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METS

The energy cost of an activity can be measured in units called METS, which are multiples of your basal metabolic rate.

Basal Metabolic Rate

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is "the energy required for essential physiological functioning after 8 hours sleep and 12 hours fasting" - the number of calories to keep your body functioning whilst at rest. Your BMR (Calories/day) can be estimated by multiplying your weight in pounds by ten for women and eleven for men e.g. a 150lb man has a BMR of 69 Calories/hour (150 × 11 ÷ 24).

Estimate of your BMR

To determine your BMR enter your weight in pounds, select your gender and then select the Calculate button.

Weight: pounds Gender:
BMR: Calories/hour

What is a MET?

A MET is the ratio of the work metabolic rate to the resting metabolic rate. One MET is defined as 1 kcal/kg/hour and is roughly equivalent to the energy cost of sitting quietly. For example: the energy cost of playing rugby is 8.3 METS, which means you use 8.3 times more energy than if you were to sit quietly and rest.

A MET can also defined as oxygen uptake in ml/kg/min with one MET equal to the oxygen cost of sitting quietly, equivalent to 3.5 ml/kg/min.

MET values for various activities

The table below (Walker 1991)[1] provides the MET values for a number of activities .

Activity METS Activity METS
Aerobic Dancing 6.0 Running 12 min/mile 8.5
Backpacking 7.0 Racquetball 8.0
Badminton 7.0 Rugby 8.3
Basketball 6.0 Skating ice/roller 7.0
Bicycling - 24mph 5.0 Skiing cross country 8.0
Calisthenics 4.5 Soccer 8.0
Golf 5.0 Softball 5.0
Gymnastics 5.5 Swimming 6.0
Handball 8.0 Tennis 7.0
Hockey 8.0 Volleyball 4.0
Horse riding 3.5 Walking 3.5
Running 8 min/mile 12.5 Weight lifting 4.5

A more up to date list of activities and MET intensities, Ainsworth et al. (2011)[2], can be found on the Compendium of Physical Activities website.

Calories burned in training

With your BMR and the MET value for your particular activity, it is possible to estimate the number of calories you burn whilst participating in that activity. To do this multiply your BMR by the activity's MET value e.g. a 120lb female athlete undertaking an hours calisthenics (MET=4.5) will burn 225 calories (120 × 10 ÷ 24 × 4.5).

Estimate of calories burned

To estimate the number of calories you burn in a one hour session enter your weight, select your gender, enter the MET value for the activity and then select the Calculate button.

Weight: pounds
Gender:
MET Value:
Calories/hour
 

Referenced Material

  1. WALKER, I. (1991) Running tops the weight loss league. Peak Performance, 4, p. 12
  2. AINSWORTH, B. et al. (2011) Compendium of Physical Activities: a second update of codes and MET values. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43 (8): p. 1575-1581

Associated References

The following references provide additional information on this topic:

  • COOKE, C.B. (2013) Metabolic rate and energy balance. Kinanthropometry and exercise physiology laboratory manual: tests, procedures, and data2, p. 147-173
  • POWELL, K. E. et al. (2011) Physical activity for health: What kind? How much? How intense? On top of what?. Public Health32 (1), p. 349

Page Reference

The reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2003) METS [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/mets.htm [Accessed

Associated Pages

The following Sports Coach pages should be read in conjunction with this page: