Does More Muscle Increase Your Metabolism?


We recently received the following question from a reader: "I've always thought that adding muscle accelerates your metabolism. But then I read that is not right. So what's the truth: Increasing your muscle mass really boosts your metabolism?– Phil, Vancouver

For as long as I can remember, many people believed that for every 1 pound of muscle you gain, your body burns 50 extra calories. On paper, this sounds awful. But, unfortunately, it is not true.

Increase in muscle mass metabolism increased?

The answer is "yes, but not much."

Studies show that every pound of muscle gained hard for an extra 4-7 calories a day. Translation: if you want to burn 100 extra calories a day, then you need to add a solid 10-20kg of muscle to your body – and that is very of muscle.

But here's the good news

The ever-wise Dean Somerset wrote a great post about why this seemingly depressing news can be a bit deceiving. Let's start with the basics: even if you were able to add 10 to 20 pounds of muscle (and this will get you years, not for months), that the extra 100 calories burned a day still won't give you "an oven's fat burning abilities on top of Phoenix in July." But acquiring this muscle would still be very useful for your body – and your fat loss goals.

More muscular movement means more calories burn faster

While calorie burning of a pound of muscle in a restful state is greatly overestimated, the work you need to do to build this muscle would still create positive changes for your body. And then, as Somerset explains, when your now-more-muscular exercise gets you going, you'll be able to burn more calories faster.

"So the big contour of this is that adding muscle mass alone won't help you burn enough calories, but it can help you do more work, which will actually burn more calories.Somerset writes.

The Takeaway

While adding more muscle does not speed up your metabolism as much as you want, do not exaggerate the effects on your metabolism at the basal level. Instead, realize that there are many good reasons to exercise and add more muscle (and fat loss) as a means to be healthier and look better.

Read more:

How much fat should I eat?

Is Sugar Bad For You? (You will be surprised)

Understanding of proteins, carbohydrates and fats