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Resting Metabolic Rate - The Most Precise Way to Lose or Gain Weight

Weight can be a very frustrating thing when you're trying to get into shape. If you want to lose weight, you know you should probably eat less, but how much less? If you want to put on muscle, you might need to eat more, but how much more?

I'll tell you how medical professionals figure it out. But first, a pop quiz.

How many calories do you have to eat in one week to GAIN or LOSE a pound of weight?

  1. 2500 calories
  2. 3500 calories
  3. 4500 calories

The answer is (B) 3,500 calories.

To lose one pound of weight, you need to burn off 3,500 calories more than you take in. To gain one pound, you have to add 3,500 calories to your diet per week.

When you start your weight change program, there are three questions you need to answer.

  1. How many calories does your body burn in a day?

  2. How many additional calories are you burning off through exercise?

  3. How many calories are you eating every day?


The measure of how many calories you burn in a day (before exercise) is referred to as your Resting Metabolic Rate. To figure it out, you need your weight (in pounds), your height (in inches) and your age.

Click here, and we'll figure it out for you.

For Men

66 + (6.22 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age) = Resting Metabolic Rate

For Women

655 + (4.36 x weight in pounds) + (4.32 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age) = Resting Metabolic Rate

Perform the calculations in the parenthesis first. Then add and subtract the totals.


How many calories do you burn off exercising? Here are a few common exercises and the number of calories they burn in 30 minutes.

Jogging (292), Walking a Dog (125), Moderate Weight Training Workout (125), Yoga (104) and Swimming Laps (292).


Count the number of calories in what you eat and drink.

Many people count the food but miss the extras. If you order a salad that has only 200 calories, great! But if you cover it with Thousand Island Dressing (50 calories per tablespoon) and chase it with a regular 12 oz. Coca-Cola (140 calories), you just turned a healthy option into a caloric disaster.

Finally, put it all together.

Add together your Resting Metabolic Rate and the calories you burn through exercise. To lose a pound a week, you need to eat 500 calories LESS than the total each day. To gain a pound a week, you need to eat 500 calories MORE than the total. (Remember to eat AT LEAST 1,200 calories every day unless prescribed otherwise by a doctor.)

BONUS! Three things you can do to make reaching your weight goal easier.

First, have your Resting Metabolic Rate professionally measured with a device that measures oxygen consumption. The formula I gave you above is good, but your actual Resting Metabolic Rate can vary by as much as 35%. An oxygen consumption test will provide the precise answer.

(Full Disclosure: My company administers an oxygen consumption Resting Metabolic Rate test, and we charge to perform it. CLICK HERE for more information.)

Second, use a Heart Rate Monitor when you are doing cardio exercise to accurately measure the calories you're burning.

Third, Use programs or websites like MyFitnessPal, CalorieKing or Spark People to track the food you eat daily. (If you use MyFitnessPal, you will find every recipe on the WeBeFit website already entered for you. Simply search under WeBeFit or WeBeFit.com and the recipe name. Both MyFitnessPal and access to the WeBeFit recipes are FREE)

That's it! By following these suggestions and using common sense, you'll see changes in as little as 14 days. It's not the latest fad, but it works.

Your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is influenced by these factors:

Age - RMR naturally declines 2-3% per decade because of muscle loss.

Body Composition - Muscles burn more calories than fat, so typically, the more muscle you have, the higher it pushes your RMR.

Body Mass - People with more mass tend to have a higher RMR.

Dieting - Crash diets can decrease your RMR.

Fever or Infection can increase or decrease RMR.

Gender - Men generally have higher RMR's than women because of size and body composition.

Hormones - Some hormones can increase or decrease RMR.

Meals - Small regular meals can increase your RMR.

Ovulation - Women can have a cyclic increase in RMR of 4-16% during ovulation.

Pregnancy - Can increase your RMR.

Pharmaceuticals - Can increase or decrease metabolic rate, depending on medication.

Nicotine - Increases RMR 3-7%.

Caffeine increases RMR 3-7%.

Weather - Cold environments can increase your RMR because you expand more energy while moving around in cold weather.

Call for a FREE Consultation (305) 296-3434
CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.

Updated 5/23/2005
Updated 12/29/2017
Updated 2/13/2022