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Knowing Your BMR Is The Key To Building Muscle or Losing Weight

27th April 2021

27th April 2021

By Shivraj Bassi

What is BMR?

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), also sometimes referred to as Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is the metric used to measure your body’s metabolism. Your BMR refers to the number of calories that your body requires to keep your body functioning at rest, and how much energy your body burns at rest.

You may be under the impression that you need to adopt a gruelling exercise regime to achieve your fitness goals – but this definitely isn’t the case. (Phew!)

Depending on your fitness goals, you may want to calculate your BMR to ensure you are getting the best results from your dietary behaviours and workouts. Any increase to your metabolic weight, such as exercise, will increase your BMR, and therefore increase your body’s energy and fat burning efficiencies.

A lot of people try and ‘speed up’ their metabolism (which is a set of processes in your body responsible for a whole host of things, including energy and fat-burning) when trying to lose weight– but this isn’t strictly possible. By calculating your BMR, you can work out exactly what your body needs, and learn how to increase the rate at which your body burns fat that way.

The key here is to note that whilst you can’t control how fast your body naturally burns fat, you can control how many calories you burn through exercise – and calculating your BMR will give you the knowledge necessary to accurately and safely achieve this – if that’s your fitness goal. Calculating your BMR isn’t only beneficial to those looking to lose weight, though, and we’ll get into that shortly.

In short: knowing your BMR is the key to building muscle or losing weight.

What is a ‘normal’ BMR?

As with all body and health-related factors, what is normal for one person won’t be normal for another, so it’s important not to get hung up on these statistics. But, if you’re looking for a starting point, or an average, the average BMR for a man is 7,100kJ, and for a woman: 5,900kJ (kilojoules). This refers to energy, and notes the average energy-burning rate for each sex.

To break it down simply, if you have a low BMR, this means that your metabolism is slower - you need to eat a lower amount of calories to be able to lose body mass. On the flip side, if you have a high BMR, you’re going to need to burn more calories to lose weight, as your metabolism is faster. Highly active individuals such as athletes will typically have a high BMR, purely due to the amount of daily exercise they do.

It can be frustrating as someone trying to lose weight to learn that their metabolism is just naturally slower than other people, and sometimes disheartening. But please don’t be demotivated, these factors are often out of our control, and it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to lose weight.

What affects our BMR?

  • Body size
  • Your growth rate
  • Your gender
  • Your weight
  • Your age
  • Your ethnicity
  • Hormones
  • Any dietary deficiencies
  • The amount of exercise you do
  • Your environmental temperature (yes, really!)

This is why it’s important that there is no ‘normal’, and you should concentrate on your BMR and how you can use this information to reach your individual fitness goals – whatever they are.

BMR and Weight-Loss

With the recent decline in physical activity as a result of COVID-19 and the drastic changes to our lifestyle, many people have started to calculate their BMR to make positive changes to their health. Worryingly for our overall health, a recent study found that 42% of people reported gaining weight since the pandemic began.

It’s predicted that the after-effects of this drop in exercise will continue long after the pandemic ends – so it’s important that we take the necessary steps to take back control of our health and dietary behaviours.

A great way of doing this is to calculate your BMR so that you are informed to be able to make healthy choices – The McKinsey Global Institute state that we could reduce disease and obesity risk by as much as one third if we introduce weight management into our daily routines.

Calculating Your BMR

Calculating your BMR can be pretty complex and can be done through a calculation that takes into account your gender, weight in kilograms, height in centimetres and age and amount of daily exercise you currently do or aim to do.

Calculating your BMR is the first step in discovering your metabolic rate, and can set you up nicely to make any necessary changes to your diet to achieve your fitness goals and improve your performance and overall well-being.

Calculating your BMR can enable you to achieve a range of fitness goals, including:

  • Weight Loss
  • Weight Maintenance
  • Weight Gain

How To Calculate Your BMR

However, due to the complexity and range of factors involved, many people choose to use a simple BMR calculator to gain an automatic BMR estimate.

You’ll find when using these online calculators that many refer to a ‘calculation formula’, typically either Mifflin St. Jeor or Harris-Benedict – both named after the researchers that purposed them. Either can be used to calculate your BMR, so it is generally up to personal preference – but many researchers recommend Mifflin St. Jeor, claiming higher accuracy rates. 

Ready to try one out? Simply enter your info into the calculator below to get an approximation of your BMR.

From here, you can use this result as an estimation to set your needs. Now it’s time to decide on your diet, workouts and supplements to assist you on your fitness journey.


Calculating your BMR is a great place to start in your fitness journey – or even a perfect technique to implement into your existing routine if you want to further improve your performance. This calculation means you are completely in-the-know when it comes to your body’s performance and physical health, allowing you to control and monitor your well-being.

When making dietary changes as a reflection of calculations such as BMR – be sure not to do anything too drastic, too quickly. Make small, manageable and healthy changes that are manageable and be consistent for the best results.

Happy calculating!


  • Frankenfield, D. C., Muth, E. R., & Rowe, W. A. (1998). The Harris-Benedict studies of human basal metabolism: history and limitations. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 98(4), 439-445. Click here.
  • Frankenfield, D., Roth-Yousey, L., Compher, C., & Evidence Analysis Working Group. (2005). Comparison of predictive equations for resting metabolic rate in healthy nonobese and obese adults: a systematic review. Journal of the American Dietetic association, 105(5), 775-789. Click here.
  • Hall, G., Laddu, D. R., Phillips, S. A., Lavie, C. J., & Arena, R. (2020). A tale of two pandemics: How will COVID-19 and global trends in physical inactivity and sedentary behavior affect one another?. Progress in cardiovascular diseases. Click here.
  • Linzer, K., Remes, J. & Singhal, S. (2021). How Prioritising Health Is A Prescription For US Prosperity. McKinsey Global Institute. Click here.
  • Mifflin, M. D., St Jeor, S. T., Hill, L. A., Scott, B. J., Daugherty, S. A., & Koh, Y. O. (1990). A new predictive equation for resting energy expenditure in healthy individuals. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 51(2), 241-247. Click here.
  • Slightly More Than 6 in 10 U.S. Adults (61%) Report Undesired Weight Change Since Start of Pandemic. (2021). APA Organisation. Click here.

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Innermost Investigates: The Truth On Power Plates
Vibration or ‘power plates’ are commonly met with a healthy dose of scepticism. And to be fair, standing on a plate and shaking, at first, doesn’t sound like the most effective method of exercise. What most people aren’t aware of, however, is that vibration plates were developed over 50 years ago by Russian cosmonauts to prevent the loss of muscle mass in space. They continue to be used to this day in space missions, even by NASA. If vibrating plates are good enough to be used on spaceships, then perhaps they’re good enough for the gym.  Innermost is here to investigate the benefits of using vibration plates (on Earth). We’ll answer all your burning questions including: What is a power plate? What does a power plate do? Do power plates work? And how do I use a power plate?  What is a power plate? How do they work? A vibration plate (often called a ‘power plate’) is an exercise machine that sends high-speed vibrations through the entire body. This stimulates your muscles to automatically contract up to 30-50 times more per second than usual. To maximise stimulation, vibration plates move in multiple directions simultaneously – up and down, left and right, front and back. As your body naturally attempts to stabilise itself against the shaking, it engages lots of muscles (many of which aren’t engaged during conventional exercise). And since this stabilisation occurs automatically, you hardly feel it.  8 benefits of vibration plates Ok, so new muscles are engaged a lot more than usual. That sounds great. But what are the actual benefits of power plate exercise?  Saves time Your muscles are working harder, so it takes less time to reach the same goals, cutting down on your workout time. Remedial therapist and Power-Plate specialist trainer Mark Andrews call power plates “the microwave of fitness”. Low impact Power plate exercise is considered low impact, making it suitable for all ages and fitness levels. It is also low impact on joints and ligaments – making it a great form of exercise for people who want to ease into exercise – for example, if you’re a bit older or recovering from an injury. Fat-loss benefits Power plates are a fat burn booster, but at the end of the day, the most proven method for fat-loss is correct nutrition and a calorie deficit. Innermost also offers nutritional supplements for healthy and sustainable fat-loss including The Lean Protein, The Define Booster and The Tone Capsules. Muscle strength and toning benefits Since so many muscle groups are working at the same time and 30-50 times more than usual, your muscles will strengthen and tone even from just standing on a power plate. Improved circulation Vibration plates can be used as a massage tool, which increases circulation in the massaged body parts. Increase core strength, stability, and balance All exercises on a vibration plate forces your body to engage its core to balance and stabilise. Certain exercises such as press-ups or planks (see 5 power plate exercises below) amplify this benefit even more. Increase Flexibility According to the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, using a power plate when stretching (before or after a workout) is more effective than stretching alone. At-home If you’re working from home, too far from a gym, or simply enjoy the convenience of home workouts, you can purchase a power plate to use in the house. A personal power plate and power plate move are both relatively compact pieces of equipment so can fit easily into your home. You can check out more options here. How do I use a power plate? 5 power plate training exercises Plank Get onto the floor and place your forearms onto the power plate. Gently move your knees away from the power plate until your back is completely straight. When you feel confident, have only your toes touching the floor and lift your knees off the ground. Hold for 30 seconds. Press up Similar to the plank, except your hands are on the power plate, shoulder-width apart with your arms out-stretched and locked at the elbows. Again, your back is straight, and you can start with your knees on the floor. When you are confident you can lift your knees off the floor and have just your toes touching the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. If you can, gently bend your elbows to bring your body down close to the power plate and then straighten your elbows again to bring your body back up – congratulations you’ve just done a press-up on a power plate! Leg crunches Sit in the centre of the vibration plate. Place your hands behind you on the edge of the power plate and bend your elbows to help you gently lean back. As you lean back, lift your legs off the ground to counter-balance yourself. The lower half of your legs (below the knee) should be parallel to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Squat Stand on the power plate with feet shoulder-width apart and toes facing forward. Using out-stretched arms that are parallel to the floor to balance you, gently bend your knees to bring your body down. Hold for 30 seconds. Then gently straighten your knees again to go back up. Keep your back straight at all times. Lunge Stand one ‘stride’ (long-step) away from the power plate. Then, with one leg, take one long step onto the power plate, keeping your toes forward. Gently bend the leg that is on the power plate at the knee, keeping the other leg straight at all times (you should really feel a stretch in the straight leg). Hold for 30 seconds. Then step off the power plate and change legs (i.e. if you stepped with your left leg first, now step with your right leg). So there you have it, a power plate is a space-age exercise machine that boasts lots of fitness benefits. If you’re looking to level up your exercise routine then this is a great option for you. Next time you’re in a gym give it a go, you might be pleasantly surprised! Sources: Is whole-body vibration a good way to lose weight and improve fitness? The 8 Best Ways to Exercise With A Vibration Plate All You Need to Know About: Power Plates The Power Plate: A Space Age Relic Inspires a New Form of Exercise - The New York Times (nytimes.com) Read more
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