Your Resting Metabolic Rate

Your resting metabolic rate is partly determined by genetics but the good news is you can reprogram with diet and exercise. So, it’s important to have a basic understanding of your metabolism in order to grasp what resting metabolic rate is or rather does. Metabolism is the compilation of thousands of chemical reactions happening in your body with the sole purpose of transferring the food that you eat into energy. Your bodily systems with their trillions of cells are constantly working together through these chemical processes to achieve a balance. Since balance is always the preferred state of the internal body, any deviations such as increased heat or cold will cause a response mechanism to correct the imbalance. For example, while the preferred regular internal temperature of an individual at rest is 98.5 degrees, if you go for a run this causes your internal temperature to rise. In response to this increase in temperature you body triggers your sweating mechanisms to dispel of the extra heat in order to maintain that core temperature.

Technically, your resting metabolic rate is the minimum energy that your body requires to stay alive with no activity. Since most of us don’t spend our life in bed, you would actually need more calories to go about your regular day than your resting metabolic rate dictates. However, using RMR as a base to calculate your daily caloric needs is a helpful starting measurement to know roughly how many calories you should be taking in on a daily basis.

WHY CARE ABOUT INCREASING YOUR RESTING METABOLIC RATE?

Simple. Folks with slower metabolism store fat more easily than folks with faster metabolism and if your RMR is higher, you can consume more quality calories without the negative impacts of packing on the fat. And what runner doesn’t love to eat???

HOW TO CALCULATE

A rough estimate of your resting metabolic rate can be calculated by using the following data:

  1. Age
  2. Gender
  3. Weight
  4. Height

Take note however that these variables will provide an approximate measurement because your RMR is also influenced by the following factors:

  • Muscle mass – more muscle increases RMR
  • Eating habits – frequency of meals
  • Ingestion of Supplements - that can help to increase your RMR
  • Climate the you reside in – cold weather requires more energy to move around in
  • Genetics
  • Stress level - stress negatively impacts your RMR

So, while the behaviour of your metabolism is largely determined by genetics, it’s also determined by your environment and programming such as quality of diet and physical activity.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

This is vital to understand as A runner looking to lose weight because overly restricting low calorie diets can actually cause your metabolic set point to drop to adapt to the lower calorie intake. Not to mention the negative impact this would have on your training and recovery. Here is the bottom line – losing fat alone does not increase your RMR. Therefore, you must pay attention to the quality and quantity of your diet and your activity regimen to reprogram your metabolic set point.

WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR RMR

Some sure fire ways to increase to RMR include:

  • Eating smaller more frequent meals
  • Consuming thermogenic foods (burn more calories to process)
  • Increasing your lean muscle mass
  • Performing anaeorobic exercise – such as hill repeats , intervals , tempo runs , fartleks , etc.
  • Performing extended aerobic exercise such as long runs
  • Yoga (increases strength and reduces stress!)

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