We all agree on one thing.
Everyone – in our affluent, overfed society anyway – wants to burn calories at a premium. Keep those babies flying off!
We don’t even engage in debate about whether we want to up our calorie burn or not. We just do, am I right?
Case in point: When was the last time you heard your walking or workout buddy say:
“Hey, I can’t meet for our workout today because I’ve been burning too many calories lately. I need to conserve! I’ll be putting in some serious couch potato time instead”.
And we all agree on something else: More muscle on your bod means a better burning calorie machine.
Really? And exactly how many more calories DO you burn with each added pound of hard won muscle on your body?
Lani, I keep hearing that if I have more muscle that my metabolism will speed up and I’ll burn more calories every day. But I keep hearing different numbers and get confused about what that really means. Can you tell me how many more calories I will burn every day with each added pound of muscle?
Kelly, thanks for this great question which is not uncommon and an important consideration.
How many more calories do you burn with each added pound of muscle? It depends on who you talk to.
But yes, it’s true. More muscle mass means more kilocalorie burn for YOU every day. The idea here is to inspire you to keep challenging those muscles with your workouts, darlin’. And if you aren’t, start today.
First, let’s clear up some myths and give you the real skinny on just what burning more calories every day with more muscle means.
First, The Muscles-Burn-More-Calories Myth Buster
Though for years fitness rumor mills had it at 50 calories more burned every day for every pound of muscle, in reality this is far too simplistic.
What is that muscle doing? You mean just sitting there? We all somehow got the impression that we could just pack on a few more pounds of muscle fiber and then lay around while our muscles just churned out the calorie burn while we napped, getting leaner by the minute. We wish.
In actuality, the scientific estimation is closer to 5 – 7 kilocalories per pound of muscle per day (Elia 1992).
That means if you were able to gain some hard won muscle, say 2 lbs, over the next month, then you’d theoretically be able to burn about 15 more kilocalories per day. That translates to an extra 450 calories over the course of a month. 5400 a year. Big whoop. A 5400 calorie deficit could amount to about 1.5 lbs of fat loss. Sorry to disappoint.
But here’s the good news (you knew I’d get there!) about building those extra pounds of muscle.
3 Ways More Muscle Burns More Kilocalories
- Get moving and the calorie burn game changes: Even if the kilocalorie burn per day for muscle at rest seems low at 7 per lb, when that muscle is active the kilocalorie consumption multiplies fast.
During activity and workouts, more muscle getting fired up means a whole lot more caloric consumption than less muscle on an unfit body. You might even approach that higher calorie number per pound of muscle during your exercise session. You get a greater return on your workout investment time.
- Recovery burn: After that same activity more kilocalories will be consumed as the muscles repair and build.
- Stronger makes longer: more muscle means you’re stronger so you will be able to work out longer and harder. Now there’s the magic bullet that really contributes to the calorie deficit.
Rest assured: muscle is a significant component of your energy needs. It is like money in the bank for getting and staying leaner. Muscle is an active tissue that is constantly renewing itself therefore requiring energy. So when it comes to weight loss, fat loss, and hitting the target on your ideal body composition, along with your body beautiful food plan, more muscle is the way to go.
Which means YOU burning more kilocalories during and after activity so that you can decrease those bodyfat stores and show that gorgeous, hard-earned muscle. More about the beauties of muscle on May I Borrow A Cup of Muscle? 4 Reasons to Grow Your Own.
P.S. My exclusive, amazing event – Muscles Mud and Merlot – is now open for registration. Video, location, and all the details as well as registration (and over $500 worth of gift bonuses when you sign up on time!) HERE>>>
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Dang! I’d been going on the 50. Well, better to be informed!
And actually, this is very motivating because for one thing, it makes a whole lot more sense and 2, it gets me motivated to get moving.
Thanks as always Lani, it never fails I learn something helpful here! Love your newsletter.
Jennifer – I know! And I’m an all-cards-on-the-table kinda girl so I like to get the facts. Glad you like, that you can use, and that it got you moving today!
This is an inspiring post, I knew we burned more calories with more muscle but not how much. Yet another reason to start getting fit and build some muscle, the more we burn the fitter we’ll be, so the more we can burn….lol
Aran, I like the way you put it. I’m always trying to make things simple and you nailed it. Thanks for your post!
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