You may have heard this question, does muscle burn calories, is there any truth to it, and if so how effective is it for burning fat and increasing your metabolism? The second part of this article is about, can you build muscle and burn off body fat at the same time?
Does building muscle burn fat?
Our bodies burn calories around the clock, even while sleeping, so the idea of building some extra muscle to burn even more calories is a very nice one.
It takes an excess of calories to build muscle and muscles require calories to be maintained, this is fact. So to answer the question of whether muscle burns calories? the answer is yes! and if muscle burns calories it has the potential to burn body fat, therefore aiding you in getting lean and toned.
So now we have established that muscle does require calories to be maintained, so obviously the more muscle mass we have the more calories we burn.
The thing about muscle is, it consumes calories 24 hours a day, muscles need constant energy just to be maintained which potentially makes it very effective for burning and keeping off body fat.
Think about two cars, one has a small 1.0 liter engine and the other has a 2.0 liter engine. The car with the 2.0 liter engine requires more fuel just to move around compared to a small 1.0 liter engine, even if they’re traveling at exactly the same speed. Building extra muscle has a similar effect on the human body and energy consumption.
How many calories does muscle burn?
There are many different reports on this floating around the internet and these reports vary greatly on the actual amount of calories burned by building an extra one pound of muscle. Reports range from 5 calories to 150 calories burned per day per one pound of muscle mass. As you can see there is a huge difference in the amount of calories burned at either end of the scale. The effects of building extra muscle on fat loss is either minor or considerable.
Based on my research, the actual calories burned per pound of muscle seems to be in the range of 50 to 150 calories. This would make building some extra muscle mass a worthy consideration when thinking about reducing your body fat. Plus there are also many health benefits to adding a little extra muscle to your frame.
So yes it’s definitely worth building some extra muscle to burn off some extra calories around the clock. However don’t rely on this idea solely, think of it only as an addition to your fat burning plan.
Can you build muscle & burn body fat at the same time?
To build muscle we need to consume more calories than the body normally requires, to burn body fat we need to consume less calories than the body requires. So it appears that on the surface that it cannot be done. With the two different goals requiring the exact opposite in terms of calorie consumption.
How it works
Your body requires calories to build muscle and if you haven’t consumed enough calories your body will simply use your body fat as needed for those extra calories for growing those muscles. It basically works exactly the same as regular weight loss and fat burning.
So to achieve both at the same time you have to get your calorie intake just right. It may take some experimenting and you have to factor in things like your height your current physical condition, how often and intensely you train and what foods you are eating to make up those calories.
Example calories intake for an average man that’s 5 foot 8 inches tall
Fat loss muscle building diet – 3200 calories
Advanced gain muscle building diet – 4400 calories
Something else to consider
There is something that will dramatically affect your ability to burn body fat and build muscle, especially at the same time. What I am talking about is genetics(fast & slow twitch muscle fibers). Genetics play a large part when it comes to burning fat and building muscle, and If you don’t have the right genetics it could be very difficult, maybe even impossible to simultaneously burn body fat and build muscle mass.
Those with higher levels of fast twitch muscle fibers will be able to achieve this goal easier. They will build larger muscles faster, which in turn speeds up the bodies rate at burning energy/calories and potentially body fat.
If you are not one of the lucky few people that can simultaneously do both then you will have to do things a bit different. Instead you should focus on one goal at a time, building muscle mass or burning body fat.
If you were to focus on burning body fat first, you should still be weight training to maintain any muscle mass that you may already have, along with high calorie burning exercises (cardio) and a calorie controlled diet.
When you have achieved a good level of fat loss, increase your calorie intake, reduce cardio and increase the amount and intensity of your weight training. However be sure to do this gradually, eat clean and make sure that you do not regain any of the body fat that you lost during your weight loss phase.
You may have to alternate between muscle building and weight loss to get your desired results.
Can you build muscle and burn body fat?
Yes! you can achieve both at the same time, however it depends on your genetics and training. The key is to find just the right balance between your diet and your training.