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What is BMR?

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is defined as the minimum number of calories that your body requires to conduct rudimentary, life-supporting functions such as breathing, blood circulation, cell reproduction, nutrient processing, and maintenance of vital organs, while it is at rest, i.e., when the digestive system goes into inactive mode. On an average, BMR normally accounts for 60-70 per cent of an individual’s total energy expenditure in a day. In this article, we’ll take a look at how the BMR calculator works, the BMR formula and a BMR chart.  

What is a BMR calculator?

The BMR calculator is a convenient tool that estimates your basal metabolic rate, i.e., the number of calories your body needs in case you were to be in resting mode throughout the day. The BMR calculator uses parameters like gender, age, height, and weight, to derive the BMR score in calorie units.

Benefits of a BMR Calculator

A Basal Metabolic Rate calculator is crucial to know your body’s BMR which in itself holds several benefits as follows:

1. Maintenance of a Healthy Lifestyle

  • Each body is different and there is ‘no one size fits all’ when it comes to diet and physical fitness plans.

  • The BMR calculator can be a starting point for planning on how to customise your diet and exercise goals for a healthy lifestyle.

  • Also, it ensures that you are including the right foods in your meal plan that consist of macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, as well as micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals too.

2. Gives a Direction to your Weight Maintenance Journey

  • The BMR calculator gives an estimate of the number of calories you must be consuming to meet your weight maintenance goals.

  • If the goal is to shed a few pounds, you would need to eat less than your BMR, and if the goal is to put on weight, then you shall have to eat a bit more than your BMR.

How to Calculate BMR?

There are multiple equations to calculate BMR and each of them has been proven to give accurate results. However, certain variables as mentioned below are pivotal to calculate BMR for a precise BMR result:

Variables in BMR

1. Age

  • The older and agile an individual is, the lower is his/her BMR, i.e., the lower the number of calories required to perform the basic functions of the vital organs in the body.

  • The BMR decreases with age as the free fat mass (i.e., the weight of the body without any weight of the fat tissues) gradually drops during the ageing process.

2. Gender

  • Men are statistically proven to have a higher BMR than women, as men’s free fat mass is on an average more than women’s.

3. Height (in cms)

  • Irrespective of weight, individuals who are tall and thin usually tend to have a higher BMR than their shorter counterparts, owing to the greater surface area of their skin.

4. Weight (in kgs)

  • The BMR is calculated using the body’s lean mass, i.e., the muscle mass as it requires a lot of energy to maintain itself. So, if the muscle mass increases, then the BMR is also higher.

It must be noted that the BMR is calculated under a controlled environment where an individual’s nervous system is in an inactive state, i.e., the body and mind must be in a resting or sleeping position.

BMR Calculation Formula

As stated above, several BMR calculator formulae may be used to estimate a person’s BMR accurately. These BMR calculator formulae are equations derived from statistical data. These equations form the basis of BMR calculation by most online BMR calculators.

Here are some topmost and widely used equations or BMR formula that the online BMR calculators rely upon for an accurate BMR calculation:

1. Mifflin-St Jeor Equation

This is the latest equation currently in use by most basal metabolic rate calculators available online and has been proven to throw up accurate BMR results. The equations are devised separately for males and females, based on the ‘S’ factor.

BMR (measured in Kcal/day) = 10W + 6.25H -5A +S


W = body weight in kgs

H = height in cms

A = age of the person in years

S = +5 Kcal/day for women, and -161 Kcal/day for men

2. Harris-Benedict Equation

Since 1919, the Harris-Benedict equation is the oldest and most commonly used equation by basal metabolic rate calculators for the longest period until the arrival of the Mifflin-St Jeor equation. The equation was subsequently revised to sharpen the accuracy of the BMR result, and two separate equations are employed for men and women to determine their BMR using a BMR calculator for men and women.

  • Revised Harris-Benedict Equation for Men

BMR (measured in Kcal/day) = 13.397W + 4.799H - 5.677A + 88.362

  • Revised Harris-Benedict Equation for Women

BMR (measured in Kcal/day) = 9.247W + 3.098H - 4.330A + 447.593


W = body weight in kgs

H = height in cms

A = age of the person in years

BMR Chart

Based on the parameters of age, weight, and height, the BMR chart gives an account of the number of calories needed by an individual to perform the basic functions while at rest. Here’s a BMR chart calculated using the BMR formula of Mifflin St Jeor equation for men and women across different ages, heights, and weights:

Height (in Cms)



Age (in Years)

Weight range (in kgs)

BMR (in Kcal/day)

Age (in Years)

Weight range (in kgs)

BMR (in Kcal/day)















967 - 1067




917- 1017




































1573- 1673








1473- 1573






























How many calories do you need every day?

Once you calculate the BMR online using any of the calculators, you can calculate your daily caloric intake by multiplying your BMR with a factor ranging between 1.2 and 1.9, depending on your activity level.

  • Sedentary

If your body is physically inactive for a large period with minimum or zero exercises, the number of daily calories required by the body is calculated by multiplying with 1.2.

  • Lightly Active

Lightly active persons usually work out for 1-3 days of the week. Multiply the BMR with a factor of 1.375 to calculate your daily caloric intake.

  • Moderately Active

People who work out for at least 3-5 days of the week fall into this category. Their daily calorie requirement is to be calculated by multiplying the BMR with a factor of 1.55.

  • Very Active

For very active individuals who exercise every day throughout the week without fail, the daily caloric intake is estimated by multiplying their BMR by 1.725.

  • Extremely Active

For those who undertake a physical job involving strenuous work, multiply the BMR by 1.9 to determine their daily caloric needs.

Ideal BMR for Men

The ideal or normal BMR for men is considered to be about 1600-1800 Kcal/day on average. However, this may again vary depending on the age, weight, and height of the male.If you want to know your ideal BMR, you should use a BMR calculator for men to get the perfect number depending on your body’s measurements.  

Ideal BMR for Women

The ideal or normal BMR for women is approximately 1550 Kcal/day, and just as in males, this may vary based on the age, weight, and height of a woman at a given point in time.You should use a BMR calculator for women to find out what the BMR for your body is. 

Ideal BMR for Children

The ideal or normal BMR for children and their daily calorie intake varies quite drastically depending on their age, gender, and activity level.

  • For Moderately active girls aged between 2-18 years, the ideal BMR can vary between 1000-2000 Kcal/day, and for moderately active boys of the same age group, the ideal BMR can vary between 1000-2800 Kcal/day

  • For inactive boys aged between 2-18 years, the ideal BMR can range between 1000-2400 Kcal/day, and for inactive girls of the same age group, the ideal BMR can vary between 1000-1800 Kcal/day

BMR and Weight Management

Your BMR and daily activity levels are useful to determine the total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), i.e., the number of total calories your body uses on a daily basis. Once you calculate the BMR online and use it to compute the TDEE, you would now have a fair idea of how many additional calories you shall need to add/reduce from your daily nutritional diet plan to gain/lose weight.


Very often, BMR is alternatively used with Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), but they, in fact, slightly differ from each other.



BMR is the number of calories that your body expends while it is at rest without performing any additional activities.

RMR also measures the number of calories that your body expends while it is at rest without performing any additional activities. However, unlike BMR, it also measures the calories burned during the digestion of food.

As BMR does not take into account the calories burned during digestion, it is usually lower than the RMR.

RMR is generally a bit higher than the BMR as it also counts the calories burned in the digestion of food.

Food digestion accounts for nearly 10 percent of the body’s Total Energy Expenditure (TEE), due to which the value of RMR is higher than the BMR.

Factors Affecting BMR

It is a commonly held belief that the more your body weighs, the more energy it needs to maintain itself, increasing the BMR as well. However, the BMR is not solely dependent on an individual’s body weight, and other factors besides age and gender also have a bearing on the BMR as stated here:

1. Free Fat Mass (FFM)

  • It is defined as the weight of the body minus the body fat in the tissues. In simple terms, the FFM is what is commonly termed muscle mass or lean mass.

  • A high ratio of FFM to fat mass is known to increase the basal metabolic rate. The more the lean muscle mass over fat mass, the greater is the BMR.

2. Genetic Makeup

  • Each person’s genetic makeup is different, and with varying metabolic rates encoded into their respective DNA, the BMR also differs.

3. Dietary Habits

  • Small meals, evenly spaced between intervals are known to increase the BMR, and starvation has demonstrated that the BMR levels could drop by nearly 30 percent.

4. Physical Activity

  • A reasonable amount of physical activity that you undertake in a day affects your BMR.

  • Physical exercise, especially body-building exercises ensure that the FFM in the body increases resulting in a higher BMR.

5. Body Temperature

  • Whenever the body temperature rises, the pace of various chemical processes in your body grows even faster, creating a higher energy demand. Thus, the BMR increases as the body temperature also increases.

  • Similarly, in colder regions, your body requires extra energy to raise its temperature to an optimum level. Thus, the BMR increases in such cases too.

6. Hormonal and Reproductive Health

  • Hormones such as the thyroid gland are responsible for the regulation of metabolic rate, and when there is a high prevalence of this hormone in the bloodstream, the BMR increases.

  • During menopause in women can have an impact on the BMR figures depending on the female hormonal levels in the body.

  • Similarly, the BMR also increases in pregnant women who ensure the growth of a fetus inside their wombs. The BMR of the baby is also accounted for while calculating the daily calorie supply.

7. Supplements

  • Certain supplements such as caffeine, are known to increase the BMR, to accelerate weight loss.

To Conclude

You can make use of a BMR calculator to make a systematic plan for losing weight by counting calories and incorporating exercise into your routine. Blindly following a diet plan without evaluating your individual needs could be counter-productive to your weight management journey. If you want added medical protection, you should also look into getting a health insurance plan for yourself and your family. With the skyrocketing cost of healthcare, a good health insurance plan will keep you financially covered so that you can focus on your well-being without any stress. 

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FAQs on BMR Calculator

  • ✔️Why is it important to calculate my BMR?

    Your BMR is an indicator that reflects the effectiveness of your diet and daily lifestyle. If your BMR is lower than the average, you may need to lose weight for a healthy body. Further, keeping a check on your BMR helps you when getting your ideal health insurance.

  • ✔️What can I do to increase my BMR?

    Quality sleep, balanced and nutrient-dense diet spread across fixed intervals, adequate hydration, and regular physical exercise can aid in increasing your BMR.

  • ✔️Does BMR change with time?

    Several factors such as age, gender, weight, and genetics are instrumental in determining the BMR. The body composition in terms of muscle and fat changes as individual ages, altering the BMR as well.

  • ✔️I am suffering from fever. Can I measure my BMR?

    You might be on medication or any medical supplements if you are suffering from fever. Such supplements tend to falsely increase the BMR. So, it is advisable to calculate BMR online when you are in a healthy condition.

  • ✔️Despite the daily physical activity, why is my BMR not increasing?

    Not every form of physical activity is known to increase your BMR, although calories are burnt to help balance your intake with cardio exercises. Only strength-training exercises such as bench press etc., help in building muscle mass or FFM, resulting in a BMR increase.

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