Your basal metabolic rate is the amount of calories in a day you need just to live. If you were to lay in bed all day and do absolutely nothing this is the amount of calories you would burn. As we get older our Basal metabolic rate is reduced. We also reduce the rate when we have less lean muscle mass. Consequently, we have to be careful when we lose weight. Strength training can help to ensure that we retain lean muscle mass as we age and as we lose fat pounds.

How is it used

You can use basal metabolic rate to calculate the amount of calories you need to eat in order to lose weight. However, it is important consult your physician for more information regarding weight loss and health risks associated with it. Once you have been in consultation with your physician consider the following:

Case Study

Sally has a BMR of 1,200. She would like to lose 5 lbs, how long should it take her to do so?

Sally has determined that she burns approximately 800 calories above her BMR per day through activities like exercise and walking to work. If Sally were to eat 1,500 calories per day she would lose about 1 lb per week (500 calorie deficit per day equals 3,500 per week). It would take Sally 5 weeks to lose the 5 lbs she set as a goal. This is a sound approach. However, if Sally decided she wanted to lose 2 lbs per week she would have to eat only 1,000 calories per day. This would be below her BMR and cannot be considered safe without medical supervision. It is not recommended that you dip below your BMR or try to lose more then 2 lbs per week.


Always consult your physician for more information regarding your health risks.

BMR is calculated using the following formula:
BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 X weight in lbs ) + ( 4.7 X height in inches ) - ( 4.7 X age )
BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in lbs ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 X age )

Adult BMR calculator

Weight (lbs):
Height (in):