What Is An RMR Test?

person in white t shirt writing the word "metabolism"

An RMR test measures your Resting Metabolic Rate. This is another valuable metric that can be used to tailor a holistic wellness program, specifically one that includes weight loss as a goal. 

But what, exactly, is the RMR test, and how does it work? Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect when assessing your RMR via the PNOĒ breath analysis platform. 

What is the Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) Test?

The RMR test measures the number of calories your body burns while at rest, revealing the baseline energy expenditure needed to sustain vital functions such as breathing, circulation, and cell repair. It also takes into account the energy needed to accomplish small daily tasks, including:

  • Digesting food
  • Using the bathroom
  • Shivering or sweating
  • Walking short distances

The majority of calories we burn are at rest (as much as 70 percent, in fact). Understanding our individual requirements can help us tailor nutrition and exercise plans to achieve specific health goals.

RMR Test vs BMR Test

In addition to RMR, you may have also heard of the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) test. This is also a measurement minimum of the calories needed to function at rest, but it is conducted in a different manner and typically for different reasons. 

BMR vs RMR Test Conditions

BMR is measured under strict conditions: after at least 8 hours of sleep and 12 hours of fasting, in a thermoneutral environment (neither too hot nor too cold), and in a state of complete physical and mental rest. The BMR test, therefore, does not figure in calories needed for low-energy tasks, like digesting food or using the restroom. 

The RMR test, on the other hand,  involves measurement in a relaxed state, often during waking hours, and does not necessarily require fasting or strict environmental control. For this reason, RMR is considered more practical and convenient for everyday use compared to BMR, as it can be measured in a wider range of settings and circumstances.

BMR vs RMR Test Applications

BMR is often used in clinical settings to assess basal energy needs, while RMR is commonly utilized in fitness and nutrition settings to guide weight management strategies.

Is The RMR Test As Accurate As Measuring BMR?

While BMR may theoretically be more accurate as it represents the lowest level of metabolic activity, RMR is generally considered a practical approximation and is often used interchangeably with BMR in many contexts. In most cases, a person’s RMR is around 10 percent higher than their BMR, since it includes low-energy expenditure tasks (see above). 

How Do You Measure RMR? 

At Balanced Body Health and Wellness, we conduct your RMR test using the PNOĒ breath analysis platform.  This state-of-the-art system utilizes a non-invasive approach, analyzing the composition of exhaled breath to determine metabolic parameters accurately.

During the test, you will relax in a comfortable exam room while breathing into a specialized mask connected to the PNOĒ system. By measuring the concentrations of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the breath, along with respiratory volume, the system calculates the precise rate at which the body consumes energy at rest.

What Factors Influence RMR?

There are certain variables that can affect your RMR, causing it to be lower or higher. These include:

Exercise level: individuals who exercise regularly tend to have a higher RMR. This is because increased metabolic rates carry over from exercise even after it stops. 

Age: RMR levels tend to decrease with age, which may or may not be related to increased limitations with mobility. 

Gender: In general, assigned male individuals have a higher RMR than assigned female individuals. 

Diet: high caloric intake is associated with increased RMR, while dietary restriction lowers the metabolic rate. This may seem counterintuitive, but excessive amounts of energy necessarily result in a spike in metabolism. Like exercise, this increased metabolic rate carries over after digestion and into the resting state.  

Chronic Disease: RMRs are typically higher in individuals with chronic diseases, such as cancer. This creates an energy imbalance that is, in part, due to the wasting aspect of many cancers. Disease, in general, is associated with higher levels of inflammation and higher myocardial oxygen intake, which further increases RMR. 

How Can You Increase Your RMR?

A high RMR means you will burn more calories at rest, which can translate to weight loss and overall health improvement. There are a few key ways to increase your RMR, which your functional medicine provider will go over with you in detail. These include:

Eating Breakfast

There is a reason why breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The body’s metabolism slows down considerably during sleep. Eating a nourishing breakfast kick starts your metabolism by requiring it to break down food upon waking. 

Consuming More Protein

While you’re at it, make your breakfast a high–protein one. The process whereby the body expends energy to break down food is known as “diet-induced thermogenesis.” This process speeds up more when breaking down proteins rather than fats, which means your RMR will go up (remember those metabolic spikes carry over at rest). 

Increasing Physical Activity

If your RMR test suggests room for improvement, your provider will most likely encourage you to increase your physical activity. Individuals who exercise regularly tend to have higher RMRs, since the increased metabolic rate that occurs during physical activity continues for a time at rest. 

Your exercise program will depend on your specific needs, but it may include a combination of interval training and weight training. Muscles cost more energy to use and maintain. Having more of them means you will burn more calories at rest by default. 

Likewise, interval training prevents the body from becoming too used to a specific exercise. When you do one particular exercise for an extended period, you stop burning the same number of calories, even at peak performance. Interval training keeps your metabolism on its toes by switching quickly between various exercises while still maintaining a relatively high heart rate.  

RMR Test in Omaha

If you are interested in a better understanding of your body’s unique metabolic processes, an RMR test is a great place to start. The PNOĒ system will give you this information along with many other key insights into your body’s overall efficiency. In Omaha, Balanced Body Health and Wellness is a top functional medicine provider and one of the few offering this type of testing. Call or go online today to schedule a free discovery call and get ready to finally see results.