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  1. #1
    Registered User KingAndreas's Avatar
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    Eating less than BMR - Getting around it?

    Hey guys, there's something which I can't quite understand about the BMR.

    OK, so BMR is the needed energy for the body to simply function without any activity, as far as I've understood. As I understand it is important NOT to eat less than your BMR, as that could lead to possible health problems.

    Now you add your activities to that number. Activity includes sitting, standing, walking, working out etc. This is the energy you need to keep your normal weight, WITH the activities.

    Now, let's say I have a BMR of 2000 calories. Without training I have a approximately 2400 calories intake on a normal day. Adding training it's about 2600-2700 calories. This is what I can't understand. So your need for calories increase. That is because you USE energy/calories on the exercise, right? So, let's say that I intake 2000 calories, I would be 600-700 calories of deficit on a training day. But that would mean, that I have intaked 2000 calories, and burned 600-700 calories. So my total intake is 1300-1400 calories, which is below my BMR. Is this correct? Isn't that the same as not eating the calories your BMR needs?

    Question is, in short: Will the body still act as if it hadn't got it's needed BMR, if I used exercise to get beneath the number of calories, but still ate my BMR calories throughout the day? Wow, I hope I have explained it in a way that understandable - really sorry if not!

    Cheers and thanks in advance!
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  2. #2
    For the lulz HeavyMetalLover's Avatar
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    The health problems if you don't eat at your maintenance is negligible, at least that's what I experienced from 2 months of 2000 deficit.

    Your activity level is different from the calories burned during the actual exercises.

    If you have 2700 cals a day, and your intake is 2000, you would lose more than just 700 cals due to extra cals burned from the actual exercises.

    Again, with 2700 cals a day. Say that you are aiming for 500 deficit. Eating at 2700 cals while burning 500 cals is definitely better for your body than eating at 2200 cals.

    You're really confusing with the words.
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    Yeah, I am a little confused by your question, but I will take a stab at it.

    If you eat 2k and workout that day, it doesn't negate the fact that you ate 2k. Your needs just went to say...2700. That puts you at a 700 cal deficit for that day. You are fine. And I strongly suggest you keep working out to assist in reaching your deficit. It will keep you looking much better when the weight comes off.
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    Registered User KingAndreas's Avatar
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    Sorry guys, let me try to simplify it. In terms of health, you need to get your needed BMR.

    Let's say BMR is 2000. I eat 2000 calories. Then I do 500 calories of cardio. Now, remember I've eaten my BMR's worth of 2000 calories, but that's 500 calories of cardio. Now I'm beneath my BMR, standing at 2000-500 = 1500 total calories. Does this count as eating below your BMR, in terms of being unhealthy?
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    OP is probably a phaggot yepimonfire's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by KingAndreas View Post
    Sorry guys, let me try to simplify it. In terms of health, you need to get your needed BMR.

    Let's say BMR is 2000. I eat 2000 calories. Then I do 500 calories of cardio. Now, remember I've eaten my BMR's worth of 2000 calories, but that's 500 calories of cardio. Now I'm beneath my BMR, standing at 2000-500 = 1500 total calories. Does this count as eating below your BMR, in terms of being unhealthy?
    no it will probably just land you in a deficit of 1000+ calories.
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    OP is probably a phaggot yepimonfire's Avatar
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    eating a bit below your BMR is fine if you're not very active or very overweight. for example. my bmr is around 2000 cals, if i was very sedentary i would only burn 2500 cals a day, so in order to lose two pounds a week i'd have to eat at 1500 cals. it also depends on how much weight you're carrying around, the more weight, the more extreme of a deficit can be run. for instance, lets say you have a BF% of 25% at 200lbs, that 50lbs of fat you're carrying around, you can burn around 33cals a day per pound of fat, so that person could safely run a 1500+ calorie deficit. now lets say you weigh 150lbs with a BF% of 15%, a person like this could only run up to 700 cals of a deficit before lean body mass begin being used.
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  7. #7
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    It depends on your goal - due to the fact you're posting in "Fat Loss" I'll take a wild guess your goal is to lose fat?!

    If so you need to reduce your intake by 3500cals/week (500/day) per 1lb of fat you wish to lose.

    It's always better to be in deficit by exercising and burning the calories away than not consuming them in the first place...

    i.e. My BMR is ~2000. I want to lose 1lb a week = 1500cal/day - this should be achieved by eating 2000cals and then doing exercise that will burn 500cals off.

    This^^^ has always worked for me - I tend to plateau if I try to do it by diet alone (in personal experience anyways)
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  8. #8
    OP is probably a phaggot yepimonfire's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DocNorton View Post
    It depends on your goal - due to the fact you're posting in "Fat Loss" I'll take a wild guess your goal is to lose fat?!

    If so you need to reduce your intake by 3500cals/week (500/day) per 1lb of fat you wish to lose.

    It's always better to be in deficit by exercising and burning the calories away than not consuming them in the first place...

    i.e. My BMR is ~2000. I want to lose 1lb a week = 1500cal/day - this should be achieved by eating 2000cals and then doing exercise that will burn 500cals off.

    This^^^ has always worked for me - I tend to plateau if I try to do it by diet alone (in personal experience anyways)
    actually it makes no difference where the deficit comes from. and to be honest cutting a deficit solely around exercise can be counterproductive because of the amount of cortisol both the deficit and exercise can elevate.
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  9. #9
    Registered User Mightymuff's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DocNorton View Post
    i.e. My BMR is ~2000. I want to lose 1lb a week = 1500cal/day - this should be achieved by eating 2000cals and then doing exercise that will burn 500cals off.
    Many people seem to get confused at exactly what BMR is. It is the amount of calories you burn if you were to lie in bed and not move for the entire day, it is NOT your maintenance calorie level.

    Hence to lose 1lb a week you need to drop 500 calories from your maintenance NOT your BMR.
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  10. #10
    OP is probably a phaggot yepimonfire's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mightymuff View Post
    Many people seem to get confused at exactly what BMR is. It is the amount of calories you burn if you were to lie in bed and not move for the entire day, it is NOT your maintenance calorie level.

    Hence to lose 1lb a week you need to drop 500 calories from your maintenance NOT your BMR.
    this, and actually, even if you layed in bed all day unless you were asleep you would burn over your bmr

    an extremely lazy person who sits on a sofa all day probably burns atleast 500 calories over their bmr.
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  11. #11
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    So what exactly happens if you eat below your BMR when cutting? Since I seen many people here say calories in calories out then others refer to starvation mode. I really don't understand the starvation mode concept.
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    Also not sure about this like OP.

    Stats:
    Male, 6'2, 22 years old, 210lbs

    BMR: 2025
    Maintenance = 2500 (I have a desk job so sitting around all day)

    I eat 2100 calories a day and run for about 200 calorie deficit. So on average at the end of the day, I'm at 1900 calories.

    So is that bad that I'm going below my BMR at the end of the day?
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    Originally Posted by KingAndreas View Post
    Hey guys, there's something which I can't quite understand about the BMR.

    OK, so BMR is the needed energy for the body to simply function without any activity, as far as I've understood. As I understand it is important NOT to eat less than your BMR, as that could lead to possible health problems.
    You understand wrong. At least as far as in the short term assuming there are enough fat stores on your body to compensate.
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    OP is probably a phaggot yepimonfire's Avatar
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    ok lets put it simply, your body does not care if you eat below your BMR to get a deficit or if you do cardio and eat above your BMR to get a deficit, its all the same.
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    Registered User AnchorNut's Avatar
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    Am I completely misreading something, or were 90% of the posts in this thread completely mathematically illiterate?

    What does eating more or less than your BMR have to do with losing weight? I mean to say, why would that be any sort of benchmark?
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    Thanks for the answers guys!

    Originally Posted by TelusLob View Post
    You understand wrong. At least as far as in the short term assuming there are enough fat stores on your body to compensate.
    Define "short term". Is this a week? Two? A month? Half a year? A year? Also, when you say "assuming there are enough fat stores on your body to compensate", again what do you define as "enough"? Body fat % of 12+ or what?
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    Registered User KingAndreas's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AnchorNut View Post
    Am I completely misreading something, or were 90% of the posts in this thread completely mathematically illiterate?

    What does eating more or less than your BMR have to do with losing weight? I mean to say, why would that be any sort of benchmark?
    From a weight loss point of view, not much, except the BMR itself might reduce itself further to regulate to the new changes of such a low deficit. From a BB point of view, bigger chance of muscle loss, but not really anything else. From a health view, as far as I've understood, it's important. But again, I don't know how long it takes before it becomes dangerous. Could be days, weeks, months, years, not sure. But it is not healthy for the body to be under BMR.
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    Originally Posted by KingAndreas View Post
    From a weight loss point of view, not much, except the BMR itself might reduce itself further to regulate to the new changes of such a low deficit. From a BB point of view, bigger chance of muscle loss, but not really anything else. From a health view, as far as I've understood, it's important. But again, I don't know how long it takes before it becomes dangerous. Could be days, weeks, months, years, not sure. But it is not healthy for the body to be under BMR.
    When I started cutting 3 months ago, my BMR at 175 is about 2100 cals and maintenance is 2520 cals. I started my cut at a 1000 deficit so I am basically taking only 1520 cal which is way less than my Maint. and BMR. But that's because I want a 2 lb a week weight loss.

    As time passes by, your weight will go down and your maintenance will be equal to what you are taking in (calories) so your weight loss may stall. So this means I dont see any danger doing it longer since it is actually getting near your maintenance as you lose weight.
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    Originally Posted by KingAndreas View Post
    Thanks for the answers guys!



    Define "short term". Is this a week? Two? A month? Half a year? A year? Also, when you say "assuming there are enough fat stores on your body to compensate", again what do you define as "enough"? Body fat % of 12+ or what?
    for every pound of fat you have you can burn 33 calories of fat per pound. anything above this without drugs inducing chemically enhanced lypolysis WILL come from muscle.

    if you're a lazy fat ass and you need to eat below your BMR to lose weight, go for it.
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    Originally Posted by yepimonfire View Post
    for every pound of fat you have you can burn 33 calories of fat per pound. anything above this without drugs inducing chemically enhanced lypolysis WILL come from muscle.

    if you're a lazy fat ass and you need to eat below your BMR to lose weight, go for it.
    That's quite interesting. Where you read this? So, say I have a 12-13% body fat with a weight of 70 kilograms/154 pounds. I wouldn't burn any more fat at all, by going into a bigger deficit than 610-660 calories? But I'm pretty sure, that even if this should be correct, it is pretty much know what with fat loss comes an inevitable muscle loss. So say I go for 660 calories, all of this won't be fat, so aiming higher would unveil that full potential of fat loss - and most likely also increase the muscle loss in the process.

    But then again, I don't really know how much to put in muscle loss. I think it's a bit overrated.
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    Just to clarify - Using this calculator http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/ - my BMR is 1978.5, then to calculate maintenance, do I multiply this by an activity value, which is in my case 1.7 as I run > 40KM per week, heavy weight training 5x per week and walk/bike everywhere. This gives me 3362cal, maintainance?
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    Registered User socalrider81's Avatar
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    thanks, i was a bit confused as well but this thread cleared things up for me.

    now my plan will be:
    for calories in, ill just target my BMR of 1900 everyday.. i usually burn about 500 calories during my workouts so on workout days ill be in a 1000 calorie deficit, and my rest days ill still be ~500 calories deficit.
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    Registered User jforex78's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bdrusse View Post
    Yeah, I am a little confused by your question, but I will take a stab at it.

    If you eat 2k and workout that day, it doesn't negate the fact that you ate 2k. ...
    Hi OP - your thread is super old - but I still felt like answering it.

    bdrusse answered it correctly above.

    Once you eat your BMR calories - your body is good. And any kind of deficit AFTER having eaten your BMR - should come out of your own body fat & muscle.

    So you're wrong in subtracting your workout calories from your BMR calories. All your deficit - the Workout calories (-300), and the dietary deficit by eating below Maintenance - it come out of your body fat & muscle.

    And NONE of the deficit comes out of your BMR - once you've eaten your BMR calories.

    Finally - if you did NOT eat your BMR cals of 2000 - your body would not give up fat - eating deficit and exercise deficit - would come out of your lean muscle.
    Last edited by jforex78; 02-03-2015 at 07:18 PM.
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    Summer is coming Maverick2015's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jforex78 View Post
    Hi OP - your thread is super old - but I still felt like answering it.

    Finally - if you did NOT eat your BMR cals of 2000 - your body would not give up fat - eating deficit and exercise deficit - would come out of your lean muscle.
    I don't know which is worse, knowingly trying to give advice to the OP after 3 years or doing so and giving misinformation. You will not automatically lose lean muscle if you eat below BMR. The answer by yepimonfire is correct:
    Originally Posted by yepimonfire View Post
    for every pound of fat you have you can burn 33 calories of fat per pound. anything above this without drugs inducing chemically enhanced lypolysis WILL come from muscle.

    if you're a lazy fat ass and you need to eat below your BMR to lose weight, go for it.
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    Originally Posted by Maverick2015 View Post
    You will not automatically lose lean muscle if you eat below BMR.
    Thats fine - however is the muscle fat expense ratio is distributed. OP's main question was if working out after eating his BMR calories would mean he has not eaten at BMR now.

    My answer mainly clarifies that - that working out after eating BMR does not negate the BMR cals - and that he should not subtract workout cals from BMR - but count them as the deficit that he is trying to create. How that deficit is met - by muscle or fat - you can probably throw better light on that.
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