three letters to get you there.
Calorie. A unit of energy. Our body needs calories just to live. We use calories to breathe, blink, for our blood to circulate, muscles to contract and so on. Calories are essential to living. And we need a lot of them! But how many do we need to just function? The amount of energy we need daily to function in the form of calories is what is known as BMR, Basal Metabolic Rate. And this is only to function as if you were resting in bed the whole day. We may enjoy doing that once in a while but not every day.
Knowing our BMR is important be it your goal is to lose weight, gain weight or just maintain your weight. Your BMR will give you a number to use as a reference to help you achieve your goal.
To best accurately measure your BMR, an expert will take carbon dioxide and oxygen measurements after you have fasted for 12 hours and have rested for 8. But, there is a way for you to calculate your BMR using the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation. This formula was introduced in 1990 and is considered more accurate than the previous formula used.
Mifflin St. Jeor Equation
For men: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + (6.25 x height (cm)) – (5 x age (years)) + 5
For women: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + (6.25 x height (cm)) – (5 x age (years)) – 161
The more ‘body’ you have, the more calories required. As your amount of muscle increases, your BMR will also increase.
As you age your BMR reduces due to the decrease in muscle mass. But, what if you are someone who is active and maintaining, or even increasing muscle mass. This is where we need to take into account the amount of physical activity we have and the impact it has on our BMR.
The more intensely our muscles are working, the more calories we will burn during exercise. If we are doing high intense interval training, our body will have to work even harder to replenish its oxygen stores thus requiring more calories after exercising.
Now that you have your BMR, let’s look at how to account for your activity level:
|Activity Level||Calories Needed Daily|
|Little to almost no exercise||BMR x 1.2|
|Light exercise 1 to 3 days per week||BMR x 1.375|
|Moderate exercise 3 to 5 days per week||BMR x 1.55|
|Heavy exercise 6 to 7 days per week||BMR x 1.725|
|Very heavy (working out twice daily)||BMR x 1.9|
So what do you think? Are you shocked at how many calories you need to just maintain your weight? Maybe?
Remember, this is a guide and is not as accurate as having your BMR professionally measured. But it gives you a guideline. You know your body. Do you know how many calories you consumed today? Are you just maintaining weight? Compare what you consume daily in calories to your BMR and knowing where you are weight wise, it should give you a good idea on what you need to do. And whatever your BMR is, try to fulfill it using quality calories.
Think of this as another tool for your fitness tool box. Use it as you choose.
Yours in health,