Lose fat, get buff, jump higher, lower blood pressure… It doesn’t matter what your health and fitness goal is – you want some more lean muscle!
Back in July I wrote about the Four Components Of Metabolism. It turns out that up to 75% of the calories you burn every day are a result of your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR).
And the best way to raise your RMR – and therefore burn more calories – is to add some lean, toned muscle to your bod.
I was part of a study to measure resting metabolic rate. I had to sleep in a lab and have my oxygen consumption measured while I was sleeping, then we extrapolated how many Calories I’d burn in a day of inactivity – not even eating.
At the time I was a lean, hard 260 pounds. Guess what my RMR was?
Just about 4000 Calories.
That means if I had stayed in bed all day and slept I would have burned off more than a pound of fat’s worth of Calories!
And it was mainly a function of the lean muscle I had (and my guts and heart and stuff were the rest).
The standard number bandied about by exercise scientists is that every pound of muscle you have burns about 50 Calories a day.
So if you switch out ten pounds of fat for ten pounds of muscle, you would weigh exactly the same but burn an extra 500 Calories in a day!
(With the type of metabolic acceleration training I’ve figured out since then, I can now activate the muscle even better so it burns more calories, but that’s another story )
For most people, that means the number one reason you want more lean muscle is to speed up fat loss.
Basically, you can eat more and lose fat at the same rate OR you can eat the same amount and lose fat faster!
Another reason you want some lean, toned muscle is that it makes maintaining your ideal body much MUCH easier.
If you go on a starvation diet or become an aerobics junkie, you’ll lose weight.
The problem with both those methods is that you’ll lose a lot of muscle along with a bit of fat.
That means you will have a much slower metabolism after you’ve lost the weight, which means the pounds will come right back on if you ever slack off the aerobics or eat above the starvation level.
And almost all of the pounds you put back on will be PURE FAT as a result of your slow metabolism.
Here’s where the “yo-yo weight loss” starts. You can lose 30 pounds and slow down your metabolism.
It stays slow and you gain the weight back. Now you have a slow metabolism and you attack the weight with an even stricter diet and more aerobics. You lose the weight and more muscle and slow the metabolism down more.
Yo-yo up, yo-yo down. The more times you yo-yo, the more damage you do to your metabolism and pretty soon it just acts like me at a lame party: “This sucks, I’m out.” Metabolism is out the door, along with your health and vitality.
When you lose fat and put on some toned muscle, you can actually RAISE your metabolism at your new lighter weight, which makes keeping your dream body so easy it’s almost automatic.
Which would you rather do: lose and gain 30 pounds every year for the rest of your life and do irreparable damage to your body? Or lose the weight once and then not have to worry about gaining it back again?
Thin is one thing:
Hot is another:
While thin and flabby is better than big and flabby, I can confidently state that we all want to be hot beyond just being a stick figure with fat and skin over our frames.
If the three reasons above aren’t enough to convince you that lean muscle is TOTALLY AWESOME, here are 3 more:
More muscle is correlated with greater longevity.
Seriously, it’s a double-whammy. Look better AND live longer. Sweet deal!
Your longevity is probably affected by how well hot your metabolism is running. If your cells are turning over faster (high metabolism), bad funky stuff isn’t going to fester as long before it gets attacked by your bod. And when you do get sick, you have the reserves to heal faster.
If you’ve got lean muscle on your frame (instead of fat), you have a place to store any excess sugars that might be bouncing around in your bloodstream.
And we all know what excess sugar in the blood is called… DIABETES!
See, your muscles can store sugar in a form called glycogen and if you have more muscle, you can store more sugar. If there’s no place to store it then the sugar bangs around in your bloodstream wreaking havoc until it can be turned into fat.
But your insulin can work its sugar-stowing magic IF there’s a place to store it. And muscle is a very convenient place.
more muscle => greater insulin sensitivity => less chance of diabetes
Lastly, and certainly not least, muscle is what moves your body.
When you have more muscle you are more athletic and can do cool things.
At the very least, having support for your frame and the ability to move means you can totally enjoy life.
One of my clients came to me to get off his blood pressure medication. We got that handled in about a month with some well-designed workouts and nutritional changes.
He came in one Monday freakin’ BEAMING with a giant smile and told me about his weekend.
Long story short, this guy loved to landscape and garden in his yard. But for the last few years he couldn’t do much and then he was crippled up for a few days afterward.
He’d built a pond and a wishing well on Friday afternoon. He said, “I thought it would take all weekend and that I’d be sore as hell afterward, but it was no problem!”
The ability to do and enjoy the things you love most, all because of a little more firmness on your frame!
So even if your goal is just “to lose fat” you should do it in a way that builds and maintains lean muscle.
You’ll look better, perform better, be healthier, and just plain FEEL better if you do!
PS – If you liked this article, please leave a comment! Nothing gets me more fired up to write “meaty” posts like this one than feedback from the totally awesome people who visit my blog. Thank you so much!