Hi friends! Today I’m popping in to share with you the results of my Resting Metabolic Assessment.
What is a Resting Metabolic Assessment (RMA)?
A resting metabolic assessment will provide you with the number of calories you can eat per day to meet your bodies needs without gaining weight. Resting metabolism can be affected by many different things including:
- Body Mass (the more you weigh the more calories you burn in theory)
- Body Composition (more muscle requires more calories to maintain)
- Age (as lean body mass declines with age so does calorie need)
- Gender (females tend to burn less than males because they generally have less lean body mass)
- Hormones (thyroid and sex hormones)
- Nutritional Supplements
- Tobacco Use
- Stress/Emotional Excitement
- Weight Loss
- Calorie Restriction
To eliminate acute variables the test is taken after a 9-10 hour fast and you are asked to refrain from vigorous activities for 48 hours before. Here were my results:
Given my history with calorie counting and restriction I was worried about the damage I may have permanently done to my metabolism. Almost 1,400 is over the 1200 I used to regularly consume. Now that I know the damage that did to my metabolism I will knowingly eat less than my resting metabolism again. Although it’s still not quite up to where I think it should be for my weight and height, I will continue to improve it with continued clean non restrictive eating and strength training to build lean body mass.
How Is It Tested?
It’s simple, you lie and breathe normally through your mouth for 15 minutes. For some people this may be harder said than done. The first time I got it tested I kind of panicked wearing the mask. I have asthma and the mask kind of gave me anxiety, I was able to make it through the test but the results came back totally wacko. When I retested, it was much earlier in the morning and I was substantially more comfortable. This time I had more trouble staying awake then anything else, so the test results were more accurate.
Instructions: Breathe comfortably through your mouth, while wearing the mask for 15-25 minutes and do not fall asleep.
Fat Burn Map/Respiratory Quotient
The second cool part of the data provided by the assessment is the fat burn map. The tests provides results that show you how efficient your body is at burning fat at rest versus carbohydrate. Why would this be important? Think of it this way, we have only a small amount of glycogen (the form we store sugar in for energy use) storage in our liver and muscles compared to the unlimited amount of energy available in our fat stores. Therefore, it’s important to develop and maintain a metabolism that favors burning fat at rest.
I was expecting a much different picture so this was kind of fun to see! I found out I’m relatively effective at burning fat, although I have some room for improvement. The overall score is given to you by providing you your respiratory quotient (RQ). RQ is measured by calculating carbon dioxide expelled by oxygen consuled. RQ of closer to 0.7 indicates fat burn, RQ of closer to 1.0 indicates total carbohydrate burning.
What affects your RQ?
Many things can affect your RQ including all the factors listed above in what affects Resting Metabolism. However, one of the factors we have the most control over is the type of diet we eat. The type of energy you eat the most of is the type of energy your body will adapt to burning at rest. Therefore a high carbohydrate diet will promote a higher RQ, meaning you will be burning more carbohydrate at rest. A high fat diet with promote a lower RQ meaning you will be burning more fat at rest.
One significant change I’ve made to my diet since starting to work at Lifetime is totally letting go of my eating fat makes you fat fear. I’ve always been pretty good about including protein and veggies at meals, but recently I’ve been more focused on making sure I include healthy fat like butter (grassfed organic), avocado, cheese (grassfed organic), nuts, and nut butter etc at every single meal. Not only am I more full and satisfied after every meal but I believe it’s making me a more efficient fat burner. I plan to continue this style of eating for a couple of months before retesting.
In case you’re curious here is some related reading from the Lifetime Fitness Flourish Blog:
Have you ever had your resting metabolism measured, would you like too?