This post was originally published by Tamara Pridgett on PopSugar.
Take a read through my author profile, and you'll quickly learn that I love to write about strength training, ways to improve your health, fitness gadgets (these are a few of my favorites), and cute and functional workout gear. That's why I'm a fitness editor.
I've recently begun to get really into metabolism; it's to the point where I find myself reading scholarly articles at leisure. I didn't just wake up one day and become interested in metabolism. It all started when Laila Zemrani, cofounder and CEO of Fitnescity, contacted me about getting a resting metabolic rate (RMR) test done.
What Is a Resting Metabolic Rate Test?
Before I jump straight into my experience, I've got to give you the 411 on what a RMR test is and how it works. According to Fitnescity, the RMR test, "uses state-of-the-art technology to measure the number of calories your body needs at rest." To be clear, this is the number of calories your body needs to perform basic functions, like breathing, that keep you alive.
From that number, a specialist (an endocrinologist or a clinical dietitian) can help you determine how many calories you need in a day to support your lifestyle. You can also use this information to learn how many calories you need per day to lose, maintain, or gain weight. The test also tells you your estimated total energy expenditure — the number of calories you burn in a day — and whether you burn more fat or carbs (hint: this is one of the important things I learned).
How the RMR Test Works
Now for the details you need to know before you get a RMR test. The test is $250 at Fitnescity, and prices will more than likely vary depending on your location. Before getting your test, you'll have to fast for 12 hours (you can have water). Why? Because the objective is to find out how many calories your body needs at rest in the basal state (before exercise and eating). My advice: make a morning appointment so that the possibility of you becoming hangry is less than a midday appointment. Along with fasting, you have to avoid moderate and vigorous activity 24 hours prior to the test so that your results are as accurate as possible.
Day of, your height and weight measurements will be taken. Then you'll be instructed to lay on a chair followed by the canopy hood being placed over your head (gorgeously modeled by yours truly above). Your only job is to stay awake and stay as still as possible while the machine works its magic. If you get chilly, a blanket will be provided, but I think you'll be really cozy. The test takes approximately one hour to complete from start to finish and requires zero physical activity.
What I Learned From the RMR Test
Because the specialists have to analyze your data, it should take a few days for you to receive your results. From my test, I learned that my body needs 1,288 calories a day (my resting metabolic rate) before doing any type of physical activity and eating. I also learned that my respiratory exchange ratio (RER) is 0.77. This means that my body burns more fat than sugar, which according to Dori Arad, the endocrinologist who explained my results, is ideal for a healthy person.
He explained that healthy people should ideally be burning fat, because our bodies store 90 percent fat and preserve the sugar for brain functions and "really fast, aggressive activities." A RER closer to one indicates that there are limitations on burning fat and have a "very strong correlation to weight gain, to obesity, to diabetes, to heart disease, and to inflammation," Dr. Arad said. By knowing your RER, an expert will be able to determine the best workout you should be doing to burn fat.
Why You Should Consider Doing a RMR Test
While there are many workouts and diets that can help improve your overall health, if you're looking for something specific to you and your needs, you need information specific to your body. For instance, if you feel like you've tried everything and still aren't losing weight, this test will be able to tell you more on why that is as opposed to starting a random diet you read about once. You'll learn if you have a slow metabolism (if you do, here's how you can boost it), and you'll learn exactly how many calories you need in a day and how well your body burns fat.
Yes, I know $250 is a lot of money, and there are a lot of other ways you could spend it, but this information is 100 percent individualized to you. In my opinion, it's worth the investment because you'll save money in the long run by learning exactly what works for your body and what you can do to achieve your health goals.