What is Resting Metabolic Rate?

This simple test may be your key to permanent weight loss and overcoming a slow metabolism.

To effectively lose weight and keep it off, it's important to understand what your resting metabolic rate is. Once you know that telltale number, you can safely make lifestyle and diet changes that cater toward your desired weight-loss goal.

Definition for RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate)?

As Pritikin's Fitness Manager and Certified Exercise Physiologist Lizbeth Simancas has said: "Once you know your RMR, it's like the magic number." There'll be no more guessing as to how much you can eat – and how much you should exercise – to reach your goals.

Resting Metabolic Rate

Perhaps you've heard the term in passing or scanned over it in a recent newspaper headline, but your individualized resting metabolic rate (RMR) holds a lot more value than you may have ever realized. In fact, it is the basis for all things weight loss. People often blame the inability to lose weight on a slow metabolism, but in reality it is your RMR that is a more decisive factor in weight gain or weight loss.

Energy is needed not just for physical exertion, but for a number of internal activities as well, explained the Mayo Clinic. When your body is at rest, even though you may not think you are burning calories, functions including circulating blood, growing and repairing cells, adjusting hormone levels and breathing are all expending energy.

The amount of energy – or number of calories – that your body uses to carry out these processes is your RMR. It is the rate that your body burns energy when it is at complete rest. By calculating your RMR, you can identify just how many calories your body needs to perform these basic internal functions.

Thus, the number of calories that you burn or consume in a given day is essentially not useful in calculating weight loss unless you know your base RMR, as this number must be taken into the overall equation.

Has Dieting Damaged Your Metabolism?

Is a slow metabolism the reason you can't lose weight? Lose it right this time, improve your metabolism, and keep the weight off permanently. All-Inclusive Weight Loss Resort

Calculating Your RMR

The rate can range widely from one person to another, as it is based on several individualized factors including age, gender, body composition and size. Adult men typically have less body fat and more muscle than women of the same age and weight. As such, they have an easier time burning calories. Muscle tends to decrease with age and because it is more metabolically active than fat, having more muscle will make your metabolic rate higher, explained Pritikin's Fitness Manager and Certified Exercise Physiologist Lizbeth Simancas. Thus, losing muscle will lower your metabolic rate, so you'll burn less calories at rest.

"Generally the older that you are, the lower your RMR will be unless you're able to maintain your muscle mass or slightly increase it," Lizbeth said.

One of the biggest mistakes that Lizbeth sees is people trying to consume fewer calories than their RMR in an effort to lose weight. This doesn’t work.

To put this into perspective, Lizbeth offered the example of a 28 year old woman weighing 130 pounds and standing at 5'8 with an RMR of 1100. This number signifies that on any given day, this woman would need to feed herself 1100 calories, as a baseline, throughout the day to stay level.

One of the biggest mistakes that Lizbeth sees is people trying to consume fewer calories than their RMR in an effort to lose weight. This doesn't work.

"That's a huge problem, because then your body is going into starvation mode," she explained. "Now that food is going to get stored as fat instead. So you want to feed your body that minimum amount, your exact RMR."

And that is even before bringing physical activity into the equation.

Pritikin's RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) Test

As part of several different packages available at Pritikin, we offer in-house RMR testing. To get the most accurate result, guests must fast for four hours prior to to the test, which is typically done first thing in the morning. Guests must walk very slowly or take the shuttle over to the gym as to not burn any extra calories.

Once there, you will be connected to a device and instructed to breathe into a tube for 10 to 15 minutes. After 30 consistent breaths, you will have a reading of your RMR. Once you have this number, you will be better equipped to understand the optimal type of physical activity you need for shedding fat and building muscle, and boosting your RMR. You'll know the precise number of calories your body burns, at rest, in a day.

As Lizbeth has said: "Once you know your RMR, it's like the magic number."

There'll be no more guessing as to how much you can eat – and how much you should exercise – to reach your goals. With these results, your dieticians and exercise leaders at Pritikin can help you tailor the Pritikin Program to your body. Unlike fad diets and quick-fix weight-loss programs, you won't have to worry about regaining all of that weight or even worse, damaging your metabolism. Here are Pritikin, successful guests are able to achieve permanent weight loss without the risk of damaging their metabolisms. And best of all, they do it with the support, insight and expertise of the entire Pritikin staff.

Health Resort

Take life to the next level, and be all that you can be. That's what a vacation at Pritikin is all about. Live better. Look better. Best of all, feel better.

All-Inclusive Program

Since 1975, 100,000+ people have come to Pritikin. We are the longest-running, most scientifically documented health resort in America.

Rooms and Suites

Our newly renovated guest rooms at the health resort are spacious, serene, and amenity-rich. Each has a gorgeous garden view.

Book a Stay

A stay with us will change your life!
book now

Success Story

I'm back to my high school weight!
read story

For Questions & Reservations Call

(888) 254-1462

Get more information via email

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Pritikin Newsletter

Every week we send out our email newsletter with recent articles, new recipes, special promotions, and upcoming events. Sign up today!