I took part in a really cool test this week and through it, I learned a lot about my body. During the month of February, we could make appointments to have our metabolic resting rate tested at Orange Theory.
The woman who was doing this, came into one of our staff meetings and demoed how it worked for us. She explained that your resting metabolic rate is the amount of calories that are required to stay alive with no activity. This is one of the main contributing components to energy expenditure. It's a super fast and easy test! You have to fast for 4 hours and cannot do any rigorous activity for 12 hours before hand. Then all you do is breath into a little machine for a few minutes and it collects data.
Different variables that may affect your resting metabolic rate include:
* Muscle mass
* The weather
Not only does the measure the amount of calories you need for basic survival but it also gives you a glimpse into your individual metabolism rate. The data showed that my RMR (resting metabolic rate) was 1,870, which is above average. This means that if I were to lay in bed all day, my body would still need 1,870 calories to function properly. If I actually got out of bed, went to work and engaged in daily normal activity, I'd need closer to 2,240 calories. When I factor in that I am an active woman, my daily calorie target comes in closer to 2,500 calories per day.
This was valuable for me to know because if you asked me, I would have said I had a slower metabolism. I thought this because I struggled most of my life with my weight and lack of energy. I now know, I need to eat more calories and more frequently.
This test also told me that I am burning carbs and fats equally, which is important to know as well. If you were burning one more than the other, it may signify and imbalance somewhere within the body.
I wanted to blog about this because I think many people, women in particular, would be surprised to learn what their true calorie intake should be. I see many people using tools like Myfitnesspal, which is great for accountability but horrible for accurate advice. I know from experience with my clients, that it typically tells women they are supposed to eat between 1,200-1,500 calories per day and the average woman is going to need more than that just to function. Add in activity, and that number goes up! I'd say a good 80% of my clients, or more, are under eating.
Under eating can have the same effect as over eating. Your body will go into survival mode and it will slow your metabolism rate and hang onto belly fat. This will make it harder to lose weight and zap your energy to boot! We have a mindset in our society that to lose weight you have to eliminate or reduce things like calories, fats and carbs but that couldn’t be more untrue! I never recommend my clients eliminating any food group, unless there is an allergy/sensitivity of some sort involved.
There is not a one size fits all health plan for everyone to follow. The best thing you can do for yourself if you have health goals, is to spend some time getting to know the unique needs of YOUR individual body. It will not only make your journey a lot easier but it will also allow you to be as healthy as you possibly can!