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Resting Metabolic Rate

By Nicky Ruszkowski

Resting metabolic rate or RMR, is an estimate of how many calories the body requires to sustain basic life functions at a resting state. Throughout the day the body burns calories to support basic functions like digestion, breathing, organ functions, basic neurological functions and circulation. RMR doesn't include calories the body uses for workouts.

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What impacts RMR?

RMR is impacted by factors that we cannot control including age, genetics and gender. It's also impacted by much more controllable factors like diet, muscle mass, consumption of stimulants like caffeine, and sleep. 


The RMR test measures the amount of calories burned at rest. This is established using a machine that collects expired air. This establishes the amount of oxygen consumed so as to measure the rate of energy consumption. Much like VO2 max testing, RMR testing uses a mask to collect expired air but for RMR testing the individual sits still for between 10 and 20 minutes.


For the body to burn 1 calorie it requires 208.06 milliliters of oxygen. Due to this direct relationship between calories burn and oxygen consumed, it is possible to estimate RMR.

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