burn if you were lying in bed all day. Each person has a different metabolism and therefore has a different number of calories that they can consume and still lose weight. By using the formula below, you will be able to calculate your BMR and have an accurate idea of ​​how many calories you should be consuming in a day.

Because calories do count in weight loss, the trick is to reduce the amount of calories you eat and increase the amount you burn through activity to create a deficit sufficient to lose weight. However, you can get into trouble if you don’t eat enough calories. Your body will go into starvation mode, causing your metabolism to slow down.

Make sure you’re consuming enough to have the energy to exercise, live your best life, and / or be productive at work. Remember, you want to create a deficit, not go into starvation mode.


The calculation of the BMR is different for men and women and takes into account height, weight, age and gender, so it is necessary to give or receive 100 calories.

Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say we want to know what the BMR is for a woman who is 5 feet 3 inches (63 inches), 158 pounds. and he is 48 years old. The formula looks like this:

BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

TMB = 655 + (4.35 x 158) + (4.7 x 63) – (4.7 x 48) = 1,412.8

The BMR 1,412.8 represents the number of calories, plus or minus 100 calories, that this woman burns while at rest over a 24-hour period. That means you should eat about 1,413 calories per day to maintain your weight. Remember this number. We will need it later to calculate your daily calorie intake.


Another reason to exercise! When we add exercise to our daily routine, we burn extra calories. The longer and more exercise we do, the more calories we burn. Having an active job, cleaning the house, or mowing the lawn burns calories! The only way to accurately track how many calories you burn throughout the day and while exercising is to use a heart rate monitor like the one many athletes use when exercising, such as a Polar Fitness Watch. You can calculate overall calorie burn, but variable factors include training intensity, age, gender, weight, and physical condition. Here are some general guidelines for a one-hour workout:

  • Low intensity aerobics = 400 calories
  • High intensity aerobics = 600 calories
  • Walking = 300 calories
  • Running = 1,000 calories
  • Stair climber = 700 calories
  • Hiking = 500 calories.

These are rough estimates, use them as such. The most important information that can be gleaned from these estimates is that it is very obvious that including exercise in your routine is key to achieving your caloric deficit.


One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. To lose one pound of fat, you must balance activity (calorie burning) with eating (calorie intake) to equal a 3,500 calorie deficit. Sound overwhelming? If you want to lose one pound per week, you must create a deficit of 500 calories per day for seven days. That sounds more achievable, right?

Now let’s apply the math to a goal. Let’s use the same woman we used as an example earlier. He wants to lose 15 pounds and sets a goal to do it in 3 weeks. To achieve a weight loss of 5 pounds per week, we must first multiply the number of calories in a pound of fat by the number of pounds to lose per week.

(5 pounds to lose x 3,500 calories from fat = 17,500 calories to burn per week or 2,500 per day)

Subtract your daily BMR from the daily calories you need to burn.

(2,500 calories – 1,412.8 BMR = 1,087.2 calorie deficit per day)

So if you eat exactly the calories in your BMR (1,412.8), you would need to burn 1,087.2 calories through activity. If you eat 200 fewer calories per day, you need to burn 200 fewer calories through activity. If you do this for 3 weeks, you will lose 15 pounds of fat. You can see how important it is to know your BMR to plan for weight management success. Be realistic about the number of calories you plan to burn through exercise to make sure you’re eating the right amount.


It’s science – It is not a fancy diet with magic potion. A very important component to consider when applying this scientific fact is that lean muscle mass weighs more than fat.

The reason this is so imperative to remember is that as you exercise, you will gain lean muscle mass, and as you continue to create a calorie deficit, you will lose fat. However, the scale does not distinguish between the two.

Don’t be discouraged if the scale doesn’t display the number you want or expect. You must remember that if you follow the formula you are losing pounds of fat. The payoff of trading fat for lean muscle mass is that it will decrease in size because lean muscle is more compact than fat, so its actual size will decrease.

Another benefit of gaining lean muscle mass is that, metabolically, this type of tissue requires more energy, so your BMR actually increases as a result of having more lean muscle mass. Burning more calories at rest doesn’t sound so bad, does it?


Now that you have the tools to figure out how exactly to achieve your weight loss goal, put it on. Begin the process. Put your own numbers in the formulas. Know what your BMR is so your weight loss journey is no longer a guessing game.

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