Muscle and your Metabolism

Question: How many calories can be burned by a pound of muscle?

Answer: One pound of muscle burns about five calories in a 24 hour period when the muscle is at rest.

This fact is contrary to what is commonly stated. You may have heard that anywhere from 10 to 50 calories can be burned by a pound of fat in a 24 hour period.

Why is there confusion?

The Katch-McCardle Formula used to calculate metabolic rates shows that a persons daily metabolic rate can be calculated as: 370 + (21.6 X LBM(kg)) = Calories burned in a 24 hour period.

Many people think that, if a kilogram of muscle burns 21.6 calories in 2 hours, a pound of muscle must burn about 10 calories.

This is not true.

A pound of lean body mass is not the same thing as a pound of muscle. Lean body mass includes everything in your body that isn’t fat, which means that the calculation includes highly metabolic tissues like your liver, heart and viscera.

When you add lean body mass to your body through resistance training, you are adding muscle mass. You aren’t adding mass to your organs. And even though you have more muscle in your body than organs, they only share about half of the metabolic work.

For every pound of muscle you gain from working out, you can expect to burn an extra five calories in 24 hours while your body is at rest.

Adding muscle to boost your metabolism may not work like you would like it to. If you want to burn fat, rely on your diet.


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