Sunday, August 3, 2008

Muscle Burns 50 Calories Myth

Add a pound of muscle and you burn 50 extra calories. What a myth. This myth has been floating around for years, but is not true. You will NOT burn an extra 50 calories per day just by gaining a pound of muscle.

Common sense shows us why this is not true.

But I just read another article about this today. It is so irritating. Worse, the article was by a doctor, and gave this STUPID advice in a woman's magazine.

"An extra 10 pounds of muscle will therefore burn approximately 350 to 500 extra calories per day, or over 3,500 per week. In order to lose one pound of fat you must burn an extra 3,500 calories. This means that if you increase the amount of muscle mass in your body by 10 pounds, you will lose a pound of fat every seven to 10 days, without making any other changes!"

And worse...

"Let's compare two 150-pound people. Although they weigh exactly the same, person B has 10 more pounds of muscle mass than person A. That means that person B can eat an extra 350 to 500 calories per day without gaining any weight!"

That is the absolute WORST thing you can say to someone who wants to lose weight - you are giving them an EXCUSE to eat MORE!

That's the problem in the first place.

But now, because HUMAN NATURE always leads to this, they can now justify eating more...having a bowl of ice cream everyday ("Oh it's okay, I boosted my metabolism by 500 calories because I gained 10 pounds of muscle. An extra scoop? Oh sure, why not, I'll just gain another pound 10 pounds and then I can have 1000 extra calories per day."

Ridiculous advice.

So let's look at this with common sense.

Let's say we have a guy, 160 pounds, skinny. His resting metabolism is probably 1800-22oo calories. We'll say 2000 for simplicity.

According to this stupid myth, if he gains 10 pounds, his resting metabolism is now 2500 calories. When he hits 180, his resting metabolism is now 3000 calories? Or 3500 calories if he hits 190?

Anyone can see this logic is flawed. Gaining 30 pounds of muscle will not add 1500 calories to your resting metabolism.

No adult is walking around with a resting metabolic rate of 3500 calories.

How IMPOSSIBLE would it be for athletes to maintain their bodyweight if their metabolism increased by 50 calories per pound of muscle?

You do not increase your metabolism by 50 calories per pound of muscle added. Period. So do not give people more excuses to eat extra calories, because HUMAN NATURE guarantees that is exactly what they will do!

Some doctors should stick to taking blood pressure,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS


Pru said...

Hi, I know this is an old post, but just thought I'd add this: it is really, really hard for a woman (especially) to put on 10lbs of muscle. Actually, even with regular strength training, the average woman can only gain 2-3 lbs of muscle in 3 months; so in theory, maybe one's metabolism would increase 50 cals per pound of muscle (I have no idea); but you can't really put on enough to make THAT much of a difference in a short period of time. So, I agree with your central premise:)

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Yes! You Are Right! Human Nature is just like that! :) Nice Efforts1 keep it up!

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