close-up of a woman's feet on a weighing scales
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Metabolic heart rate is a measure of the amount of energy that you use each day at rest. It measures the calories that you burn to perform basic body functions when sleeping or engaging in no physical activity. Metabolic heart rate may refer to your basal metabolic rate -- calculated using an equation -- or to your resting metabolic rate -- measured by taking your pulse. Knowing your metabolic heart rate will help you to better understand your metabolism and will give you a baseline for how much energy your body requires each day.

How to Calculate Your Basal Metabolic Rate

Measure your weight on a scale, completely unclothed so you can be as accurate as possible. Place the scale on a flat surface and stand in the center of it. Weigh yourself in the morning for a more accurate measurement, as the food you eat can cause your weight to fluctuate later in the day.

Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to convert it to kilograms. Skip this step if your scale provides your weight in kilograms.

Measure your height. Stand straight with your back against a wall and rest a book on top of your head, parallel to the floor. Step away from the wall and mark the wall at the bottom edge of the book where your head was. Use a measuring tape to measure how high the mark is off the ground.

Multiply your height in inches by 2.54 to convert to centimeters. If you took your measurement in centimeters, skip this step.

Plug your measurements into the Mifflin St. Jeor Equation:

10.0 * weight + 6.25 * height - 5.0 * age + 5 (for males) or - 161(for females)

Using a calculator, multiply your weight in kilograms by 10, your height in centimeters by 6.25, and your age in years by 5. Add the first two values together and subtract the third value. Add 5 if you are male or subtract 161 if you are female. The final number is your basal metabolic rate.

How to Find Your Resting Metabolic Rate

Locate your pulse either in your wrist (radial artery) or your neck (carotid artery). Once you have found it, place your middle and index finger gently against your skin so you can feel the pulse.

Count the number of beats that occur in 10 seconds, using the stopwatch to time yourself.

Multiply the number you obtained in step two by six to obtain your resting metabolic rate.


If you struggle with the calculations for finding your basal metabolic rate, there are various online tools that will calculate it for you if you plug in your weight, height, age and gender.

Try finding your resting metabolic rate on several different days and take the average to obtain a more accurate measurement. Take the measurement when you first wake up, since activity throughout the day can cause your resting metabolic rate to fluctuate.

Keep in mind that these measurements are only an estimate. Your basal metabolic rate and resting metabolic rate can be more accurately determined by a physician or other health professional.