This came in at work yesterday.

It makes me happy. That is all. 🙂

Now let’s have a conversation about Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).

I got to think about this because a strange thing is happening. Remember the three pounds I gained on our honeymoon? Remember how I said I’m starting to get back into a more strict food plan again? And remember how I have barely posted about my workouts because I have barely done any workouts since we got back? Trying to get our home put together and all.

So the “strange” part of this story is that I have also lost one of those pounds in the last week and a half.

What’s the deal, body? Why can’t you do that – or more – when I am trying?

Enter the BMR.

I’ve calculated this before, ages ago, and then forgot about it. After some more reading this week, I revert back to one of my favorite fitness bloggers, Cassey – who literally posted about this very topic last week right when I was looking for it. So far I like her explanation the best, so I’m just going to copy it below. (I tried some auto calculators around the web, and though they were slightly different, they were all very close. I just like to see the math myself).

Note these numbers are NOT calories. There’s an extra calculation for that.


English BMR Formula
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 year )

Metric BMR Formula
Women: BMR = 655 + ( 9.6 x weight in kilos ) + ( 1.8 x height in cm ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 13.7 x weight in kilos ) + ( 5 x height in cm ) – ( 6.8 x age in years )

Your BMR = _________

Now once you get that number – use the Harris Benedict Formula to determine how many calories you need to function daily and maintain your current weight:

To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor:

If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : BMR x 1.2
If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) :  BMR x 1.375
If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : BMR x 1.55
If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) :  BMR x 1.725
If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) :  BMR x 1.9

Now you know how many calories you need to maintain your current weight.

So what if you wanna lose 5 lbs? Well 1 lb of fat = 3500 calories. So to lose 1 lb, you need to create a 3500 calorie deficit.

Working through this, and depending on my activity level at the time, my maintenance calorie level should be ~ 1,900 – 2,200 per day. When I’m wanting to slim down, the range should be more around 1,400 – 1,700 net calories. As opposed to the 1,100 – 1,200 I was averaging.

Now before anyone jumps down my throat for eating so little, that number is net calories with a workout. So I might eat 1,500 in a day, then burn 350 in a good workout, equaling 1,150 net calories for the day. What this BMR is telling me is that my daily net should be quite a bit higher.

I should point out that while I do step on the scale regularly, I am not a “slave” to the thing. I’ve simply been through weight gain and loss before. The scale helps me stay focused. We all know how I like to track things.

Hooray for eating a little more! Hooray for keeping my metabolism working! Hooray for dropping a pound without trying!

Now, don’t worry. Even if I can manage to maintain a healthy weight without some sweat, I wouldn’t be happy with that. I need the activity, the high heart rate, the mental game. I want to feel strong, not just have my jeans fit comfortably. These are the final few days of taking it easy on the workout side of things. Next week starts my 1/2 marathon training schedule!

Now I’m simply heading into this training schedule with a growing understanding of my body, metabolism, fuel, energy, etc. And the importance of sleep. Which is really why I haven’t been running so much these two weeks.

Anyone else surprised by your BMR numbers?

2 replies
  1. caseyvoight
    caseyvoight says:

    Great post! I figured my BMR and am going to try and start tracking what my intake is so I can compare. Hooray for losing pounds and eating more! Looking forward to hearing about your 1/2 marathon training schedule.


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