What is Resting Metabolic Rate?

man and woman resting and drinking water after workout


Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the minimum number of calories the body burns at rest to sustain vital bodily functions like breathing, organ function, oxygen circulation, and maintaining cell integrity.


  • RMR makes up 60-75% of total daily energy expenditure. It’s measured first thing in the morning after fasting.
  • A higher RMR burns more calories 24/7. Strength training, protein intake, and increased muscle mass boost RMR.
  • Age, hormones, sex, genetics, and body size and composition affect RMR. Men often have a higher RMR than women.
  • RMR calculators help estimate needs, but metabolism varies person to person. Track trends vs obsessing over exact number.


  • A 5’8″ 150 lb male with an RMR around 1600 calories per day.
  • An inactive person’s RMR dropping 100 calories after losing 10 lbs of muscle.

Related Terms

  • BMR, basal metabolic rate, TDEE, metabolism, metabolic rate

Common Questions

  • How many calories does RMR burn? Roughly 10-15 calories per pound of total body weight depending on factors.
  • What increases RMR? Strength training, high intensity exercise, protein intake, gaining muscle, caffeine.

Do Not Confuse With

  • TDEE – Total daily energy expenditure from all activity.
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