Does adding a pound of muscle burn the often-quoted number of 50 calories a day? The 50-calorie-a-day number can’t be true if one makes the assumption that the muscle tissue you all ready had before adding that pound of muscle will produce the same calorie burn - i.e. all lean muscle tissue consumes 50 calories a day. A 155 pound man with 62 pounds of skeletal muscle would have to consume 3100 calories each day just to support his muscles.
A more reasonable assumption is that strength training will results in an increase in resting metabolism for existing muscle plus and an additional increase in metabolism for new muscle. From the article examining two studies Why The Confusion on Muscle and Metabolism? Wayne Wescott concludes:
Strength training does have a significant elevating effect on resting metabolic rate, and is therefore a highly beneficial exercise for increasing daily calorie utilization and enhancing fat loss. It would appear that the metabolic increase occurs in all of the strength trained muscle tissue, and that the additional energy utilization may be about 1.5 calories per pound of muscle per day.
The stats from the studies examined:
A standard three-month strength training program may produce the following effects in previously sedentary adults and seniors:
1. Increase overall resting metabolism by
about 7 percent.
2. Increase lean (muscle) weight by about 3 pounds.
3. Increase daily resting metabolic rate in all of the trained muscle by about
1.5 calories per pound (from 5.7 calories per pound to 7.2 calories per pound).
Interestingly both studies were conducted using brief, intense 30 minute workouts of the type we use at our facilities- Austin Personal Trainers andNew Orleans Personal Training. With strength training you burn calories four ways:
1. Added muscle burns additional calories.
2. Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) - recovery and rebuilding muscle as a result of the workout
3. The workout itself.
4. Existing muscle regularly trained will experience an increase in tone and an increase in resting metabolism.
Strength training is something one might want to consider if one is embarking on a weight loss program. Not only will stronger people burn more calories at rest, people who are stronger can engage in more activities and do them for longer periods with less chance of injury creating a beneficial cycle of fat burning. For those will little free time you might want to consider high intensity strength training. For time spent nothing burns more calories than high intensity strength training - nothing. One study examining the effect of high intensity strength training on metabolism showed a nine-fold improvement in fat burning.