Performance Nutrition Week 3: Basal Metabolic Rate

Learn about Basal Metabolic Rate and how knowing this number can help your jiu jitsu!

It is time to learn about the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). The BMR is the amount of energy our body needs daily when we don’t do much. We burn calories by smiling, working, sitting, training on the mats, kissing, and whatever else you can think of. If we are planning to perform on the mat at an optimal level, we need a certain number of calories. If we are trying to gain or lose weight, we need a certain number of calories. When one is ready to figure out her or his basic caloric requirements for performance or weight gain/loss, knowing how to calculate the BMR comes handy:


BMR (women) = 655 + (4.36 x Weight) + (4.32 x Height) – (4.7 x Age)

BMR (Men) = 66 + (6.22 x Weight) + (12.7 x Height) – (6.8 x A)

Where:  Weight (pounds)    Height (inches)   Age (years)


I already hear someone asking me: “How do I determine the amount of calories my body needs when I push my jiu jitsu and conditioning limits daily?” Well my friend, you multiply your BMR by the number used to appropriately describe your activity level:


Lightly active — Normal everyday activities (BMR x 1.3)

Moderately active — Exercise 3 to 4 times a week (BMR x 1.4)

Very active — Exercise more than 4 times a week (BMR x 1.6)

Extremely Active — Exercise 6 to 7 times a week (BMR x 1.8)


If I am a very active male (training more than four times a week) with a BMR of 2000, I would need 3200 calories per day to fuel my body and stay at my current weight. Now we know how to estimate our target weight and figure out if we need to lose or gain weight using the Body Mass Index (BMI) formula; we also learned how to calculate our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) to determine our optimal caloric requirement. Armed with these new tools, we can start our exploration of eating the right stuff to compete with anybody on the mat — with the right techniques of course.


Guy-Patrice Tchoumba is a former Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor. He served in combat as a Force Protection Operator, a Counterintelligence Specialis, and an Interrogator Translator. He is a Brazilian jiu jitsu purple belt and teaches BJJ and Combatives at the Parker location. He has been training in martial art disciplines since 1989. Guy-Patrice discovered BJJ in 1996 and started training regularly in 2005 with John Danaher at the main Renzo Gracie in New York City. His goal is to help you realize your full potential as a warrior through the study of the different aspects of Jiu-Jitsu.

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