Know Food Now The Truth about Muscles and Weight Loss | Know Food Now

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Truth about Muscles and Weight Loss

The photo on the left does not show that muscle weighs more than fat, but that 5lbs of fat takes up a larger volume than 5lbs of muscle.

There is no alchemy that transforms gelatinous yellow goop into lean red muscle. When your weight loss program plateaus, you have not built sufficient muscle mass to compensate for the lack of weight loss, you simply have not lost fat and that's why you continue to weigh the same. To reduce fat you need to  reduce your caloric intake.

A dieter concentrating on calorie reduction  can expect a weekly weight loss of 1 - 2lbs. Caloric deficits are not conducive to building muscle mass, in fact the opposite is true. And muscle building is an arduous and time consuming process that is based on a normal diet, not a weight loss diet. Males can gain 0.25lb of muscle per week under the best circumstances and women half that. So fat loss and muscle mass will never cancel each other out over a given time period.

Muscle mass will make you look slimmer, but the fact that muscle burns more calories than fat is not significant.  Studies measuring metabolism vary greatly,  but Dr. Cedric X. Bryant, the American Council on Exercise's Chief Science Officer, suggest a pound of muscle only burns about 6 calories a day.

To see what this means for you, there are online body fat calculators with which to measure your fat loss and muscle gain.  All you need is a skin fold caliper.

A 2012 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology concluded that aerobic exercise is "the optimal mode of exercise for reducing fat mass and body mass."  Of the three exercise modalities compared, aerobic, aerobic combined with resistance training, and resistance training alone, the combined program resulted in the most weight loss but  the results were not "significantly better than the aerobic-only group."  The resistance only group gained weight.

The take away is to reduce your calories and start walking, running, cycling, swimming or dancing! Muscle training has advantages, but not for weight loss.  Develop a mindset that diet and exercise work best in combination.

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