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19/03/2024

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Introduction to the basal metabolic rate

Burning calories by doing nothing. Sounds too good to be true, but it's a daily reality. Our body burns energy for the sole purpose of keeping bodily functions running. This happens not only during physical activity, but also at rest. This is the basal metabolic rate, also known as the basal metabolic rate (BMR), and refers to the amount of energy the body consumes at rest. The basal metabolic rate is different for everyone and can be easily calculated. This is particularly helpful when it comes to losing weight or building muscle.

What is the basal metabolic rate

The basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy the body needs at rest to maintain its basic functions. It is essential for calculating a person's total calorie requirement. Factors such as age, gender, weight and height are used to calculate the basal metabolic rate. Calorie requirements can be estimated using calorie calculators, which are often based on the Harris and Benedict formula. For accurate results, the calculated basal metabolic rate should be combined with the power metabolic rate, which takes physical activity into account. Knowing your own calorie consumption is crucial to effectively plan weight goals such as losing weight or building muscle. Individual energy requirements vary and adjusting calorie intake is essential to provide the body with the energy it actually needs.

Which bodily functions are active when the body is at rest?

Even when you are resting, some bodily functions are hard at work. Your metabolism works continuously: cells regenerate, the liver processes substances. Your breathing and heartbeat are constantly working to transport oxygen and nutrients. Your immune system is also constantly at work, fighting pathogens and healing wounds. Digestion continues to process the food you eat. Your brain is also active during sleep, which is probably the most restful phase, and processes most of the information and boosts your memory. Your body is constantly releasing hormones that regulate various bodily functions, including growth and the stress response in the brain. So even in phases of rest, your body is a place of intense and vital activity.

Importance of the basal metabolic rate for the body

Calculating the basal metabolic rate is essential for planning a balanced diet and is often used in the context of weight management and muscle building. By using a formula or a calorie calculator, you can determine your personal calorie requirements. For people who want to lose weight, it is important to include calorie consumption through activity, the power metabolic rate, in the calculation of total calorie requirements. Calculating calorie requirements helps to find a balance between calories consumed and calories expended, which is essential for a healthy lifestyle.

Factors that influence the basal metabolic rate

Various factors influence your basal metabolic rate, including age, gender, weight, body composition and hormonal status. Men often have a higher basal metabolic rate than women, as they generally have more muscle mass, which consumes more energy. With increasing age, the basal metabolic rate decreases as the proportion of muscle mass decreases. People with a higher body weight or more muscle mass therefore have a higher energy requirement, as more body mass needs to be supplied. Hormones also play an important role as they regulate the metabolism and therefore calorie consumption. Formulas such as the Harris-Benedict formula can be used to calculate your individual basal metabolic rate.

How to calculate your basal metabolic rate using the Harris-Bendeict formula

Calculating your basal metabolic rate using the Harris-Benedict formula is a recognized method that you can use to calculate your body's daily energy requirements. The formula takes into account gender, weight, height and age to determine the basal metabolic rate (BMR). There are different calculations for men and women.

For men, the basal metabolic rate is calculated as follows: 88.362 + (13.397 × weight in kg) + (4.799 × height in cm) - (5.677 × age in years).

For women, the following formula is used: 447.593 + (9.247 × weight in kg) + (3.098 × height in cm) - (4.330 × age in years).

The calculated value indicates how many calories the body needs per day to maintain basic functions without additional activity. Activity levels and specific health goals can be considered for a more precise adjustment of energy requirements.

What is power metabolism?

Power metabolic rate is the amount of energy your body needs above and beyond the basal metabolic rate to perform all the activities of daily living. This includes physical activities such as sports, work and general movement. The power metabolic rate is variable and depends on factors such as the intensity and duration of activities, age, gender and individual muscle mass. To calculate a person's total energy requirement, the energy expenditure is added to the basal metabolic rate. A precise determination of the power metabolic rate is important for the creation of personalized nutrition plans and for weight control.

How to calculate your power metabolic rate

The PAL (Physical Activity Level) values are used to calculate the performance metabolic rate. These values represent a person's activity level and are included in the calculation of total energy expenditure to determine calorie requirements.

PAL values

  • 1.2 - 1.3: exclusively sedentary or recumbent lifestyle
  • 1.4 - 1.5: exclusively sedentary activity with little or no strenuous leisure activity
  • 1.6 - 1.7: sedentary activity, occasionally additional energy expenditure for walking and standing activities, little or no strenuous leisure activity
  • 1.8 - 1.9: predominantly walking and standing work
  • 2.0 - 2.4: physically strenuous professional work or very active leisure activities

To calculate the power metabolic rate, multiply the basal metabolic rate by the corresponding PAL value. The basal metabolic rate can be determined using formulas such as the Harris-Benedict equation.

Formula: Power metabolic rate = basal metabolic rate x PAL value

The resulting power metabolic rate provides information on how many calories are consumed in addition to the basal metabolic rate in order to cover energy requirements at certain activity levels.

The Katch-McArdle formula

The Katch-McArdle formula is an advanced tool for determining the basal metabolic rate. It is based on the assumption that lean body mass is the key indicator of the body's energy requirements. Unlike other methods that only take into account weight, age and gender, the Katch-McArdle formula allows for a more accurate calculation as it takes into account the individual's body composition. This personalization makes it particularly valuable for individuals interested in weight management and physical fitness. The formula is particularly popular with athletes and dieters as it helps to manage energy requirements more accurately and optimize nutrition and training plans accordingly.

The Katch-McArdle formula is: Basal metabolic rate (BMR) = 370 + (21.6 * lean body mass in kg).

In order to calculate the basal metabolic rate using the Katch-McArdle formula, the fat-free body mass must first be determined. This can be done using various methods such as body composition analysis. Once the lean body mass value is known, it is used in the formula to calculate the daily basal metabolic rate in calories.

What does the basal metabolic rate help with weight loss?

Understanding the basal metabolic rate is helpful when losing weight, as it allows you to adjust your daily calorie intake to your individual energy requirements. A calorie deficit, i.e. the intake of fewer calories than the body consumes, leads to weight loss. If you know your basal metabolic rate, you can plan your diet and physical activity in such a way that this deficit is achieved without endangering your health. A higher muscle percentage increases the basal metabolic rate, which means that more calories are burned even at rest, thus supporting weight loss.

What do basal metabolic rate and performance metabolic rate help with muscle building?

Basal metabolic rate and power metabolic rate are important when building muscle, as they play a central role in planning nutrition and training. A sufficient energy supply is essential for muscle building. The basal metabolic rate ensures that all vital functions are supported, while the performance metabolic rate provides the energy required for training. A targeted increase in calorie intake can therefore help to support muscle building by supplying the body with the energy required for muscle regeneration and growth.

A detailed calculation also takes into account the individual metabolic type and the specific composition of meals in terms of macronutrients - proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Proteins are of particular importance as they are the building blocks for muscle repair and synthesis. With a balanced diet and adequate calorie intake, you can achieve your muscle building goals and improve your general health and performance at the same time.

Calculate calorie requirements without a calorie calculator

With these formulas, you no longer need a calorie calculator, because the math isn't that difficult. Simply calculate your basal metabolic rate yourself and adjust your diet and activities to lose weight or build muscle.