What Is Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)?




University Employee


University Student


All testing is done by appointment.

What Is Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)?

Metabolic rate is a measure of how quickly your body expends energy. This is also referred to as your "caloric burn rate". Resting metabolic rate testing shows how many calories your body burns at rest, giving you the data you need to plan a weight loss, weight gain, or weight maintenance plan designed to succeed.

We will measure the calories your body needs to sustain function while at rest. Using this number, we can estimate your total daily caloric needs.

RMR Testing

PEAK measures RMR with gas analysis through indirect calorimetry. Indirect calorimetry calculates the heat we produce from production of carbon dioxide and nitrogen waste or from oxygen consumption.

This process is easy and not invasive; the test itself only takes 10 minutes. The operator puts the participant’s information into the RMR machine and the participant relaxes in a chair and breaths into a tube that is connected to the RMR machine for 10 minutes. After the test, results are discussed with the participant to ensure understanding and clarify any questions.

What is the difference between RMR and total energy expenditure?

Energy expenditure can be divided into three groups of calories. The sum of all of these groups of calories is your total metabolic rate.

  1. Resting Calories—Calories that are burned while the body is at rest. These calories are needed just to maintain life. The majority of all calories burned (about 70-80 percent) are burned at the resting level.
  2. Activity Calories—Calories that are burned because of normal daily activities are "Activity Calories". Normal daily activities such as walking, eating (digesting food), typing, and the like, are included in activity calories.
  3. Exercise Calories—You burn these calories when you exercise.

How to Prepare For Your Test

  • Don't eat or exercise 4-5 hours prior to your test
  • Don't drink coffee 4-5 hours prior to your test
  • Don't smoke or drink alcohol 2 hours prior to your test
  • Don't participate in vigorous/high intensity weight training 12 hours prior
  • Do come rested and relaxed


Is my metabolism fast or slow?

Fast and slow metabolisms are phrases that are common in everyday life, but can be difficult to understand. A good way to understand the body’s metabolism is to think about it as fuel efficiency, just like a car. A person with a fast metabolism would have low fuel efficiency; in car terms a Ford E350 Wagon (10mpg).

In contrast, a person with a slow metabolism would have high fuel efficiency; in car terms a Toyota Prius (51mpg).

The main determiner in the speed of a person’s metabolism is genetics; but lifestyle and body composition can play a role as well.

What does energy balance mean?

Energy Balance is the relationship between energy intake (eating) and energy expenditure (metabolic rate). There are three phases of energy balance:

  • Positive energy balance—When energy intake is more than energy expenditure. Weight gain may occur in positive energy balance.
  • Negative energy balance—When energy intake is less than energy expenditure. Weight loss may occur in negative energy balance.
  • Neutral energy balance—When energy intake is equal to energy expenditure. Weight maintenance may occur in neutral energy balance.