Increase Muscle Mass to Burn More Fat
Author: Josh Hodnik
I happened to be on the phone one night with former NPC heavyweight competitor Brandon Lowe while he was placing an order at a fast food restaurant. Brandon put me on hold while he placed his order. After hearing the order for a dozen chili dogs and an extra-large Mountain Dew read back to Brandon, I asked him if it was all for him. He confirmed and started explaining how you have to eat to grow. This is something I already knew, but I also knew that eating the wrong foods could lead to becoming fat. He would always say, “You have to earn the right to eat this way.” I agreed that sedentary people could not eat the same way as people who were extremely active, but I knew that eating a dozen chili dogs on a regular basis by me would definitely lead to fat storage.
Brandon would get up to around 300 pounds in the offseason, but his body fat would never climb past ten percent, even while overeating at fast food restaurants. It has been proven that an increase in muscle mass will increase calorie expenditure, leading to less body fat storage. So how important is increasing muscle mass to keeping the metabolism running at a higher rate?
Flipping through bodybuilding magazines you will often see before and after pictures of bodybuilders. The before will generally be taken during the offseason, and the after will be taken around contest time. There is always a big difference in how lean and vascular the bodybuilder will look between the two pictures, but they really never start off fat to begin with. Today’s bodybuilder carries much more muscle mass than they did a decade ago, and they don’t put on nearly the amount of body fat in the offseason either.Offseason dieting has changed for the better over the years, but science says that the added muscle mass of today’s standards is a big reason for these guys gaining less body fat while bulking than in previous years.
It has been calculated that one pound of fat-free mass burns between 8 to 15 calories. This does not appear to be a significant amount of calories, but when a large amount of muscle is added it can be. In a comprehensive research review, Donnelly and colleagues (1) showed that an increase of 4.5 pounds of muscle mass would increase the resting metabolic rate by 50 calories per day. At this rate it would still take 10 weeks to burn the amount of calories that equate to a pound of body fat, but it is a move in the right direction.
Now take a bodybuilder that may walk around with a 100 pounds of extra muscle compared to the average person. That’s a fat burning machine. Today’s cars are built to be more fuel-efficient than what they were years ago when almost everything on a car was made of steel, and 8 cylinders pushed most cars. Today cars are lighter, and they need less fuel to operate. That is how the body is in a way. Being overweight in general causes a greater demand for calories to maintain the current weight, but body composition will determine how great this demand will be. Muscle mass accounts for 20 percent of the total daily energy expenditure, while fat tissue accounts for a lowly 5 percent.
More Muscle Mass=More Calories Expended = Less Body Fat Stored
Now that the summer is coming to a close, many people are looking to start packing on more muscle. Lets face it; you are not going to be able to add 100 pounds of muscle to your frame over the coming winter, and all hopes of gaining the calorie burning ability of your favorite pro bodybuilder should be quickly forgotten. Gaining some quality muscle to really increase the body’s ability to burn calories is a goal that can be met. Packing on some extra mass this winter will not allow you to scarf down a dozen chili dogs like a 300 pound bodybuilder, but it will make leaning out for summer time much easier.
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