Basal Metabolic Rate
What Factors Affect Yours?
Keeping your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) as high as possible is vital when it comes to weight loss and maintaining healthy body fat levels!
Unfortunately many people are not aware of the importance of this delicate system and blindly introduce weight loss methods which serve only to impair their endeavours and make weight loss that much harder!
Classic examples of such practices include adopting starvation diets and performing endless cardio sessions at the expense of any kind of resistance exercise.
The good news is that the first 6 points listed below are factors that YOU, as an individual, can have some degree of influence over!
Are you sitting comfortably?
Ok, let's take a look at how you can make the most of your basal metabolic rate.
Keep On Moving!
This is one of the biggest factors that influence basal metabolic rate. During any form of exercise, the body works harder to supply sufficient energy and nutrients to the muscles due to the increased work load placed on the body.
In some forms of exercise (such as in heavy resistance or kettlebell training) basal metabolic rate can remain elevated for several hours AFTER exercise has ceased -translating to more calories burned.
For a further explanation, scroll down to Kettlebell Fat Loss, in my
Kettlebell Benefits Article.
2) Muscle Mass
Muscle is an active tissue in so much as it needs energy to live. The more muscle a person has, the greater the demand for energy, and the higher the BMR.
This is one of the reasons why very muscular people can eat larger quantities of food, while still remaining lean.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we all should turn into bodybuilders - but it illustrates my case in point in that most people could benefit from having that little bit more muscle.
In short - make sure you include resistance training into your weekly routine!
Oh and ladies, this applies to you too! Don't make the mistake of thinking that performing resistance exercise will turn you into a hulking muscle woman - It WON'T! (more about this in a future articles.)
In my article on
I explained the importance of avoiding severe long-term calorie restriction due to its negative impact on BMR, and how this can hinder weight loss.
It is note worthy that BMR can be reduced by as much as 30% through extreme crash dieting - and I’m sure you will agree, THAT should be avoided at all costs when weight loss is the goal!
I mean, why make it even harder for yourself?
4) Food Types
The type of food we eat can also have a significant effect on our basal metabolic rate.
Notably, protein rich foods have the greatest effect with carbohydrates and fats eliciting a smaller impact. More information can be found on protein in my
Protein Facts Article.
In terms of BMR, the most influential hormone is called Thyroxin, which is produced by the Thyroid Gland. One function of Thyroxin is to regulate BMR. Higher levels of Thyroxin lead to a greater BMR.
Thyroxin release can be affected negatively through extreme dieting.
These type of diets place the body into starvation mode, causing a down regulation of Thyroxin in attempt to reduce BMR and thus preserve body weight - yet another cross against crash dieting!
In times of stress the hormones Adrenaline and Epinephrine are released, which have the effect of increasing cellular metabolism.
Think of the fight or flight response and how "Gee'd" up it makes you feel! Obviously stress is not a good thing to encounter with regularity, so while it can positively affect metabolic rate it comes with other negative health issues.
As we get older our basal metabolic rate becomes increasingly slower. A child’s BMR is relation to its size, is roughly double that of an elderly person due to the high rate of bodily reactions assisting in growth.
One thing to bear in mind is that as we get older, we have a natural tendency to become less active thus compounding the effects of ageing.
The message here is simple - keep active to beat the middle age spread!
Males tend to have higher basal metabolism than females due to an abundance of hormones such as testosterone and elevated levels of muscle mass when compared to that of females, causing increased calorie requirements.
9) Body Temperature
As our body temperature increases, the rate at which our bodies use energy increases. Indeed a 1% increase in body temperature can elicit an increase in BMR in the region of 10% (Tortora and Grabowski 1993).
It can be seen that our basal metabolic rate plays a crucial role in the regulation of body weight and the degree of muscle defintion we exhibit.
In addition, it must be remembered that our BMR is actually quite a delicate system, and as such, prolongued extremes should be avoided when it comes to dieting and calorie restriction.
Use Bulgarian Bag training to dramatically increase your BMR!
Find out how 20 Minutes of Exercise can help Boost Metabolic Rate!
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