Tuesday, July 1, 2014

RMR Testing @VO2 Max Sports

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Another day, another set of numbers. This time I got my Resting Metabolic Rate tested at VO2 Max Sports in Berkeley. I want to tell you all about that but let me toss out a quick workout recap first. So far, the week has been great! I've been pulled in several different directions lately so to be logging any gym-time feels like a win.

So yesterday I went to the gym and rode the upright bike for 25 minutes...on. level. 9! Yippee! It was tough but I was tougher. Or at least tough enough to finish. I looked back in my workout log and the last time I did 25 minutes on level 9 was in February. I'm not sure why I dropped back down to level 8, must have been sick or something, and then the surgery. I'm also not committing to doing level 9 from now on, just going to see how I feel. After the bike I did chest/triceps/core. For the first time in forever I actually exercised for a full hour.

Today was a bit more rushed but I felt determined to do my full cardio so I started with a 3 mile run on the treadmill. Oh, but first...I get to the gym and I'm pulling my workout clothes out of my bag to change when, wait, where are my shorts?! No shorts. I did a quick assessment of the pants I was wearing and decided I could some type of workout wearing them.

Fortunately the material was thin and I figured, why not? Plus I liked the idea of not using no shorts as an excuse to skip my workout, reinforces my sense of self-efficacy. Besides, I was lucky, had I been wearing a skirt I don't think I would have tried. Depending on the skirt.

So I got on the treadmill and soon realized I should try rolling up my pants. Once I started running they were a little floppy around the knees but really they were great. I wasn't sure how long I was going to run and the first mile or so was a lot of back and forth but in the end I ran 3 miles at 1% incline in 29:03 (9:41 pace!). I varied the mph between 6.0 and 7.0, with the last .05 miles at 7.5mph! Man were my feet flying.

After the treadmill I did legs/shoulders/core. Not enough time to finish my whole routine but enough to feel like I hit the high points. Here's a post-workout shot showing my pants.

With the legs rolled up you hardly notice they're not workout pants
So, there you go...two days of workouts in the bag. Now I just need to figure out when to get my last two in and also if I'm going to do the Firecracker 4-miler on Friday. Hoping I can swing it, I usually post a good time at this event, despite the mile long uphill section.

Ready for my test!
Ok, on to my RMR testing. I arrived at studio early in the morning because the testing requires that you fast, no food, no beverages except water (which means no coffee) and because it fit in my schedule. Michael and I chatted for a bit and then I laid down on the massage table. He gave me a clamp for my nose and then the thing to breathe into that was hooked up to the machine.

A couple minutes later the testing started and I just had to lie there quietly, sort of meditating while I waited for 12 minutes to go by. Easiest test ever. When it was done we went over the results.

My Resting Metabolic Rate was 1397. So that means if I laid quietly still for 24 hours I'd burn just shy of 1400 calories. But I don't lie quietly still all day, right? So you add to that the calories you burn doing your everyday activities like showering, walking to the car, carrying groceries, talking on the phone, making dinner...you get the idea. The testing estimated I burn an additional 417 calories doing that stuff. Then you add exercise. For example yesterday I burned 573 calories at the gym, today 501.

And that, plus a bump in burning you get while recovering from exercise (which takes roughly the same amount of time as the exercise - ie, if you spend an hour exercising you will be recovering for an hour and during that time your body will continue to burn at a slightly higher rate as it settles down). So if I take today as an example I burned 1397 doing nothing, another 417 or so doing regular stuff and 501 at the gym. Grand total of 2313 burned today.

Starting off the morning armed with the RMR number I just couldn't help but track my calories. So I downloaded a tracker app and started plugging in my stuff. I forgot how powerful tracking is as a means to pay attention to what you're eating! The app gave me around 1400 as a daily allowance. This is based on a goal to lose 8 pounds - I had to choose something and 139 was close to what I was when I wasn't doing all this evening snacking and over-indulging. Of course if I stop the bingy/negative eating and don't get to 139, I'm ok with that. It's the unhelpful habits that I really want to change, not the number on the scale. I logged all my meals and snacks and then added in my 501 exercise calories (which I happily ate) and here I am, sitting in my living room and for the first time in ages, not snacking. Feels good.

So, what's the take home message? If you are lucky enough to be able to find out your RMR do it. Just find a reputable person NOT using the handheld tester, I read a bunch of reviews and those devices are WAY unreliable. Having numbers that are not pulled from a chart somewhere feels very empowering. I'm not simply hoping this is a good target for me, I know it is.


  1. I love that you update us on your workouts, but could elaborate on your exercises? Pretty please!

    1. I have my detailed workout posted under the What I'm Up To tab. Here's the link: http://www.diaryofanaspiringloser.com/p/my-current-workout.html?m=1


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