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What is Resting Metabolic Rate testing?

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) testing is the test that determines how fast or slow your metabolism is when you are at rest. Metabolism is the process of converting the calories in food into energy that the body uses to function. It is one of the key indicators of well-being and is often the basis for finding out the best diet and fitness plan for an individual. A person’s metabolic rate can be influenced by many factors, including age, weight, gender, hormone levels, and body composition. This is why the metabolic rate is unique per individual.

What Can RMR Help Diagnose?

Testing your Resting Metabolic Rate is a way for your healthcare provider to create a customized maintenance or weight loss plan specific to your body. What can Resting Metabolic Rate monitor? Here are some of them.

  • Why attempts to lose weight in the past did not work; e.g. your body might have a slow metabolism.
  • Why it seems that your weight loss efforts are plateauing; e.g. your body might have undergone some metabolic changes as you were trying to lose weight.
  • What your exact caloric requirements should be so you can sustain your weight; e.g. an RMR test can give you the precise measurements.
  • How many calories from exercise should be incorporated into your weight loss plan.
  • The number of calories you burn from fat when you are at rest (compared to fat from carbohydrates).
  • What your calorific deficit should be so that you can lose weight sustainably and safely.

RMR tests measures both the VO2 (oxygen) and VCO2 (carbon dioxide) in your breath to provide you with a quick summary of how your metabolism functions while you are resting.

Preparing for RMR Testing

To succeed at your RMR testing session and get truly accurate results, there are certain things you need to do before the test itself:

  • Do not exercise or perform strenuous activities before the test.
  • Avoid eating at least 4 hours before your test starts. This varies depending on the provider.
  • Do not take any stimulants (like coffee or tea) before the test.

These activities can skew your RMR test results and provide false results. The majority of RMR tests are conducted before 12pm, and an individual will be required to fast for 12 hours prior to the test time. This is recommended so that any factors that can influence the results will be eliminated.

RMR Procedure

What can you expect during a Resting Metabolic Rate test? During the procedure, you will be asked to recline or sit in a comfortable position. Once you’re settled in, you will be given a mouthpiece (KORR MetaBreather) into which you will be breathing. You will inhale the air that’s in the room but will exhale through the metabolic breathalyzer. This is what will measure your RMR.

You do not need to be asleep for the procedure, but you will need to be in a comfortable position. In addition, your heart rhythm and heart rate will be monitored via an EKG throughout the test.

Tips for your RMR test:

Just relax, be comfortable, and close your eyes.

Ensure that your mouth is clamped around the MetaBreather securely but lightly. This is important so that your exhaled air is analyzed correctly.

The entire procedure takes approximately 10 minutes.

When the results are available, your fitness or healthcare provider will talk to you about the results and outline a weight loss program that will best suit you.


To learn more about the Resting Metabolic Rate test, its benefits, and what it can do for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. Contact us at 416-722-3393.