Yesterday with the day off I did nothing, in terms of training. No running, no strength work, nothing particularly strenuous. I actually drove to get coffee, since I had vehicle-related errands to run that day. I did a minimum of walking… not easy to do in Chicago when you live in Wrigleyville and you do most of your business on foot.
Okay, big deal, just a rest day, right? Well….
… it had been a while since I’ve taken stock of my working basal metabolic rate (BMR). Your BMR is the rate at which you would burn calories in a day if you did nothing but lay or sit there. For men my size and age, this is somewhere around 1650-1700 calories.
You do more than sit around all day, so to find your baseline calorie burn you multiply that BMR by a standard multiplier.
- Sedentary people who drive everywhere and never exercise can use 1.2 as their multiplier. You multiply your basic BMR by 1.2 to get your actual basal metabolic rate.
- If you get any exercise once or twice a week, or you walk to get around everyday, your multiplier may be closer to 1.3.
- If you work out every day it may be as low as 1.5 or as high as 2.0, depending on what you do for workouts.
Of course, I can’t just set my baseline at 1700 calories multiplied by a standard multiplier. My daily activity can vary widely, as a Chicago local who gets around on foot and runs a lot. Even if I don’t run, I may walk anywhere from 20ish minutes a day to several miles, and there’s no rhyme or reason relative to my training as to how much walking I do. Plus, this completely ignores strength training and any other physical activity.
I’ve had days where, with identical training (or lack thereof), I’ve burned anywhere from 2100 calories to over 4000. So, plugging my estimated general activity into a BMR tool and spitting out a number isn’t necessarily going to help me.
I still want to get enough to eat, while not overeating. I still do have tracker data that shows an average weekly calorie burn, which is around 3000 calories per day during training. But there’s more to it than that: