Gaining Muscle Doesn’t Increase the Metabolic Rate a Significant Amount

April 28, 2008

I wrote about muscle and metabolic rate in a post about a year ago, but this myth is so prevalent that I had to address it again. If you don’t know what I’m referring to it is the idea that it is smart to gain muscle, because “muscle burns calories around the clock…helping you lose fat”. You know you have heard this mantra from a personal trainer before! It is so common that I listen for it now and just smile when I hear it. I am going to have some fun with this post. I love “shaking things up”!

two models in stunner shades

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Did You Know that Body Fat Increases Your Metabolic Rate?

Seriously…one pound of fat burns an additional 2 calories per pound per day. So if you gained 10 pounds of fat, you will burn another 20 calories per day. Obviously if fat loss is the goal, you wouldn’t want to gain more fat to increase your metabolic rate. I just wanted to throw this out there to let you know that things aren’t always as simple as they seem.

How Many Calories Are Burned Per Day Per Pound of Muscle?

Muscle burns an additional 6 calories per day. I actually quoted 12 calories per day in my earlier post, but with further research it looks like 6 is the more accurate number. People don’t agree on the exact number, but 6 looks like a good average. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has it close to 5 and I’ve seen other studies where it is a bit higher. Bottom line…muscle doesn’t increase your metabolism THAT much.

Let’s Put This Into Perspective

If someone loses 20 pounds of fat, they will burn 40 LESS calories per day. A 10 pound muscle gain would burn 60 calories per day. A person who had this type of body composition change would burn a grand total of 20 more calories per day! If that same person lost 20 pounds of fat and gained 20 pounds of muscle, they would only increase their daily calories burned by 80 total calories! Not exciting at all!

How Many Calories Burned to Lose a Pound of Fat?

It takes 3,500 calories burned to lose a pound of fat. An extra 20 calories per day isn’t going to make a dent in your body composition. It isn’t even significant! All of that time devoted to gaining muscle could be put towards cardio and the results would blow the “muscle gain” approach out of the water.

Cardio and Calorie Deficit is a Direct Route to Fat Loss

You can easily burn 600 calories doing hard cardio. Since you aren’t trying to build muscle, you can also reduce your daily calories 600 under maintenance level and hold on to the muscle while losing weight. So this cardio and diet combination can burn an additional 1,200 calories per day (I realize that this is vastly simplified…I just didn’t want to make this post too technical). This is 60 times as many calories burned compared to the body composition example listed above cause by gaining muscle.

I Realize That Cardio and Diet Aren’t Exactly 60 Times Better

Obviously I didn’t take into account the calories burned doing extra lifting and all the other variables. The main point I wanted to make is that gaining muscle to burn body fat is not the quickest way to getting a defined body. If you want to burn fat, focus on burning the calories directly (hint: cardio). Just because it sounds cool to say…”gaining muscle helps increase your metabolism and burns more calories around the clock”…doesn’t mean it is an effective strategy.

High Insulin Levels Stop Fat Loss and Cause Weight Gain – It is impossible to have high levels of insulin in your system while burning fat at the same time. Think about that. If you eat a meal that has too high of a Glycemic Index, your blood sugar will spike, causing a large release in …

 

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

karie April 28, 2008 at 7:59 am

for a women, is doing a full body circuit 2 times per week enough to keep tone? i would be doing cardio 5 times a week as well.

Paul April 28, 2008 at 9:17 am

Nice one, Rusty!

I’ve secretly known about this for some time now. Bulking up to increase your metabolic rate is kinda stupid! It’s how I used to train, and I wish i knew then what I know now…live and learn I guess!

The idea of this floating point where you actually burn calories with a higher proportionate of muscle just doesn’t seem to hold water anymore – especially if its as insignificant as 20 calories!

Now if you’re a muscle-head, then this won’t mean squat since gaining mass will be your number one (only) priority. If you’re trying to lose weight, diet and cardio will work wonders and is far more appropriate.

As you get closer to your target weight, then would be a good time to perform some resistance training to hold onto (or amass) your body’s natural amount of muscle. Cardio should always be the main priority for those looking to get (and stay) lean.

Jennifer April 28, 2008 at 9:43 am

I read something about this that asked; “How does your body distinguish new muscle from old?” This is so true, if muscle really burned 50 extra calories per day then people with muscle would have to eat like crazy just to keep any bodyfat, which is not the case! Lifting weights is great for improving body shape (when done properly), but we shouldn’t use it as an excuse to eat like there’s no tomorrow!

Manchild April 28, 2008 at 9:49 am

Another great post Rusty!! I hear the trainers at my gym all the time telling their clients they need to gain more muscle so that then can burn more calories boy are they in for a rude awakening if the ever find out how many more calories they are burning.

My question is how do I know what amount of calories I should cut back on per day to maintain muscle if I am doing 1hr of intense cardio four days a week.

Thanks!

Graeme April 28, 2008 at 11:58 am

Good reminder.

It’s sad that I used to believe that extra muscle would “really burn the calories.” This post just further shows the importance of good diet and regular cardiovascular activity.

Keep it up!

gary reeves April 28, 2008 at 12:56 pm

Good point! What about the argument that weightlifting is a more effective calorie burner than cardio due to calories burned during the process of muscle tissue repair after lifiting? I have never seen any credible evidence to support, or refute, that theory either.

tim April 28, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Rusty
I am 6 ft about 163-165… I am right where I want to be I was wondering if I could eat junk food and maintain my weight. I am not a binge eater but i like to snack and it took me forever to get rid of this habbit ? i was wondering how much I can cheat when I got to my weight since i am now lean and such? also whats your take on alcohol? is liqour better then beer?

rusty love the site

Adam April 28, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Hey Rusty,

Thanks for doing an amazing job. Topics are awesome. You seem to answer all my questions before I get a chance to ask.

I’m 20 years old and interested in becoming a fitness trainer. A while ago I asked for some advice and you told me to get into amazing shape as a first step. Since then I have been running 3.5 miles cross-country 7-days a week. I do roughly 25 mins. worth of planks each day, and my personal bests are regularly beaten. I don’t know for sure, but I figure I’m around 9%-11% body fat.

Not only the topics you write about, but the comments that people add help motivate me to get in great shape. So thank you Rusty, and thank you everyone for helping me reach my goals.

Adam

futon April 28, 2008 at 3:21 pm

http://…50-cent-turns-to-aerobics-to-lose-weight/

Btw Rusty, 50 cent is apparently trying to lose muscle for a movie role. And he’s doing it by increasing his cardio.

John Fit April 28, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Rusty,
Those facts are really important to point out.. Mindless gaining of muscle doesn’t exactly lead to cutting body fat.. It all depends on what your goal is I would assume & what your trying to accomplish (Is your Goal to look like the skinny Marathon Runner by losing Lots of Weight and not having a dense foundation of muscle, or is to look like the Sprinter who has the sexy lean body full of lean muscle with low body fat (Both looks can be sculpted from any starting point with the right plan).. I think weights do play a “defining” role in weight loss, but not necessarily bulking weight lifting & dieting routines.. Understanding your genetics and how sensitive & motivated your personal body is to certain factors would probably be the first step in establishing a great weight loss routine.. Skinny guys & gals respond differently to certain stimuli than do heavy-massed thick boned individuals.. Anyone who’s thinking adding tons of muscle will result in natural body fat loss, is probably steering the Get Fit bus in the wrong direction.. Fat Loss is certaintly a metabolism issue.. Finding ways to increase your metabolism is the way fat peels off your body.. Statistically Gaining lots of muscle doesn’t playing a leading role in weight loss, but weight lifting correctly does keep the body guessing, muscles dense, body stretched out, & should lead to additional fat loss over time and a leaner you.. Diet diet diet (eating clean and lean) is your leading source to fat loss.. Nice objective Post Rusty.. Good to see some figures & caculations here on how muscle gain isn’t the #1 factor in speeding up metabolism..

John Fit.. (Looking for a Lean Snack as I type my Sign Off!)

Helder April 28, 2008 at 7:01 pm

Even worse Rusty, some trainers are saying (and writting) that cardio isn’t necessary, because if you gain more muscle you’ll burn more fat, this is a big lie, i’m glad you’re once again teaching us the truth about this. I strongly believe that in order to get fit we need to eat clean (the most important for me) do cardio and lift weights. Just lifting weights won’t burn enough fat, it helps for 2 reasons, when you’re at the gym you burn calories, and when the body is repairing the muscle damage, it burns calories even when you’re resting, but without eating right and doing cardio the burned fat won’t be enough to have a lean body.

trif_m April 28, 2008 at 7:15 pm

Hey Rusty, great post yet again!

In the past I used to think that gaining more muscle does help burn more fat.

But, now when I look back I realize that I was just looking for a reason to skip cardio.

And what did trying to pack on muscle got me?

Well, not very much. I gained a ton of fat and extra fat cells (you nailed it with that article again) started to look silly because i had too much mass for my height and so on.

Then, last summer I joined a new gym and went completely in the opposite direction. I was doing cardio 5 times per week – on only cardio days as much as 1000 calories burnt according to the ellipticals, stationary bikes and steer master (I know that there were not 1000 calories burned but I over simplified it) and was eating clean and smaller meals. The result over 22 pounds lost in 2 months.

Anyway, the point is that if you want to lose weight stick with the cardio and diet. Use weight training to hold on to the muscle you have and to tone up (see Rusty’s article about heavy training for muscle tone). It just simply works.

P.S. You know they I wrote to you earlier that I was going to give out free information on fat loss. Well, I finished writing down my diet recommendations and already posted 2 out of 7 posts on the topic. I would love to hear some feedback on it from you.

I will post again when all articles are posted but if you want to take a look now then here a re the links to the first two posts:

http://burn-body-fat.blogspot.com…fast-fat-loss-diet.html
http://burn-body-fat….super-foods-list-part-i.html

Thanks for reading this, I realize I got carried away with the typing 😉

Tom Parker April 28, 2008 at 8:41 pm

Good post Rusty. Great way to put the argument into perspective. I’ve never actually heard any personal trainers at my gym recommending gaining muscle to burn fat. Do they really recommend this over cardio?

admin April 29, 2008 at 4:25 am

Karie,

That would be a good strategy to get extra slim. At some point you would probably want to reintroduce more resistance training, but not a bad strategy to get extra slim before the summer season.

Paul,

I’m all for resistance training and cardio. I think they are both important for achieving a great look. Right now I’m pushing cardio harder than normal, because so many fitness sites underestimate how effective it is for getting lean and displaying all of that lean muscle. It is tough at times…but nothing great comes without hard work. Aren’t you glad you aren’t trapped in gaining mass at all costs like so many other guys in the gym?

Jennifer,

I used to use the excuse of being sore to eat more calories. I would say…my body needs these extra calories to repair the damaged muscle. That was 15-16 years ago…I know better now!

Manchild,

There are two many variables for me to give you an exact daily calorie number. I need to do a post on this. There is a trial and error method to figuring out the ideal amount of calories.

Graeme,

Yeah…I just hear this myth so often that I had to do more than one post on it. Lifting is great and I do it 4-5 times per week, but cardio is extremely important as well.

Gary,

I have heard that argument, but haven’t found the scientific data on that. The downside of tearing down the muscles is that it creates sore muscles. Whenever my muscles are sore and I experience this type of fatigue I can’t hit cardio as hard. The bad thing about that is that I don’t burn as many calories or create a good HGH response, because my cardio is kind of half-ass.

Tim,

Beer is always better (just my opinion…I LOVE beer). If you prepare for a night out with the boys by eating less during the day, you can get away with eating pretty junkie 2-3 times a week. I do this during the summer, but I also monitor my weight and hit cardio hard if I see bad changes. Stay active during the day and drink water instead of eating…then you will be able to have a lot more fun at night! It is a good trade off. Note: This is just for people like you who have reached their ideal weight.

Adam,

You are going to have quite an edge over the typical personal trainers just starting out. You will already have the answers to tons of questions that your clients will have by reading all of these comments. Heck…half of the comments add more strategies and wisdom to the posts. That is great that you are below 10%…very few people ever get to that level!

futon,

You know I am going to do a post on that! I love featuring celebrities who slim down for roles. 50 Cent needs to slim down…he will look much better!

John Fit,

Yep…I love lifting weights. I am learning to like cardio…it took me years to enjoy the feeling. Lifting is so much more entertaining to me. Anyway…I think the most attractive looking and healthiest physiques are built by a combination of both.

Helder,

The only way to avoid cardio and get lean is really strategic Circuit Training…but it has to be done in a specific manner. I still think that cardio with lifting is the best route, but for people who can’t stand cardio…Turbulence Training is a good alternative (but really let’s face it…this is really just a way of doing cardio with weights instead of running or biking).

trif,

I’ll head over to your blog in about 5 minutes and read and then comment. I did a quick look and I could tell you put a lot of time into those posts. A good post takes me about 1-2 hours and mine are short…I know you spent some good time on these!

Tom,

This is a huge, huge misconception amongst many personal trainers. I honestly hear this one at least 2-3 times per month. I don’t correct them, because I don’t think it is cool to do that in front of their clients. Great site by the way!

Good stuff everyone!

Rusty

AFDerrick April 29, 2008 at 9:02 am

Alright Rusty, the one question I didn’t hear asked to you yet. I am trying to lose weight, right now I lift weights and then doing HIIT in the morning with a more steady state 45 – 60 minutes of cardio in the afternoon. My question for you is if I am trying to just lose weight right now, should I cut out weight lifting or should my current plan work for me? I’ve only seen about 2 – 3 pounds lost a week over the past 2 months doing this. However in that same time I have seen a great increase of definition in my arms, and my arms have gotten about 2 – 3 inches larger in diameter (maybe that is an over estimate). Should I devote that time in the morning to a solid hour and a half of cardio or keep the 45/45 split I have going on right now?

admin April 29, 2008 at 1:20 pm

AFDerrick,

I think what you are doing right now is perfect. Keep lifting and doing cardio. It sounds like it is working very well for you! You will get best results if you lift and do cardio. Keep up the great work!

Rusty

jimmay April 29, 2008 at 8:58 pm

Hey rusty I reached my goal and more some. The thing is I just found your site and have been reading these interesting articles. I am most intrigued by the nutrition articles. See my problem is Ive doing the don lemmon diet where you separate your proteins vs carbs the question I have is I would rather just eat once or twice a day. The thing is i went from 185 to 165 in 8 weeks on this diet without cardio. I am the leanest ive ever been. the question I have for you would you if you were me try to switch to something new like your plan of maybe one or two or three meals a day. Instead of feeling like I have to eat every 2 to 3 hours. I just want to maintain and just eat this lifestyle? what is your suggestions

Hannah Banana April 29, 2008 at 11:25 pm

If you want a perfect example of this fact, look at powerlifters.

You know they’ve got insane amounts of muscle, yet they’re also pretty chubby as far as bodyfat percentage goes.

With all that muscle, you’d expect them to be thin with the “muscle burns a lot of calories!” logic.

niki April 30, 2008 at 2:24 am

Rusty, I have a confession to make and I would really appreciate any advice you could give me. After struggling for a year and not seeing any real results with weight loss I started seeing a Bariatric Physician (diet doctor). She prescribed me 35 mg of phentermine as well as another prescription for a diuretic. I have been taking this combo for almost 2 years now and I am still 15-20 pounds away from my goal. I have spent the last few weeks reading every single article and post on your site. I now feel like I have developed a better understanding of an effective method to lose weight and keep it off. I am very motivated to lose the last of my extra weight, but I want to get off the diet pills right away. I am concerned about the long term use of the prescriptions and potential health problems the pills could cause. Aside from the health concerns I would like to prove to myself that I can lose weight on my own with out the assistance of pills. I have never been obese, just over weight after pregnancy, and I feel the pills have been a crutch instead of a tool towards weight loss. I am concerned about gaining weight when I quit, but in the long term I think it is the right thing to do. Anyways, sorry for the long post, I was just hoping you might have some suggestions or insight about the best way to quit. I am definitely quitting, I just don’t know if cold turkey is best or if I should wean myself off slowly. Thanks.

Chris April 30, 2008 at 1:32 pm

I once read that there is 3,500 calories in a pound of fat (as mentioned in your article), but there is 700 calories in a pound of muscle. In other words, it doesn’t take nearly as many calories to build lean muscle, as bodybuilders think. This is why they gain so much extra weight, in fat, when bulking, because they are eating per gaining a pound of fat in a week, instead of eating for muscle .. so they do gain muscle, but also a lot more fat than necessary. Maybe the extra weight gain, even if fat, boosts the ego (I don’t know), but I’ve never understood the practice of eating 3,000-4,000 calories, and constantly going through bulking and cutting cycles. Rusty, what have you heard/read, regarding this?

Keisha April 30, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Rusty, I just stumbled upon your site 2 days ago and I am hooked. Great tips–I plan to do the carb / protein cycling you mention. Here is my dilemma: I am a 5’1″ female 123 lbs looking to get down to 110. I don’t belong to a gym (poor student!) and I have severe plantars fasciitis in both feet so most high-impact activities are out of the question. My legs are in pretty good shape minus some upper inner thigh flab, but my main issue is by belly.

What are some exercises I can do without having access to a gym that will help me lose weight, tone up, and not kill my feet?

Sawyer April 30, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Rusty,

I know this is off topic for this post; but I was wondering what your thoughts were on rest days. I have been doing a little research myself and I was wondering wether or not there was a significant benefit to giving your body a day or two of rest or if your better off working out every day of the week (if you are at a level where you can) or if you should take it easy instead of not exercising at all for a day or two.

Julian May 1, 2008 at 1:29 am

Hey there Rusty

Thanx 4 sum great post once again.
All of the results i’m getting, i could not do without yr continues dedication 2a the people visiting on yr site, this information is still by far the most effective on the net.

THANX AGAIN.

Baz May 1, 2008 at 6:28 am

Rusty, i wanted to ask for your opinion on my workouts. When i perform my weights excercises such as barbell deaslifts and curls etc i can’t really reach my 10 rep target (i know it goes against what you preach but through experience i thinks this works better for me) because once i get to about 7 reps my forearms give out. My forearms are id say my weakest muscle so even though with deadlifts i feel i can still do the last 3 reps my hands can’t hold on the bar anylonger forcing me too give up the last 3 reps any put the weights down. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks

Randi May 1, 2008 at 7:43 am

I absolutley love your site!! and this post is awesome – i have known this for awhile; its funny how you say its the personal trainers mantra. I date a personal trainer and me and him use to argue over things like this all the time – i just keep my mouth shut now b/c he went to school for this stuff and has been doing it for years – secretly i know i am right ha ha – he cant complain though i keep myself in great shape – although it does get frustrating b/c he says i do too much cardio; i personally cant call it a good session at the gym without at least 1hour of intense cardio – even it it means i only have time for 15-20 minutes of resistance training!!

admin May 1, 2008 at 3:43 pm

jimmay,

I haven’t tried that diet, but if I was to attempt it…I would eat protein for meal one…workout 4-8 hours later…eat carbs one hour after lifting and then protein an hour later. Maybe try an approach like that. The best time to eat carbs is after working out…they are less likely to be stored as body fat.

niki,

Maybe keep on them for 2-3 weeks while beginning a strong cardio plan. Do cardio without any type of calorie in your system…don’t touch any type of calorie 4 hours before going to the gym (if you are dying, an apple is fine…but nothing else). Drink a few cups of green tea and do intense cardio for 10-15 minutes followed by steady moderate cardio for 20-30 minutes. If you want to look your best, incorporate a weight lifting routine before hitting the cardio.

Chris,

I have also heard that muscle gain does not require a large calorie surplus at all. The amount of gain is so small, day to day that very little protein is required. Mike Mentzer was an “old school” bodybuilder who didn’t believe in bulking at all. I don’t like his lifting philosophy, but the guy was a true pioneer as far as bodybuilding goes. Another good example of large muscle gains without eating a massive amount is prisons…some of these guys are huge and they are eating a really low to moderate amount of protein (not that I have any prison experience).

Keisha,

Do you have access to a bike or exercise bike? I got ripped one summer by hitting the exercise bike hard. This used to be the exercise of choice to lose body fat back in the 80’s.

Sawyer,

I believe you can workout every day of the week for about 21 days. It is an awesome short term way to get massive results. For the long term, I think 4-6 days a week is ideal. For the record, I have been doing between 4-5 days per week. I only do 6 days per week, right before a trip or before summer for a short period of time.

Julian,

Thanks a bunch for the compliment, it makes this worth the effort. This is building into a nice resource for people…the comments are just as valuable as the posts.

Baz,

Over time your forearms will get stronger. Just keep at it and you will be able to hold the bar for a longer period of time. You may want to do some direct grip work for a while. Why don’t you hang on a chinup bar as long as possible after you are done working out. It will decompress the spine as well as strengthen the forearms. Whatever you do, don’t use wrist-wraps…this will just make this a bigger weakness. I’m 100% against the use of wrist-wraps!

Randi,

I agree 100% with you sister…brief lifting and a focus on intense cardio…this is a recipe for a great body. Everyone has their opinions on the best fitness approach. There are tons of ways to reach the same goal. He is probably good at what he does.

Rusty

a dude May 5, 2008 at 11:34 am

nice! thanks for letting us know the other side of the story
its good to hear something different.

Mark May 8, 2008 at 5:04 am

Hi rusty, the weather here in the uk is getting warmer although because of an injury at work i cant enjoy the benefits yet….my question is: Im currently 198lbs & 5 8″ tall, i have a calorie deficit of 500 cals & 600 cals through exercise (static bike) 30 mins in the morning fasted cardio & same again before my evening dinner plus im just eating breakfast & dinner. I have an event to go to in 9 weeks time and would like to look a little leaner…am i on the right track ? Also in maybe 3 – 4 weeks if i feel better ill be hitting the heavy bag 3 – 4 times a week…..any input from you is greatly appreciated 🙂

admin May 8, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Mark,

Sounds like you have a simple, focused, and effective plan. You will definitely look leaner in 9 weeks. Great job on giving yourself enough time to look great. The biggest mistake people make is to start too late.

What I would recommend that last 2-3 weeks is to try and go low carb without a break. If your event is just a one day event, eat moderate levels of carbs 3-4 days right before that day. If you are going on a week vacation, don’t touch the carbs until you reach your destination.

Rusty

Mark May 9, 2008 at 4:57 am

Thanks rusty, I was with the parachute regiment with the british army back in 2001 and before i was medicalled out because of a knee injury i was at my peak fitness, any challenge mental or physical and i just went through it without hesitation, since leaving the army, 12 hour shifts at work, a wife & family to look after i kind of neglected the gym and bad eating habits soon fell in….now that ive got a just over a couple of months to myself im gonna make the most of it….yours is the best site rusty, changed my whole perception on fitness & nutrition 🙂

ps, would it be beneficial to add a weights routine on alternate days….and if so before cardio or after ?

admin May 10, 2008 at 8:43 pm

Mark,

Thanks for the compliment…I appreciate it! You will look better if you add in resistance exercise at least 3 times per week. Do it before cardio and focus on getting stronger in the 3-5 rep range. Don’t lift to failure, etc. Just aim for increasing performance without blitzing your muscles.

Rusty

Andew September 19, 2008 at 12:29 am

Hey Rusty,

Very insightful post! I couldn’t agree with you more here, there’s such an emphasis that trainers put on building your lean muscle mass to burn more fat. Showing the numbers of how many calories you actually burn is really smart. I linked over to this post on my blog. Let me know what you think!

http://earnyourcheatday…rapid-weight-loss-not-so-fast/

Thanks bud,

Andrew

J.F. Lucero October 18, 2008 at 9:29 am

Wow! Thank you for this great article. I’ll take your advice to gain more focus on cardio workouts rather than building muscles to get rid of body fats. It really takes a little bit of research and understanding and at the same time comparing two things before you can really see the best one that works for you. Thanks and more power to your blog!

Christoph Dollis October 24, 2008 at 1:28 am

If you were talking simply about basal metabolic rate, you’re right.

However…

… people with more muscle find doing things relatively easier. They’re more capable so they tend to do more. Therefore they generally burn a lot more calories.

Aside from the fact muscular people are just generally more active, pretend a fat and a strong person both ran for 30 minutes of pure cardio. The strong person would go faster and further… burning more calories.

Plus people who build strong muscles are usually more in touch with their body, I think, as a rule with plenty of exceptions.

tray March 13, 2009 at 12:20 pm

just ran across this and had to comment. Your calculations and assumptions here are that the muscle tissue is only in a resting state and never working which is completely false. Yes, in a resting state (say sleeping) there is minimal difference between calories burned by fat and muscle. What you are overlooking is that fat is always at rest, whereas during activity, the muscle tissue increases its metabolic rate several fold over resting rate. So, if a 300# body builder and a 300# couch potato are sitting on the couch together, they are burning about the same amount of calories. However, if they both get up off their butts and do something, the body builder is going to have a much higher VO2 max, be able to perform much more work, and burn a considerably larger amount of calories. You aren’t looking at the whole picture

The Fit News June 3, 2009 at 2:05 am

Brilliant.. I love seeing exact numbers. Nothing annoys me more than people telling you that by doing something you will “improve” or “increase” or “hinder” or “limit” your performance. By using these words you’re implying that it may not work at all!

I’m all for seeing exact numbers and factual data of what DOES and DOESN’T work. Good job.

LaDone June 25, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Hey Rusty,

I was wondering if resistance training has to be weight lifting? I don’t have a whole lot of time to do an hour of cardio + weight training. I like the way it feels to do an hour of cardio and I wanted to continue on this path. On the other hand, I still know that I need resistance training. I was wondering if doing a variety of push-ups and pull-ups counts as resistance training for my upper body? It does feel like I get a good pump, yet I don’t think i’ll bulk up with this method which is good because i’m not looking to bulk up. What do you think?

pjnoir July 7, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Some points are missing. Cardio works best with well fed muscle. Well fed muscles (an anabolic state) will continue to stoke your calorie burning metabolism to work even at rest- a far better deal then having to run to get the furance going. Total well rounded fitnes- diet, cardio and strength training need to be a package.

One other point- The fear of bulking up- It is impossible to “Bulk” up with the INTENT to bulk up. No body accidently turned into a Hulk freakazoid. Relax.

Rick January 21, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Lol this article is so true. I speak of experience. I was weighing 75kg and was really into running. I could run 20km a couple of times a week and was nice and slim. At a time I had to devote time to something else and couldnt run as long but thought I would gain some fat. I started to build up muscle just split programs with heavy weight but only 20 min each time. It seemed to work well I gained muscle but because I didnt run anymore, slowly I started to gain fat. After 1,5 years I was about 100kg or more. I have stopped weightlifting. It did not burn clarories anymore than when I was at 75kg. Its a pure myth. Some would tell me then, that as a big guy I could eat anything and never get fat “just look at the bodybuilders, they are all muscle”. Its a lie and a fantasy. If there is any difference it should be, that now I weigh more and cardio exercises are 5 times as tough to do and I grow tired quicker. I started running again after a while Im up on a 7km run and I dont feel that great after like I used to.

Rick January 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Also, when you see those athletes on the telly and they look strong,muscular and fast. Well theyre not as heavy as you think. When you have a low body fat your muscle tend to look bigger. For example some of the 100 meter runners look pretty muscular but wait until you hear what their weight is. Same goes for sprint swimmers or just any athlete you see. You would think they were 100kg but theyre not.

Dani March 12, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Love all your advice! I’m really trying to go for a slim toned look, and i have pretty good shape, but my thighs are kinda bulky.. what can I do to eliminate bulk? should I cut out all my resistance training?

god jesus April 10, 2010 at 2:38 pm

i knew this but bulking up is better than having no muscle and being a weakling. besides if you r willing to bulk you better be willing to cut fat aswell. every pound of muscle you have burns calories, about 6. if you have an additional 100 pounds of muslce then you will burn 600 calories…ofcourse alot of you probabaly dont have that much lean mass on….you have to be at least 5’8 210 pounds at around 5% bodyfat to obtain that goal

lew June 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Sorry to ‘shake things up’, but this article is a bit jacked up. Hear me out.

It seems to be written by someone who buys the calories in = calories out mantra. Which is somewhat bogus. Calorie counting is a waste of brain matter. So I urge you to check your rhetoric, stop browzing bureaucratic junk science.

The short version is, fats vs. carbs. Fats cant be stored in fat tissue, carbs can. Eating fat forces your body to get its energy from fat, in turn makes it a fat burning machine. Limiting carbs amplify this effect. Even moreso, limiting your fats to short and medium chain triglycerides lessen the burden on your liver.

Consider your mind = blown. Stop poisoning the collective conscious.

Calorie counting is for people who dont understand metabolism.

Flexo November 6, 2012 at 3:02 am

The title was good and I agree. The conclusion that cardio is better than weightlifting isn’t in my opinion.
You completely ignore the calories burned during weightlifting and the calories burned in the 24 hours after the weightlifting-session, which is more then the calories during an equally long cardio-session. the little extra calories burned to maintain your muscles don’t really matter but this isn’t the reason weightlifting works at all. It’s just a promotional myth to get the masses to join in, just like crunches (for a six-pack) was 10 years ago.

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