Before I get started, the short and sweet version of what the test is, and what it is used for, can be found at the following link (if it works) or google RMR testing.
I have always wanted to do one of these tests. Basically, it tells you how many calories your body burns at rest so you can have a more accurate way of knowing how many calories you burn in a day. We have probably all used the online calculators, and based on that rate and wanting to lose either 1 or 2 pounds a week, we get a calorie range. Well those calculators can be so far off, as it's only the best guess.
Basically, they give you a plug to plug your nose, and you breathe in and out through a tube in your mouth. I had to do it for 2 minutes to calibrate it and then 10 minutes for the actual test.
It can be a little uncomfortable and my nose wasn't happy to be pinched that long, but nothing unbearable. Your throat gets very dry and you can feel like you want to take the tube out of your mouth, but I was a trooper. Basically I was laying on a cot and breathing into a tube for 12 minutes.
One thing I will say is they want you to breathe normally, not take extra big breaths or breathe faster than normal etc. While I did my best, it was just an awkward situation and I think I breathed a little more often than I would have if I was not breathing into the tube. Oh wellsies LOL.
So it tells me what they measured, which is 2016 calories a day at rest. Then it gives an estimate or daily activity/lifestyle and exercise to give you an estimated overall number:
The man going over the results said he doesn't like the estimate part, because they are just guessing. He told me that for my sedentary job, I should add about 300 calories for the lifestyle part. So assuming no exercise I burn 2300 calories a day.
It gives you a range for what you should eat:
So as they show maintenance would be 2016 (if I was just resting all day) to 2619. Weight loss zone 1614 to 2016 and medically supervised 0-1614. Basically, they don't want to get sued if I go too low. They were also big on not losing muscle, so while he explained weight loss is accelerated at a lower range, it is also going to come from muscle as well as fat. So to preserve muscle they don't recommend going below 1614 and to get the rest or majority of the deficit from exercise.
With that said I am sure I will probably eat lower than the 1600 as I have in the past, but I do understand why they give the information they do.
It shows you where your metabolism falls compared to other people of a similar weight and age.. mine is 10% faster than average!
What does this mean? It means I can't blame my weight problem on a slow metabolism.
Part of the reason my calorie burn is 2016 at rest is because of how large I am, it will go down as I lose the weight.
So even if there is a 10% difference for margin of error (for me, the machine, etc.) I would still burn at least 1800 calories at rest, and about 2100 on a regular sedentary work day. I am just glad I have the information, because when you are trying to figure out a calorie range, and don't have the most important number (your calorie burn) it can be hard to get things in the right spot.