The heart rate monitor experiment

I decided to wear my heart rate monitor for 24 hours to see how many calories I burn per day. This value is the daily base calorie which I should be eating to maintain my weight. I should be eating more for muscle mass or less for fat loss.

MyFitnessPal suggests 1200 calories on a rest day for fat loss which is usually low for anybody and it would lead to metabolic damage.

Based on my Omron Karada Scan body composition monitor which measures also body fat and muscle mass, I am burning around 1335 calories per day.

Based on a formula to calculate the BMR (body weight in pounds * 10 + 300), the daily calorie comes at 1640 calories for fat loss.

While the first two values seem a bit too low, the third definitely seems more accurate.

The 24-hour burn test is usually done on a rest day (non-workout day) and my daily calorie burn is 1925 according to my Polar FT7.


Lessons learned

My average heart rate is 66 beats per minute on a rest day, 70 beats per minute when sitting and 60 beats per minute when lying down.
My heart rate ranges between 66 and 143 beats per minute throughout the day.
I burn 500 calories during sleep.
I am still at a calorie deficit currently with eating 1600 instead of 1925 calories per day and I should be losing weight right now which I am not. This screams metabolic damage.

This was a nice little experiment and I am looking forward to see if it will hopefully improve after the next 3-6 months of reverse dieting, consistent weight training and healthy eating.

3 thoughts on “The heart rate monitor experiment

  1. Reverse dieting is a pretty new concept and it was introduced as a result to the metabolic damage. Metabolic damage is caused by being in a caloric deficit for so long that the body gets so used to this low calorie amount that I would not lose weight anymore and I would be gaining weight if I would be having the amount of required calories to maintain my weight. Reverse dieting is the opposite of dieting. So I normally reduce the daily calories to be in a deficit when dieting to lose weight but with reverse dieting I gradually increase the daily calories to slowly get to the maintenance level.

    So let’s say that my basal metabolic rate is at 1900 calories per day. I was in a calorie deficit for a longer time, having only 1200 calories, which compromised my metabolism so much that I can’t lose weight with 1200 calories anymore. Normally I would reduce the calories to 1000 calories to continue to lose weight but this would be very unhealthy and after some time I would have to reduce it again and again to below 1000 calories to keep losing weight. This is very bad and I would eventually end up eating extremely low calories per day and not lose weight at all.

    So now I have to slowly repair my metabolism by doing weight training to build muscle which helps too and reverse dieting to undo all this damage and get back to my basal metabolic rate without gaining weight, which I would if I would jump from 1200 calories directly to 1900 calories. So with reverse dieting I would start increasing the daily calories from 1200 calories with 50-100 calories every 2 weeks or so while taking care that I don’t gain weight. If I do gain weight, that means that I increased the daily calories too much too soon so I would reduce it a little and keep that for a few weeks. I continue to increase the daily calories till I get to the basal metabolic rate, then I would stay at this maintenance level for some time during which I should normally not lose or gain weight. This is the point when my metabolism is finally functioning correctly so now I could start dieting again without having to eat below 1000 calories to lose weight.

    This is a slow process and it usually takes between 6 months to 1 year to get to the maintenance level. I started at 1200 calories, after 6 months I am currently at 1600 calories and I still have a long way to go.

    James Wilson has a great post on Facebook about this topic:

  2. Wow! Thank you so much for explaining this to me! It’s really fascinating! I had never heard of it before. Good luck! Looking forward to hearing more about it!

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