Resting Metabolic Rate

What an RMR test can tell you:

The Willamette University Department of Exercise Science is now offering resting metabolic rate testing. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the number of calories your body utilizes per day to maintain the basic body functions while at rest. RMR makes up 60-75% of your daily energy expenditure. This value is typically expressed as a number of kilocalories per day. Factors affecting RMR include thyroid hormone regulation, epinephrine levels, and individual muscle mass. If you know your RMR, you can better estimate your caloric balance, which can help you develop strategies to achieve your weight gain or weight loss goals.

What to Expect:

For an ideal RMR test, it is advised that you arrive having fasted for 12 hours. This test is designed to find your resting metabolic rate, so it is recommended that you arrive mentally relaxed and having had a good night’s sleep. Upon arrival you will be oriented with the procedures of the test. A metabolic cart will be measuring the contents of the air you exhale through an expiratory tube connected to a secured facemask; you will be breathing in unaltered air from the room. After the equipment has been applied, you will assume a supine position and a program on the attached computer will measure your volume of oxygen consumption, volume of carbon dioxide production, respiratory exchange ratio, and heart rate over a period of 20 minutes. During the testing period it will be recommended that you keep your eyes closed and stay as calm as possible, without falling asleep, as this will affect results. The most stable 5 minutes of testing will be averaged and used in calculations.

How RMR is calculated:

RMR per minute is calculated using the following equation: VO2/min × Thermal Equivalent. The thermal equivalent is a value derived from your averaged respiratory exchange ratio that expresses the kilocalories burned per liter of oxygen consumed.