Cris LaBossiere

Cris LaBossiere
Strength training and mountain biking. My two favorites

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Building Muscle Does Not Cause More Fat Loss

One of the biggest myths in the fitness business over the last 10 years or so is the promise that extra muscle gained from training with weights will result in extra calories burned while exercising, and also while at rest, which in turn will cause more fat loss, especially when sitting around doing nothing.. supposedly that extra muscle mass will burn through your fat stores causing fat loss.

Some of the claims say that a pound of muscle burns 50 calories a day so if you gain just 5 pounds of muscle you could be burning an extra 250 calories per 24 hours, which is just over half a pound of fat loss per week just by sitting around doing nothing.  Those numbers are outrageous, and of course not true.  Muscle can burn a lot of calories when exercising, but over a 24 hour period a pound of muscle will use approximately 6 to 8 calories.

It's true; more muscle equals more calories burned, which also means more calories are required to make those muscles work, and to prevent atrophy of that mass.

When calculating our daily caloric needs our body mass plus our daily physical activity are used to figure out how much we need to eat.

If we have two people of the same height and daily exercise levels, one weighing 150 lb. and the other weighing 170 lb., with the greater weight being muscle, the 170 lb. person will need more calories to sustain their current level of muscle.

While this is clearly understood for some odd reason the more muscle = more fat loss myth perpetuates.

The reason I suspect is because we are pretty gullible when it comes to any promise of fantastical weight loss or weight management.

So the more muscle you have the more you have eat to feed the machine.  Calories in and calories out is what determines fat loss or gain.  If a well muscled person overeats, they will gain fat, no more and no less fat than had they overate by the same amount but having less muscle mass.

Build muscle for fitness, physical performance, and health; watch what you eat to control body fat.  Yes, calories burned during a weight training session contributes to the total calories you burn during the day and will help with caloric balance, but overeat on that day you weight train and your body will store the extra calories as fat just like it would on a day you didn't exercise.

Building more muscle is great for our health.  Generally as we age we are less active and we lose lean muscle mass.  There is a degree of loss of muscle mass that is age related that we can't really do anything about, but studies show that even seniors who take up a safe and progressive weight training program can increase lean muscle mass, so exercise really can offset to a very large degree, muscle loss due to aging.

Live Healthy: Seniors Can Gain Muscle Mass And Strength

Loss of muscle mass contributes to unstable joints, loss of balance, and of course loss of functional strength.

Stronger and larger muscles adds stability to our joints and makes daily movement and general physical tasks easier.  If you're into sports you can increase your performance with stronger muscles, and quite often with larger muscles as well.

Building and maintaining muscle mass is good for us, but extra muscle does not magically result in extra fat loss.  You can have lots of muscle and still be overweight.  Easy to do, just eat more food than you need and the extra calories go to fat stores, no matter how much muscle you have.  Ever heard of an overweight linebacker?  Of course.  In fact overweight football players are becoming a great concern.  It's becoming more common for overweight football players to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other health issues that come with being overweight.   These athletes have huge muscles, yet many are overweight and clinically obese.  Extra muscle does not make automatically make these athletes immune to gaining excess fat, and it won't work for anyone else either.

Heavy NFL players twice as likely to die before 50 - NFL - ESPN

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