How Important Is Body Composition to Resting Metabolic Rate

Since skeletal muscle and body fat typically make up more than half of our body weight it is easy to understand why these two tissues will have a major impact on RMR and daily metabolism. This is especially true since they are the tissues that are most easily manipulated. You can voluntarily gain or lose fat and muscle but you cannot grow more brain or heart. In fact, the ratio of skeletal muscle to body fat is the best predictor of a person's RMR for a given body weight. For example, we would expect an athletic, muscular 200-pound man (91 kilograms) with 12 percent body fat to have a higher RMR than a different man who weighs the same but has 25 percent body fat. Simply put, the more muscular man has a higher muscle to fat ratio, and thus a higher RMR. On a per-weight basis RMR is typically higher in males than in females because men tend to have a higher skeletal muscle to body fat ratio.

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