What is a Metabolic Rate? – Important Information!

The question you want answered, what is a metabolic rate? I will be ensuring you leave this article with the answer you’re looking for in a way that allows you to apply the information!

Many people who are looking for this answer may very well be interested in weight/fat loss. So while I will be giving the definition of a metabolic rate to answer the question, I will also be sure to relate the information to your own goals!

Let’s get to the information!

Metabolic Rate Explained:

Your metabolic rate, as you may have guessed relates to your metabolism. Most people associate metabolism with the amount of calories you burn in a day. If this is you, then you would be correct! Your metabolic rate is the amount of calories your body requires/burns in a day.

Now, this isn’t the total calories, these calories are what is needed only to keep your body functioning at baseline. Basically, it is the amount of calories your body would burn in 24 hours if you were to lie in bed with your eyes closed. Your metabolic rate is the rate at which your body burns calories.

This number varies largely depending on one’s circumstances such as their gender, structure, amount of muscle mass, etc. For example, a 160-pound female may require 1,200 calories for their BMR, meanwhile, a 160-pound male may require 1,400 calories for their BMR.

Don’t think that your BMR is the only thing that burns calories in your body. There are 3 other factors that also increase energy expenditure. This would be NEAT, TEF and EA. These are basically other functions and activities throughout your day that burn additional calories. For example, as I am typing this article my body is burning calories on top of my BMR.

Metabolic Rate and It’s Relation To You:

You may be asking, ok great, thanks Kohl, but why do I care about a metabolic rate? Well, as an example, if you have a goal of weight loss or muscle gain, it is extremely important. This is because your BMR is the biggest portion of calories burned in a day. Since we know that calorie intake dictates the direction of the goal we are striving for, your metabolic rate becomes very important to accomplishing goals.

Figuring out your metabolic rate is the first step in finding your maintenance calories, where you then adjust your calories depending on the goals you may have. You of course need to factor in the other aspects of energy expenditure mentioned above as well. The thing is, no matter your calculation, you need to monitor progress. This is because no calculator or formula will give the exact number for you. That is why monitoring progress is highly important in finding the right amount of calories for you!

Why aren’t these calculations always 100% accurate? Although they may factor in your weight, height, age, etc, they don’t factor in other circumstances. The main circumstance I am referring to is the amount of muscle mass one has. Since muscle is much more calorically demanding than fat, the more muscle one has, the more calories they burn. On top of this, the information you punch into a calculator (mainly your activity level) will not always be 100% accurate. This means the calculators cannot give you an exactly accurate number all the time. This will be the case 99.9% of the time.

Implementing Metabolic Rate:

With the fundamental information on ones metabolic rate explained, how do we actually implement this knowledge to our goals? Let’s start with the two biggest goals out there, fat loss and muscle gain. As briefly touched on before in this article, we first need to find our maintenance calories.

My personal favourite way of accomplishing this is through a calculator, where I then monitor progress to see if I need to adjust the number I am currently at. Once you have figured out your maintenance calories, it is time to manipulate this number with your goal in mind.

In general, adding calories will be indicative of muscle gain, while subtracting calories will be indicative of a fat loss goal. There are other measures to look at in order to make these goals more about muscle gain or fat loss instead of just weight gain and weight loss, however, we won’t be getting into that within this article.

If you’re looking to see how you can increase your metabolic rate, hop on our mailing list at the top right of this page to be notified when that article is released!

The Gist on Metabolic Rate:

To put this information in a short and sweet manner, your metabolic rate is the amount of calories your body burns in a day just to keep things running, with no additional activities on top of that. Specific aspects related to the individual certainly have an impact on what this number will look like for you. Knowing your metabolic rate is important in finding your maintenance calories, which is crucial for determining the amount of calories to consume for different goals.

Has this article benefited you? I’m so glad, as that is always the goal! I thank you so much for taking the time to read this article and as always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!

Here are some other articles that may be beneficial for your knowledge!

Nutrition For Goals

Guidelines of Fat Loss

Muscle Gain How To


Until Next Time,

Kohl Johnson

Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.

Support is much appreciated if you benefited from this:

Kohl Johnson

I am a 16-year-old fitness fanatic! I have learned nothing but quality training and nutrition information from the utmost well-respected individuals in the field. Now, my only focus is to share this knowledge with you for your benefit, in the most honest way possible. We are all in this together! LET'S GO!

6 Responses

  1. Great article, thanks Kohl! I have never fully understood what was meant by metabolic rate, and I definitely have a much better idea now. The imagery of laying in bed with eye closed was really useful for my brain to truly click and understand. I am sure this understanding will support my future fitness goals.

  2. Hi! I know that we should get to a point were we know how many maintenance calories we need. And that could be archived using a calculator. But once we have determined that number, it can change as months go by. How long should we stick to our maintenance calories number before it’s time to recalculate it again? Thanks.

    • Hi Henry, sorry for the late reply! Stick with your maintenance calorie number for at-least a month. Don’t change it if you are still making progress. However, once you see considerable progress, consider re-checking your estimated maintenance calories based on your new statistics. But do not change it when you are still making progress. Don’t try to fix what’s not broken. Hope that helps!

  3. Hi Kohl,

    Thanks for the great article on metabolic rate! If I’m trying to lose weight do you think it’s more effective for me to exercise more to raise my bmr, or to eat less, taking in less calories so that my body dips into its fat reserves? And if I also want to gain muscle, how do I go about taking in enough calories while simultaneously burning fat?

    • Hi Bobby, my pleasure! All great questions! 

      When you lose weight, your BMR will typically drop because you are lowering your overall body weight. Weight training to help retain muscle mass is a great way to help keep this BMR up during weight loss. Eating in an average caloric deficit (typically between 300 and 500 calories) will help to yield sustainable weight loss that will have a much lesser impact on reducing your metabolism. This compared to going in a steep caloric deficit of 1000 calories (for example).

      Burning fat and building muscle simultaneously is difficult to do, and is typically only feasible in a couple of scenarios. This would be if you are significantly overweight and you have a lot of fat to burn, or if you are new to weight training and your body would have a high response to training stimulus. If these don’t describe you, I would suggest going into a modest caloric deficit (around 300-500 calories), bringing your bodyweight down to where you want it, then slowly adding muscle while limiting the amount of fat you gain.

      Hope this helps!

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