BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the number of calories your body needs to accomplish anything, even lying down causes your body to burn energy.
The calories used will reflect how much energy your body requires for the most basic but vital functions like breathing, brain function and blood circulation.
BMR affects whether you will maintain, gain or lose weight and accounts for up to 75% of the daily expenditure of calories. BMR can typically decline by 1-2% per decade after you turn twenty.
What affects BMR?
Increased muscle mass can affect your BMR, so if you’re working out a lot to increase your muscle mass, it will also increase how many calories your body uses.
Your BMR can also be affected by illness, what you’ve been eating and drinking and your stress levels. As well as illness, physical conditions such as fractures, burns and fevers and even menstruation can also have an effect on BMR.
BMR correlates directly to your lean body mass. If you have plenty of lean body mass, you’ll have a higher BMR rate.
How to calculate BMR
There are two formulas to calculate your BMR – one is slightly more modern but both are very well respected and used by various organisations.
The Harris-Benedict equation has been around since 1919 and uses the metric system.
Female BMR = 655.1 + (9.563 × weight in kg) + (1.85 × height in cm) − (4.676 × age in years)
Male BMR = 66.47 + (13.75 × weight in kg) + (5.003 × height in cm) − (6.755 × age in years)
This equation will help you calculate your BMR simply and easily.
The second equation is the Mifflin St Jeor equation which is the more recent of the two.
Female BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) − (5 × age in years) – 161
Male BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) − (5 × age in years) + 5
There are also plenty of online calculators available if you don’t want to manually work it out!
Ways to increase your metabolism
There are lots of ways you can increase your metabolism and therefore your BMR – here are our top 8 ways to help.
- Eating protein – making sure you eat plenty of protein can raise your metabolic rate by up to 30%. Eating protein causes you to feel more full so you don’t overeat, helping with preventing muscle loss and reducing the metabolic rate commonly associated with dieting.
- Drink more cold water – sugary drinks contain calories so having more cold water will reduce your calorie intake immediately. Studies have shown that drinking water can increase your resting metabolic rate by 30% for about an hour. As with protein, drinking water regularly can help fill you up and ensure you don’t overeat.
- Doing HIIT workouts – these high-intensity workouts are short bursts of activity that help burn fat and increase the metabolic rate even after your workout.
- Lift weights – building muscle is important if you want to increase your metabolic rate as it is more active than fat. This is why lifting weights should be incorporated into your workout routine if you’re able. Studies have shown that people who do resistance training are more likely to retain muscle mass.
- Stand up – sitting down all day is not good for you; it burns far fewer calories and so keeps your BMR lower. Standing up often throughout the day or having a standing desk at work is better, you can burn up to 150 extra calories in an afternoon by standing up.
- Drink green or oolong tea – there are some studies that show that these types of tea can raise metabolic rate up to 5%. The teas can help convert some fats into free fatty acids and this can also increase BMR by up to 17%. Other studies have shown that there is no correlation between drinking these teas and an increase in BMR, so they may only work for some people.
- Eat more spicy food – eating the number of peppers needed to increase metabolic rate is probably too much for most people and wouldn’t do much on its own. However, eating spicier food and incorporating it with other methods as seen here will help overall.
- Getting a good nights sleep – there have been plenty of studies that show that a lack of sleep will slow down metabolism help increase the hunger hormone and decrease the levels of the fullness hormone.
Overall, making sure that you’re eating the right foods, drinking more water, getting the right amount of sleep, and your workouts can incorporate weight training and HIIT training then you’ll be able to increase your metabolism over time.
Remember that having a higher basal metabolic rate will mean that you burn more calories for the basic functions of your day. It is also important to remember that different people will have different starting basal metabolic rates, so what might work for you, might not work for someone else.
Take a look at our blogs to get an idea of workouts that you can use to help with raising your BMR, then head over to our blog page.