Knowing your BMR can help you gain muscle or lose weight more easily

Knowing your BMR can help you gain muscle or lose weight more easily

If you want to lose body fat, gain muscle or just maintaining your weight, you need to know your basal metabolic rate or BMR. Your BMR is the minimum number of calories your body needs to function at rest. Even when you’re not exercising, your body needs a specific amount of energy to perform basic functions like breathing and regulating your hormone levels.

Unlike many diets that apply one meal plan to all of its users, your BMR is calculated based on several different factors that focus on the individual, such as your age, gender, current weight, and activity level. . Although BMR is not in itself a weight loss tool, it can show you information that is specific to you.

Keep reading to learn more about BMR, how to calculate it, and how it can be a guide to your nutrition and exercise goals.

Read more: How many calories should you burn each day to lose weight?

Screenshot of a BMR calculator

BMR calculators use several different factors, such as age and gender, to determine your BMR.

Screenshot by Mercey Livingston/CNET

What is BMR and how do I find it?

Many people use BMR as a starting point to calculate their daily calorie needs and how to best adjust them to achieve their goals. In fact, many macro calculators, like the popular IIFYM, incorporate BMR into their calculations to let you know your calorie intake and macro needs based on your goals.

A common misconception about BMR is that it’s the amount of calories your body burns at rest, but it’s a different metric – resting metabolic rate or (RMR). Your BMR is the energy your body needs to perform basic functions, while the RMR is the amount of calories your body burns at rest. Some people use measurements interchangeably, but they are not necessarily the same thing.

BMR calculators

There are many different calculators available online that can calculate your estimated BMR. Note that some of them will ask you to enter your body fat percentage, which many people don’t know. If you don’t, you can guess or use the images provided (like IIFYM does) to guess.

Some of the best BMR calculators:


Once you start learning about your BMR, you’ll likely also find information on Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or TDEE, since BMR is often calculated first to find TDEE.

Your BMR tells you your calorie intake Needs, when you take that number plus how much you burn each day during normal activity and exercise, you get your TDEE. So really, TDEE is the number you work on to figure out how to adjust macros or calories for body composition goals, according to the IIFYM.

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How to use your BMR to help you lose weight

Weight loss is trickybut using calculators that take your BMR into account is helpful in taking a more personalized approach for your calories and macronutrient needs. Most macros and BMR-based calculators work by factoring your TDEE along with your goals.

If you want to lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit, which means the calculator will set your daily food intake to equal less calories than you burn. Sometimes when you take an online quiz to find this number, you will be asked how fast you would like to lose weight. Then the calorie deficit will be adjusted accordingly. The faster you want results, the more extreme you’ll have to be with calorie reduction. But many experts say slow and steady is optimal over trying to lose a lot of weight quickly.

If you want to maintain your weight instead of losing or gaining weight, knowing your BMR and TDEE can help you know how many calories you should aim to consume each day to maintain your weight. In contrast, weight loss takes muscle mass. It also requires you to strategically approach your nutrition and add calories into your day (likely in the form of protein and carbs) to ensure you can gain muscle.

More for your health and well-being

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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