Do you know your BMR?
BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate is described as "the number of calories your body needs to operate. This doesn't account for any activity, it's simply the energy needed to sustain a heartbeat, breathing and normal body temperature. It measures the body at rest, not sleep, at room temperature". (1) Your BMR can be very useful in your fitness plan.
There are certain individuals that eat anything they want, work out once a week and still look like they could be on the cover of insert your favorite mag here. Then there are those that eat and eat, train all day and can't seem to gain a pound. Lastly, there are those that never eat and workout religiously and still they look like the doughboy.
The fact is, if they would take some time to look at their BMR they may be able to reach some personal goals. BMR is more than a caloric value that each individual needs to survive. It is also a key to developing the perfect nutritional program for each person. BMR is the starting point for those that want to gain weight, lose weight and can also be used to help you maintain weight.
Calculating your BMR by hand is a mathematical nightmare so I am not going to give you a hand calculation method. Instead, here are three sites that offer easy to use BMR calculators. I prefer to use more than one model when calculating BMR. I will use three and take the average for my BMR calculation.
There are numerous BMR calculators available on the web. Find a few you like and bookmark the pages for the future.
I know my BMRnow what?
Now that you have determined your BMR you can really get a look into your dietary intake. A discussion about good foods and bad foods should not be necessary here, so keep in mind knowing your BMR and eating crap is not going to help you any.
Let's look at some examples:
Ex: 1 18 yr. Old Male 6'0 220 BMR 2235 calories High Activity 3800
Ex: 2 26 yr. Old Male 6'0 220 BMR 2181 calories High Activity 3708
Ex: 3 35 yr. Old Male 6'0 220 BMR 2120 calories High Activity 3604
Each of these examples is for someone with a high activity rate. This is because lifters generally burn more calories than the average couch creature. You will notice for someone to survive the BMR is rather low, but if that same person becomes more active the calories are increased by more than a 1000. That's huge in determining your nutrition plan!
This is especially true for those of you that believe you are hard gainers. Everyone tells you to eat, eat, eat, but did you realize you would need to eat more than 3800 calories a day if you fit the description above. That is tons of good protein, carbs and fat to put away in one day. So if you are a hard gainer, re-visit the amount of calories you need to gain a pound of muscle.
For those that need to lose the doughboy look, reducing the calories is part of the process. More than likely you are eating too little or way too much. Eating below your BMR will have the same effect as eating too much. Either way your body holds the fat. You will need to take your active BMR and reduce it by 500 calories. If that does not work, reduce it another 500. Keep this up until you see some results, but never go below your sedentary BMR for more than 10-14 days. Doing so will begin to eat away at your muscle and not the fat.
The BMR number can be extremely beneficial in your nutrition planning. By calculating your active BMR you can determine grams of protein, carbs and good fats. The rest is up to you to buy the right foods.
Remember, eating 3800 calories of crap will not keep you on target to look like Lee Priest. Your body is a temple; only use the finest products to build it.