Muscle Gain for Fat Loss

Each pound of muscle mass burns 50 calories a day.

Sadly, that’s probably new information for a lot of people, and it’s likely why most exercisers still have trouble controlling their weight.

A lot of dieters see exercise and nutrition as different issues.  However, they’re simply different sides of the same coin.  Your exercise and nutrition are both vital issues when it comes to your health.  So, when you go on a lower calorie diet without exercise, havoc ensues within your body.

This is because without exercise, a severely reduced calorie diet will burn half fat and half muscle.  So, logic tells us that if you’re burning muscle and each pound of muscle burns fifty calories, then you’re decreasing your metabolism.  This is terrible for your long-term health.  For long-term health, you need to both retain as much muscle as you can and hopefully build some more.

The short version of all this is:

If you gain muscle, you speed up your metabolism.
If you lose muscle, you slow down your metabolism.

At the end of the day, this is the largest factor that determines how lean or fat you are.  Lean people typically have more muscle and fat people typically have less muscle.

Then, to compound the problem, doctors who are uneducated in Exercise Science and popular magazines often tell the people who need to gain muscle the most that resistance training is too hard for them.  “Just go out for a walk”.  Don’t get me wrong, walking is grand and wonderful because it helps out your heart and burns a few fat calories.  However, walking without resistance training is extremely ineffective for long-term weight management.  Why?  Because it does almost nothing for muscle retention/gain.

So, if your only exercise is walking/cardio, and you combine that with a diet that decreases calories, you’re going to burn muscle and decrease your metabolism.  This is going to make it much harder for you to stay at a healthy weight in the long-run.

In Part 2, I’ll elaborate a bit by using the example of the stereotypical yo-yo dieter.  In later articles, I’ll go into how to gain muscle mass and increase your metabolism.