I just realized after writing that last post that we have pretty much debunked the idea that a pound of muscle burns 50 calories a day.
Realistically, if we include the metabolic cost of keeping the muscle alive, AND the cost of moving that extra weight around, we see that a pound of muscle really helps you burn an optimistic 5 extra calories per day.
Now the point of this post isn’t to downplay the importance of resistance training or even building muscle. As there is an entirely different way to look at this phenomena.
While adding 10 pounds of muscle only increases your daily calorie burning by about 50 Calories (again, just an estimate) it will do wonders for the way your body looks. So there is still a benefit to adding muscle.
And while I like the idea of adding muscle, I think the difference becomes really significant when we start talking about LOSING muscle.
As we age we become less active. This isn’t unavoidable, but seems to be a relatively excepted fact.
If we are less active and using our muscles less, they will shrink (use it or lose it applies to just about everything within your body, from intelligence to muscle mass)
If you had 155 pounds of LBM while you were in your thirties, but have 130 pounds of LBM in your sixties, that missing 25 pounds can create quite the difference.
Just by HAVING less muscle you would be using 125 less calories per day, not to mention the fact that you are less active (the reason you lost the muscle in the first place).
So bottom line – Weight training and building/maintaining muscle are NOT the metabolism boosting miracle they have been made out to be, but they are still a VITAL part of your weight loss plan.
Eat less and maybe eat less often. Lift more and move more often. This is a pretty effective recipe for weight loss success.