Muscle Building Burns Fat
There is a commonly held belief that muscle burns fat. That the more muscle you gain, the more fat you naturally burn as your metabolism gets ramped up. Is this true? As a result of this belief, many people advocate an intense weightlifting regimen for some 3 – 4 weeks before you begin your diet, banking on the idea that the lean muscle mass you will gain will help tremendously with the results of your diet. Is this true? Does muscle burn a significant amount of calories? Should you work out before dieting, and if not, what should you do instead?
When this theory first started circulating, people thought that each pound of muscle would burn 25-40cal/lb or even higher, but today current research indicates a radically different reality: each lb of muscle burns about 6 calories. So even if you did everything right and gained about 10lbs of muscle in five months, you would only be burning about 60 cal more. Which isn’t a whole lot, and makes this theory implode. So what about the opposite? What if you diet down first before trying to put on lean muscle mass? Is there some value in the reverse?
- Sure. But it all depends on what your goals are. If you’re trying to simply lose weight, then combining an exercise regimen—ideally a resistance training one—with your diet will help you get optimum results, and maintaining that exercise level when you reach your desired weight goal is crucial. If however you are looking to diet down so that you can then bulk back up and pack on lean muscle mass, than you need to be careful.
The long and short of it is that people with over 15% body fat percentage tend to lose fat more than lean muscle when dieting (which they consider good), and then put the fat right back on instead of lean muscle mass (which they consider bad). Naturally lean people tend to lose muscle mass if they want to lower body fat percentage (which they consider bad), and tend to put on lean muscle mass when they put on weight (which they consider good).
- So if you want to lower your body fat percentage and then keep it low, you most definitely have to stick to a maintenance diet for a few weeks after achieving your goal and continue resistance training so as to let your hormones regulate themselves into a new balance. If you are already lean and want to put on muscle mass, then you should bulk up until you hit 15%, and then begin to work on lowering your body fat percentage once more.
In the end, the key to any successful diet is to simply not look for shortcuts and combine a nutritious, healthy diet with plenty of exercise. Once you find yourself in a healthy place, you can begin focusing on putting on muscle mass by going through a cycle of mass gaining and then cutting, but that is more advanced stuff. The long and short of it is that while muscle does burn fat, it burns only a small amount, but the exercise you need to build that very muscle is key to keeping you at your weight goals.
If you want to do a workout that combines intense cardio for fat loss with resistance training for muscle gain and a focus on your core so as to get a six pack, check out RevAbs, a revolutionary workout that’s been voted best of NYC twice by Time Out New York! Rev Absis taught by Brett Hoebel, who has a background in biomedical studies
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