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  1. #1
    Senior Member DOOM_NX's Avatar
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    Low Resting Metabolic Rate

    Hello guys,

    I just got home from my last visit to my dietitian. I got my first RMR measurement.
    In short the device showed:

    RMR: 896 kcal/day
    VO2: 129 ml/min
    Ve: 3.6 l/min
    Rf: 13.2
    FeO2: 16.73%

    %Var VE: 13.8%
    %Var VO2: 22.3%

    %Pred (Harris Benedict): 40%

    21 years old, 238 pounds, 5' 6".

    Is there anything wrong with me? Every calculator I used in the past said I should be burning around 2100 calories per day without doing a thing. My body fat percentage is around 30%. What should this 896 number mean to me? Do I need to eat less? Currently I'm eating around 2000 per day and losing 2 lbs per week.

    Thanks in advance.
    DOOM_NX

  2. #2
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    I'm not an expert, so take this with a grain of salt.

    If you're losing weight that isn't 100% water weight, then you're burning more calories than you're taking in. I think this is the case since it sounds like you're consistently losing weight.

    If I understand it correctly, RMR is a measure of how many calories you'd burn if you do nothing but rest for 24 hours. You technically will use more calories than your RMR if you lay on the couch all day, but go to the fridge to make lunch.

    I'd say keep at it as long as you're losing weight at a healthy rate (1-2 lbs/week). Keep in mind that if your exercise level remains constant, your body will need fewer kcals as you lose weight, so you may have to cut back and/or exercise a bit more later as the pounds continue to come off.

    Edited to ask: Did your dietitian recommend 2000 calories a day? If so, I definitely wouldn't worry about it, especially since you're still seeing results.

  3. #3
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    THe RMR figure must be wrong. 1896, maybe?
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  4. #4
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Did you ask these questions of your dietician when you were there?
    Craig in Indy

  5. #5
    Senior Member DOOM_NX's Avatar
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    Well, I asked if this is right and she said this machine is really accurate and it can't be wrong. Then I said "but we asumed I was burning 1000 more doing nothing!"
    And then I asked "So why am I not gaining weight then?"
    "Because u exercise"
    "Bullcrap, I only exercised once during the past 2-week period"
    "Don't worry, go on with ur exercise and we'll measure it again. Maybe that's why u had hard time losing the 1st month."

    So, this is what she said. I'm not worrying, I'm just trying to figure out whether we took a bad measurement or I have the metabolism of a bear in the winter.

    Bear with me guys, if my resting metabolic rate was 900 calories. I would burn even less accounting for 8 hours of sleeping and being on the PC all day. But let's add my exercise to that 900 figure. 1h of cycling burns approximately 500 calories, so I burn 1400 per day. And I eat 2100. 700 calories surplus. Shouldn't I be gaining weight? Wtf.

    The device measured my gas through a mask for 6 minutes while I was sitting on a chair. I'll provide a link soon.
    Last edited by DOOM_NX; 11-02-11 at 06:45 PM.
    DOOM_NX

  6. #6
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    No, she doesn't know what she is talking about and is falling into the usual trap of believing that the machine must be right. Any adult burns more calories than that just staying alive. Forget it, you've been losing weight just fine. On doing what you're doing.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BionicChris's Avatar
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    Please somebody correct me if I am wrong, but when you exercise your body metabolism speeds up for a period after the exercise as well.

    In addition to the 500 calories you burn off cycling, your resting metabolic rate is now an active metabolic rate - it will be higher than the 896 quoted. I don't know how much that can vary by though.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    What does something like that cost anyhow? And how would I be able to find someone who could perform the measurement?

    I'm beginning to think there's something off with my calculations. My old Polar heart monitor said I burned about 90 calories per mile, and my Garmin Edge says I burn about 40 calories per mile.

    Both of these numbers must be extremely inflated, because I should be losing weight left and right, but I've been steady at 357ish for over a month now. According to Garmin I've burned 40,000 calories in the past 30 days, which averages 1,333 per day. Combined with an 1800 calorie diet, that means I'm only taking in 467 net calories per day, which seems like it's far lower than what the average humans BMR is.

    Going to talk to my doctor about this later this month when I have my next appointment, but I'm getting disillusioned about my lack of progress lately. I lost 3 pounds a month steadily for the first 9 months of this program, and the weight loss has steadily slowed down to nothing.

  9. #9
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    Indeed, looking again, that number seems way off.

    http://www.caloriesperhour.com/index_burn.php Plug in your stats here, and you'll find that 1800 calories is a lot closer than 800. While the formula in the calculator won't be 100% accurate, it should give you a ballpark number... I think you'll find the measurement is wrong. I've heard of technicians messing up VO2max measurements quite often.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    I'm beginning to think there's something off with my calculations. My old Polar heart monitor said I burned about 90 calories per mile, and my Garmin Edge says I burn about 40 calories per mile.
    Both of these numbers are wildly inaccurate. If you really want to know how many calories you burn while cycling, borrow a PowerTap power meter for a day. If I ride so hard I can barely stand when I get off the bike, I burn 550 calories/hr. Usually, it's more like 500 calories/hr. That's for a ride that's reasonably flat (0-500ft of elevation gain) at a brisk pace (16.5-17.5mph). In contrast to the PowerTap, my Garmin Edge 705 reports that I'm burning 1200 calories/hr! I believe the newer Edge models aren't quite so optimistic, but I still wouldn't be inclined to trust them...

  11. #11
    Bulky Bullet Sayre Kulp's Avatar
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    That doesn't add up to me. My resting metabolic rate is just over 2300 per day and my body fat % is around 16%. My BMR was higher when I was bigger, so logically... get where I'm going with this?
    "Obstacles don't like me very much. I make them look bad."

  12. #12
    Senior Member DOOM_NX's Avatar
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    Thanks for your interest guys.

    The machine used was Cosmed Fitmate. It's an Italian piece of hardware that measures your VO2 while resting and calculates the calories you burn. It should be accurate but it was giving an error about air escaping during the first minutes of the test. But she reassured me it ended right. I don't know if we messed up during the measurement but I'm kinda worried my RMR is THAT low. I used to think BMR is closely related to lean mass and I have 165 pounds of it. But now I see this is not the case. I'm gonna read more to get this thing right.

    Oh, someone asked about the price, it costs 20 EUR to have this test done here in Greece but she didn't charge me. However she told me to tell others that might be interested that it costs 20 EUR.
    DOOM_NX

  13. #13
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    No way, no how.

    As a point of comparison: I am 4'11" and 112 pounds and 56 years old. My body fat percentage remains too high, at 30%. My resting metabolic rate is in fact very low, only about a 1000. I do not have near the lean body mass that you do. And yes, metabolic rate is highly influenced by the amount of lean body mass you have.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 11-02-11 at 09:16 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member DOOM_NX's Avatar
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    I don't know goldfinch...

    I just did some research. Indirect calorimetry through VO2 tends to be accurate. This machine has an accuracy of 2%. So either we messed up the process or my preparation was not good enough. Otherwise, I really have a slow metabolism. My only concern is the calorie balance. The numbers don't add up!
    DOOM_NX

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOOM_NX View Post
    I just did some research. Indirect calorimetry through VO2 tends to be accurate. This machine has an accuracy of 2%. So either we messed up the process or my preparation was not good enough. Otherwise, I really have a slow metabolism. My only concern is the calorie balance. The numbers don't add up!
    Sounds like the number they gave you is off by 4-5X or more. What's the most likely explanation? That you have a RMR lower than any other equivalently-sized person on the planet? Or that your dietician screwed up the test and gave you an incorrect result?

  16. #16
    attacking the streets!
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOOM_NX View Post
    What should this 896 number mean to me?

    Do I need to eat less?

    Currently I'm eating around 2000 per day and losing 2 lbs per week.
    that test should mean nothing. you're losing 2lbs a week, what's the problem?

    a pound a fat is about 3500 calories and you are losing 2 pounds a week, you're burning off about 7000 calories a week or 1000 calories a day. if you're eating 2000 calories a day while this is happening, you're burning about 3000 calories a day total.

  17. #17
    attacking the streets!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    I should be losing weight left and right, but I've been steady at 357ish for over a month now.

    Combined with an 1800 calorie diet

    I lost 3 pounds a month steadily for the first 9 months of this program, and the weight loss has steadily slowed down to nothing.
    your numbers don't add up. if you're 350lbs and exercise regularly while only eating 1800 calories a day, you should be losing weight fast. how accurately are you measuring your food/calorie intake?

  18. #18
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimnolimit View Post
    your numbers don't add up. if you're 350lbs and exercise regularly while only eating 1800 calories a day, you should be losing weight fast. how accurately are you measuring your food/calorie intake?
    Pretty accurately. The only thing that's changed since losing 3 pounds a week is the fact that I exercise around 12-15 hours a week instead of just 5.

  19. #19
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    It's amazing how quickly the human body adapts. Especially if you've been on "the journey" for awhile. Last fall/winter I was cold all the time. I had my thermostat set at 77 and felt cold. Now 70 degrees feels fine, just as it used to before the weightloss. I think this has some correlation to BMR. I think the same can be said about exercise. If you keep doing the same thing your body becomes very efficent at whatever it is. I love to ride but it's become extremely difficult to get my heartrate up while riding. (having too much fun just looking at stuff)

  20. #20
    Senior Member DOOM_NX's Avatar
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    Funny thing is, I stopped riding regularly for the past 2 weeks cause of the weather and THEN I saw a huge change on the scales. Oh well... As long as I'm losing I won't worry too much...
    DOOM_NX

  21. #21
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    It's amazing how quickly the human body adapts. Especially if you've been on "the journey" for awhile. Last fall/winter I was cold all the time. I had my thermostat set at 77 and felt cold. Now 70 degrees feels fine, just as it used to before the weightloss. I think this has some correlation to BMR. I think the same can be said about exercise. If you keep doing the same thing your body becomes very efficent at whatever it is. I love to ride but it's become extremely difficult to get my heartrate up while riding. (having too much fun just looking at stuff)
    Agreed. 2 Winters ago I used to keep my heat at 70. Last winter I had to set it to 65 or else I felt like I was burning up. I wasn't able to sleep last night because I was too hot, even though it was 62 in my apartment. Eventually I had to turn the AC on at 58 so I could fall asleep. Didn't help much because I got a crappy sleep and ended up being too tired to bike to work today. Sigh.

    As far as heart rate; here's my monthly average heartrates/speeds while cycling:

    Code:
    May:       148 bpm    11.6 mph
    June:      146 bpm    11.8 mph
    July:      142 bpm    12.3 mph
    August:    142 bpm    12.4 mph
    September: 141 bpm    12.7 mph
    October:   136 bpm    13.0 mph
    November:  131 bpm    13.0 mph

    Heartrate goes down, speed goes up. I think I've reached that "plateau" point where the body has become so efficient at cycling that I'm no longer burning very many calories doing it. Glad skiing season is starting. Maybe a few months off of cycling will jumpstart my weightloss again.

  22. #22
    Senior Member DOOM_NX's Avatar
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    Regarding your temperature, it's said that people with fast metabolism tend to heat up very easily. People with slow metabolism tend to be cold.
    DOOM_NX

  23. #23
    attacking the streets!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Pretty accurately. The only thing that's changed since losing 3 pounds a week is the fact that I exercise around 12-15 hours a week instead of just 5.
    I'm not a professional, but if you weigh 350 and you're exercising 12-15 hours a week, and you're only eating 1800 calories a day, your basically starving yourself. This might sound counter intuitive, but you might have to bump up your daily calorie intake, especially to support your exercising.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Some further analysis.

    I weighed 380 pounds when I first stepped on the bike again in May. Today I weigh 357, a total loss of 23 pounds. I guess on paper that sounds good, but we're looking at about 6 months here, so I'm kind of disappointed. If I continue at this rate it'll take forever to reach what I consider a reasonable weight. Regardless...

    My Garmin, since May, says I've burned 164,531 calories. Since when you're working out, your body typically takes calories from both immediately-available carbs and by burning fat, you typically only burn 50-60% of those calories as fat. So let's say 55% of my calories were burned as fat; which means I burnt approximately 90,492 fat calories. A pound of fat is 3,500 calories, so divide by that and we get 25 pounds.

    Interesting. Pretty close to 23 pounds. Perhaps the Garmin figures aren't all that off after all?
    Last edited by Mithrandir; 11-03-11 at 06:57 AM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOOM_NX View Post
    Regarding your temperature, it's said that people with fast metabolism tend to heat up very easily. People with slow metabolism tend to be cold.
    I put part of the blame on wider blood vessels too. My blood pressure has dropped dramatically, so blood flows faster and freer through my veins, thus transferring heat much more efficiently. Given that I still have quite a large amount of adipose tissue around myself, I think I'm in an odd situation where my body is unintentionally being too efficient at warming myself up, and my fat is trapping the heat in.

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