Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Muscle Burns Fat

Since I have been in the mindset of losing weight and being healthy, I have been reading lots of information to keep me motivated and knowing the best way to achieve the results I want. These are thoughts I have put together and are my opinion based on what I've read.

You always hear about metabolisms, right? Like some people have really good metabolisms and can eat anything they want and are skinny, others eat like birds and are overweight. To me, this has always seemed be something out of our control ... something we were either blessed with or cursed with.

Each day, our bodies burn calories just to exist. Our fat cells burn calories and our muscle cells burn calories. But did you know that one lb. of muscle burns at least 3X more calories than 1 lb. of fat? (Numbers vary, but this is the low estimate.) So, if we lose 1 lb. of fat and gain 1 lb. of fat, we are in essence "raising our metabolism" as our bodies are burning more calories just to exist. The other cool thing is, muscle takes up less space than fat, so you could weigh the same, but your measurements are small (and less flabby!)

Many people are still doing tons and tons of cardio with little to no strength training. There are many reports that show that you can and will actually lose muscle, not just fat, by training this way. In Chalene's blog, she talks about a woman who was a yo yo dieter and spent hours doing cardio. She could never lose weight and keep it off. They tested her BMR at the beginning of her 90 day rotation, and she was only burning 700 calories a day!!! I don't know about you, but I could not live on that little. That means that she could "diet" and eat a low 1,000 calorie a day diet and STILL gain weight. She followed the CLX 90 day rotation and initially gained weight, but as she built muscle and followed the nutritional guide, she ended up losing 40 lbs. and the coolest part is she raised her BMR to 1400 calories a day!!! She was able to turn around the years of abuse to her system and retrain it. You can ready the whole story with more details on Chalene's blog.

From Chalene:
When working to increase your metabolism (which is ultimately the goal if you want to eat more and come in a smaller package) remember that muscle is an active tissue. It's requirements are far greater than fat. Fat is this mushy, lumpy, yellowy stuff that requires very little to sustain itself, but takes up a lot of space. Lean muscle tissue on the other hand requires are great deal of calories to sustain. It's firm! It's tight! It's red with blood and healthy tissue that makes life easier and fat burning a breeze! Muscle burns fat!
From About.com article:
Even though muscle doesn't burn a huge number of calories on its own, it's still more metabolically active than fat and very important for weight loss. In fact, one study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology [6] found that, though weight training doesn't burn as many calories as cardio, it significantly increases average daily metabolic rate - the perfect foundation for losing fat.

And remember the other benefits of weight training:

  • Prevents loss of lean body mass that happens from dieting and/or aging
  • Weight training workouts burn calories
  • Helps change your body composition, which helps shape your body and keep you healthy
  • Strenghtens bones and connective tissue along with muscles
  • Helps keep you strong and active as you get older
The bottom line is, strength training is important for almost any fitness goal, whether you want to lose fat, gain muscle or just get in better condition.
From a Mayo Clinic article:

Weight training can help you tone your muscles, improve your appearance and fight age-related muscle loss. And it doesn't take as long as you might think...

Lean muscle mass naturally decreases with age. If you don't do anything to replace the muscle loss, it'll be replaced with fat. But weight training can help you reverse the trend — at any age. Studies show that weight training and other types of strength training can improve quality of life and the ability to complete daily tasks for adults even in their 80s and 90s.

As your muscle mass increases, you'll be able to work harder and longer before you get tired. You'll maintain joint flexibility, increase bone density and better manage your weight. You may even improve your mental health and reduce the risk of depression — all heavy reasons to include weight training in your fitness program.


  1. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I enjoyed reading that I am doing good things and knowing how much good they are doing. I am a little curious as to what the webdings said and why you used those. Was it to confuse me? lol Thanks again.

  2. Now I am confused ... what are webdings?

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