Metabolism plays a vital role in any health and fitness program. Among the many factors that affect health, it is essential to understand how the resting metabolic rate affects fitness and weight loss. Metabolism encompasses all the chemical processes that work in tandem to ensure normal bodily functions including breathing, cell repair, and digestion. By definition, the minimum amount of energy required by the body to carry out routine body functions is known as the resting metabolic rate (RMR). It makes up for 60 to 80 percent of the calories one burns on a daily basis to maintain a stable body environment.

Measuring Resting Metabolic Rate

One way of determining the resting metabolic rate is to utilize exhaled gases to calculate the amount and type of fuel that the body utilizes. Easier but less accurate methods involve using the age in years, gender, height, and weight. Other formulas use the lean body mass, especially for more athletic individuals.

Factors that Influence Resting Metabolic Rate

Understanding individual resting metabolic rates is essential in developing a smarter strategy to tackle weight loss, run longer or faster, gain muscle, and refuel after training sessions. Resting metabolic rate declines with increasing age due to a decrease in the body’s fat content. On average, after the age of twenty, the RMR is estimated to drop by 2 to 3 percent with each passing decade. The percentage of body fat also causes a variation in the RMR, where a higher body fat percentage is associated with a lower RMR.
Decreased caloric intake tends to reduce RMR, and when done abruptly, has the potential to cause a thirty percent drop in RMR. Other factors include body temperature, health, weight, and height. Additionally, thyroxine, which regulates the body’s overall metabolic speed, exacerbates the resting metabolic rate.

Raising Resting Metabolic Rate Through Physical Exercise

Most research shows that regular endurance training does not increase the resting metabolic rate, but instead increases the body’s aerobic capacity. High intensity drills are not only inculcated in fitness programs with the sole purpose to build muscle, but they are also applied to raise the resting metabolic rate.

Such exercises raise the heart rate and increase burning of calories, resulting in increased levels of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Single exercise events such as lunges, arm circles, butt kicks, side bends, and trunk twists, as well as longer-term training routines, are known to trigger a higher resting metabolic rate.

Weight loss and Resting Metabolic Rate

Upon identifying one’s resting metabolic rate measurements, it is easy to adjust the caloric intake and exercise to improve weight loss outcomes. To begin with, a body pound is equal to 3500 calories. To successfully lose one pound of weight, one is required to consume 3500 calories fewer than the usual calorie intake or engage in physical exercise that will burn 3500 calories; or a combination of both. It is advisable to weigh once every week if one is on a weight loss program, ideally, before breakfast.

Most nutritionists have the consensus that a weight loss goal of one pound a week is deemed healthy as it does not put intense strain on the body. Consequently, losing 500 calories every day should help achieve a target of 3500 calories a week. The weekly caloric intake can be calculated by subtracting the number of calories needed to maintain a specific weight, and that result should not fall below the resting metabolic rate. This is because a lower caloric intake than the RMR invokes a starvation mode, resulting in the conversion of calories to fat.

In conclusion, it is possible to use the resting metabolic rate to devise an efficient diet and fitness plan. Most long-term weight management programs utilize the RMR measurements to estimate the body’s total daily expenditure to help institute comprehensive planning in different health routines.