What is my Metabolic Rate?
There’s a long list of reasons why I love working at Cooper Aerobics, but at the top of the list is the fact that I am constantly learning how to live a healthier life. That doesn’t mean I count every calorie I eat or burn. But I do feel like I have a general understanding of the amount of calories I eat, and more importantly what my body is getting from those calories – things like nutrition and energy.
I’ve also learned that it’s also important to know how many calories I burn. Did you know that your body is burning calories all of the time? Whether you are sleeping, eating or exercising, you are burning calories. But the question is–how much?
Our Cooper Clinic Nutrition Department offers Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) Testing, so that you can know exactly how many calories your body burns while at rest. I was able to get my RMR tested the other week (fellow blogger and Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Elana Zimelman conducted my test and walked me through the results), and I’m excited to share my experience with you.
To get an accurate number, I was told to fast and avoid exercising for 12 hours prior to the test. I was also advised to avoid caffeine, tobacco, over-the-counter antihistamines and some herbal remedies, as these can alter the results.
Before the test:
Going into the test, all I knew was that this number would tell me how many calories I burned at rest. When I arrived, Elana asked for some basic information (age, height, weight) to plug into the test, as these are all factors that contribute to your metabolic rate. Then she asked me about my current exercise routine – what I do, for how often, how intense – as physical activity is also an important part of your metabolism. Finally, she discussed my goals. Was I happy with my current weight? Was I looking to gain, lose or maintain my current weight? From there, we talked about how I would use the results from the test to help me Get Cooperized.
It’s also important during the test that you are relaxed, so that your heart rate isn’t high. To help, Elana lowered the lights and played some relaxing music, and left me in the room for about five minutes. It definitely worked – I was ready to take a nap when Elana knocked on the door to begin the test.
During the test:
The nice thing about a RMR test is that it is non-invasive. The test is conducted by breathing into mouth piece, which measures oxygen consumption and then analyzes it to determine your RMR. I would compare how it feels to snorkeling. They place a clip (it reminded me of a clothespin) on your nose, so that you are only able to breathe through your mouth. It took me about a minute or two to adjust to breathing like this. After about ten minutes the test was done!
What the test tells you:
I learned so much more than just my resting metabolic rate! I received a two-page printout of my results, which Elana walked through line by line.
What you burn
This is a combination of three things. First is my resting energy expenditure, which is the number of calories my body burns every day if I did nothing more than lay in bed all day. Second, the test showed my lifestyle and activity calories. This is the number of calories I burn by performing everyday activities like walking to my car or eating. Finally, we calculated my exercise calories. This is an estimate of the number of calories I would burn with 30 minutes of moderate exercise. All combined, these three numbers equal my total calories burned per day.
How much should you eat?
To maintain or lose weight, we need to burn more calories than we eat. So taking into account what I burn, the report gives me a daily calorie recommendation depending on whether I want to maintain my weight or lose weight. I currently want to maintain my weight, so my maintenance zone told me what I needed to consume to “eat my metabolism.” Basically, consuming this number of calories should be very comfortable because I’m giving my body exactly what it needs.
We hear people comment on their “slow” or “fast” metabolism frequently. But do they really know if that is true? As a result of my test, I found out how my metabolic rate that compared to a typical person of similar sex, age, height and weight.
What you can do next
Getting a RMR test is just the beginning to living a healthy lifestyle. Once you schedule a test and get your results, a registered dietitian can put together a personalized plan of action based on your results, to help you maintain a healthy Cooperized lifestyle.
This was written by Christine Witzsche former Communications Director at Cooper Aerobics. Christine is no longer with Cooper Aerobics and we wish her all the best with her future endeavors.
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