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The purpose of this study was to examine sex differences in resting metabolic rate (RMR) and associations between measured RMR and body composition parameters in athletes. One-hundred and ninety collegiate men (n = 98; age: 20.1 ± 1.6 yr.; body mass: 92.7 ± 17.5 kg; height: 181.6 ± 6.2 cm, body mass index: 28.0 ± 4.7 kg/m2) and women (n = 92; age: 19.4 ± 1.1 yr.; body mass: 65.2 ± 11.0 kg; height: 168.0 ± 6.6 cm, body mass index: 23.0 ± 3.6 kg/m2) athletes volunteered to participate in this study. Athletes completed a body composition assessment using air displacement plethysmography and RMR using indirect calorimetry. Assessments were completed in a fasted state and after refraining from intense physical activity > 24 h prior to testing. Data were collected during the 2016–2019 seasons. Men had a higher RMR compared to women (2595 ± 433 vs. 1709 ± 308 kcals; p < 0.001); however, when adjusted for body mass (p = 0.064) and fat-free mass (p = 0.084), the observed differences were not significant. Height, body mass, body mass index, fat-free mass, and fat mass were positively associated with RMR in both men and women athletes (r = 0.4–0.8; p < 0.001). Body mass (men: β = 0.784; women: β = 0.832)) was the strongest predictor of RMR. Men athletes have a higher absolute RMR compared to their women counterparts, which is influenced by greater body mass and fat-free mass. Body mass is the strongest predictor of RMR in both men and women athletes.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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