Art Carey | The myth of muscle as calorie burner

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    Post Art Carey | The myth of muscle as calorie burner


    Not sure how much of this I buy, but an interesting read nonetheless. It's a bit old, but I just found it. From the Philadelphia Inquirer

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    Art Carey | The myth of muscle as calorie burner


    By Art Carey

    Inquirer Columnist


    <!-- begin body-content -->Two weeks ago, I introduced you to Greg Ellis, whose new book, Dr. Ellis's Ultimate Diet Secrets (Targeted Body Systems Publishing, $59.95), is to eating and exercising what Moby-Dick is to whaling.

    During a power walk, Ellis and I discussed some of the surprising things he's learned over the last 40 years about how the body turns food into energy, muscle and fat.

    One of Ellis' favorite sayings is "putting it to the numbers" - his phrase for testing conventional wisdom against scientific fact. By putting it to the numbers, Ellis, 55, who has a doctorate in exercise physiology, has discovered that many accepted truths are myths.

    "People don't do their homework," he gripes. "That's how these myths get started and propagated."

    A prime example: If you build more muscle, you'll burn lots of calories.

    "This one really irks me," Ellis says. "It's the big one, the great myth."

    I confess: It's a myth that I, too, have helped propagate. As faithful readers know, I'm a big booster of resistance training - weight lifting for boys and girls, men and women, people of all ages. In this space and in public presentations, I have sung the benefits of pumping iron, including how it helps control weight.

    The conventional wisdom: Muscle is metabolically active. It burns calories even when your body is at rest - 50 to 60 calories a day per pound of muscle. Ergo, if you add a pound of muscle, you can burn an additional 350 calories a week, 1,500 calories a month, 18,000 calories a year - the equivalent of 5 pounds of flesh.

    In other words, if you gain a pound of muscle, everything else being equal, you can, in a year, shed 5 pounds of flab.

    Trouble is, it ain't so.

    "Putting it to the numbers" reveals that resting muscle burns a mere tenth of that - about 5 to 6 calories per pound per day, Ellis says. Since every pound of fat burns 2 calories a day, muscle hardly confers a hefty metabolic advantage - a mere 3 to 4 additional calories per pound.

    How does this play out in the real world?

    Suppose a woman who weighs 150 pounds begins working out, walking two miles a day, lifting weights three times a week. After six months, she manages to shed 18 pounds of flab and gain 6 pounds of muscle.

    To feed that new muscle, her body needs 30 calories of food energy a day (6 pounds x 5 calories = 30). But because she has dropped 18 pounds of fat, her energy needs have also dropped - by 36 calories (18 pounds x 2 calories = 36). Result: Despite all that new muscle, she needs to eat 6 calories a day less to maintain her new weight.

    Moreover, adding 6 pounds of muscle is no easy feat. When Ellis was working on his doctorate, doing body-composition studies in the lab, he found that the muscle mass of female bodybuilders, compared with that of untrained women, was greater by only 6 pounds.

    "Steroid girls had only 8 to 10 pounds more lean body mass," Ellis says. "I'm talking about hard-core bodybuilding chicks - not someone lifting 5-pound dumbbells, but a gal benching 150, and going at it hard."

    Ditto for guys. After several years of training hard, a man may be able to gain 10 pounds of muscle, max. Even with steroids and other anabolic aids, the most a competitive bodybuilder can add is 30 to 40 pounds of muscle, Ellis says. At 5 calories per pound of muscle, all that extravagant anabolic gingerbread revs the metabolism by a mere 150 calories - an amount that could be wiped out by a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.

    "So when Diane Sawyer works out with rubber bands and 5-pound dumbbells and manages to add a quarter-pound of muscle, she may be burning more calories through the exercise itself," Ellis says, "but she's doing zip to increase her resting metabolism."

    Can Ellis be believed? For proof, he showed me citations and tables from his trusty texts, including a real page-turner titled Energy Metabolism: Tissue Determinants and Cellular Corollaries. But more persuasive than academic data was this argument: "If new muscle burns 50 calories a pound, why doesn't already existing muscle burn 50 calories a pound?" Ellis asks. "How does the body determine that new muscle burns 50 calories, while old muscle burns only 5?"

    Answer: It doesn't, because all muscle burns only 5 calories. Putting it to the numbers: If every pound of muscle burned 50 calories, a typical 200-pound man would have a resting metabolic rate (RMR) from muscle alone of 4,000 calories (80 pounds of muscle x 50 = 4,000). Since muscle accounts for about 40 percent of the RMR (organs such as the liver, kidneys, brain and heart account for about 60 percent), the RMR of our hypothetical musclehead would be 10,000 calories - an impossibility. Even Ellis, a mesomorphic pillar of vintage beefcake, has an RMR of only 1,900 calories. So if muscle isn't a calorie-gobbler, why bother to lift weights?

    Because, besides making you stronger, fortifying your bones and joints, improving your balance, reducing the risk of heart disease, and giving you a sense of power, control, accomplishment and well-being, pumping iron will make you look better.

    "If you add 5 pounds of muscle and lose 5 pounds of fat, the impact on your shape and appearance will be dramatic," Ellis says. "If you add 5 pounds of muscle and lose 10 to 20 pounds of fat, you're definitely going to be eye candy."

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    Wow, that article is disturbing; particularly the part about how after a few years of training the typical man can only add 10lbs of muscle. Anyone know how accurate that statement is? Does that mean those guys on here claiming to have gone from 150 to 230 are carrying around another 70lbs of fat?
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    Yes, but what calorie deficit happens from the calories being used to rebuild that damage done by the resistance training itself?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheUsual
    Wow, that article is disturbing; particularly the part about how after a few years of training the typical man can only add 10lbs of muscle. Anyone know how accurate that statement is? Does that mean those guys on here claiming to have gone from 150 to 230 are carrying around another 70lbs of fat?
    I think this statement is formulated to losely.
    10-20lbs to how many poubds as a reference?

    Also,I never heard anyone saying resting metabolism was higher.

    It makes much more sense that more muscle are able to burn more energy while working out,producing more heat,sweat,power etc. . -think of a tour de france rider burning 5-11000kcals a day.

    Or 2000-3000 kcals in one training session.No problem.

    Assuming this,it´s quite logical,that your body functions more
    efficiantly,using more and sooner fatty acids as an energy resource and doesn´t need to pump blood through pounds of fat-tissue,saving some here,also,despite of a more economical function of the heart,blood-oxygen-saturation,lung-function itself.

    Well,that always mades sense to me.

    @PoM I think the calorie-deficit of the damaged muscle repair is neglible.It mostly due to an detoriation of the cells,thus gettin not enough substrates into them anymore,because they´ve gotten insensitive to certain hormones and anabolic actions through a loss of receptors and cellular action.
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    Thanks for an interesting post. In my own situation the paradox has been this: after lifitng weights regularly for 10 years, I found that if I wasnt ingesting 3500 cals a day or more I would rapidly lose weight, so for me the fact that I did gain at least 10 lbs of muscle has had a direct (positive) effect on my metabolism.
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    at least on your training-load/capacity.;-)
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    Good point, thanks, I think you may have extensive nutritional knowledge any other comments are appreciated
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    I don't know for some reason this has always been something I have had some faith in due to personal experiences. When I had much less muscle and was trying to bulk by eating everything in sight, I got pretty fat and big at the same time. Recently, 4 years later and 35 lbs heavier, I can eat crap just like before and not gain too much in the way of fat mass. I also notice I sweat much more and I honestly **** more than I eat (and I eat alot). I still believe that having more muscle causes the metabolism to be faster because you have more to feed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheUsual
    Wow, that article is disturbing; particularly the part about how after a few years of training the typical man can only add 10lbs of muscle. Anyone know how accurate that statement is?
    Actually, I think that statement probably isnt too far from the truth.
    I know when I was younger and had test corsing through my veins, I added bugger all muscle.
    But know with a lot more knowledge (and even wuth only a fraction of the test), adding muscle has been pretty easy, so far at least.
    Knowledge is power.
    The average joe has no idea about training methods, diet, etc and thats why adding 10 pounds of muscle is deemed as the max.
    But as far as guys doing gear only adding 30 or 40 lbs....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew69
    But as far as guys doing gear only adding 30 or 40 lbs....
    Yeah, thats bunk. Ronnie Coleman is 5'10, 290. They're saying that before he started lifting, he was 5'10, 250-260. Minus 30-40 pounds, and hes still in the top .01% of the population for muscle mass.
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    Actually I believe the stuff about resting metabolism being not much. The key here though is RESTING.

    When you use a muscle, your body triggers ALL of the fibers in that muscle to twitch. The more fibers you have, the more calories it takes to get them pumping. There is a minimum amount required to get a muscle twitching. So, even when a task is very simple, the more muscle you have, the more calories will be burned by accomplishing that task. Thus, Ronnie Coleman burns more calories squatting 400 pounds than I would because the muscles used in the exercise are bigger for him. Even though for me it is extremely difficult and requires more strain on each muscle and for him it is easy and requires very little strain on each muscle; the end result is still that he burns more calories doing that activity.


    So, the result is that while your RESTING metabolic rate may not have increased, every little activity you do during the day now burns more calories. I have noticed personally that for example the larger my leg muscles get, the easier time I have staying lean. My theory is that is because my legs are used so much throughout the day.
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    Yeah, see they're speaking of the metabolism of just keeping the muscle "alive". But they thing is, by adding more muscle and more wight you are lifting more ALL DAY LONG just by moving therefore expending more energy. It's like putting on a weighted vest.

    As for the amoutn of muscle one can gain being only about 10lbs, well, maybe that is 10 pounds of DRY muslce. I don't know for sure, but since muscle holds so much water, a lot of what we see in gains isn't actual MUSCLE but the water that it is holding on to.
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    don't believe every little article you guys read.
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    Physiology is so often a subjective thing, what applies to one may not apply to another and this includes all contrary and contradictory information, particularly as applied to weight training methods and means et cetera. A person has to find what works for them consistently. Reading and sharing various points of view helps clarify this and to this end we who seek to learn aspire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pumpinfina
    don't believe every little article you guys read.
    Good reminder. But it does bring up an interesting point about what people really mean when they talk about muscle growth/weight.
    BTW, nice avatar, Fear and Loathing is a great movie.
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    Aeternitatis bro you also have one spiffy avatar

    Ditto for guys. After several years of training hard, a man may be able to gain 10 pounds of muscle, max. Even with steroids and other anabolic aids, the most a competitive bodybuilder can add is 30 to 40 pounds of muscle, Ellis says. At 5 calories per pound of muscle, all that extravagant anabolic gingerbread revs the metabolism by a mere 150 calories - an amount that could be wiped out by a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.
    I dont know about that statement, while muscle certainly does hold onto a lot of water as a result of glycogen uptake, to say the the 'max' a male could put on is 10lbs of muscle dosent really make any sense.

    There are plenty of bros on this board alone that have gone from relatively skinny dudes to very large men...

    When I started training, I was about 170lbs, maybe 14% bodyfat. Even after my first 2 weeks of CKD, dropping about 8lbs of water from <20g carbs per day, I'm about 233, ~17%BF. So when I started I had a LBM of ~147lbs, and now I have an LBM of ~194lbs. That's about 47lbs, give or take a few. My calculations might be off some and that probably isnt all muscle, but I know very well I have gained more than 10lbs of lean mass since I started. And I know very well that most guys on this board have as well.

    And as far as his quote 'female body builders only have 6lbs of muscle than women who don't exercise'...come on! That's absurd.

    I think that while well spoken, Art Carey seems misinformed. Even if you just consider dry muscle tissue, 10lbs seems kind of an underestimate, dosent it?

    Maybe Im wrong, but it sounds weak to me

    BV
    Last edited by BigVrunga; 03-08-2005 at 12:34 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigVrunga
    Aeternitatis bro you also have one spiffy avatar
    Yeah, what you don't see is the 10,000 pound deadlift he's pulling off.
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    Man those guys can blow up whole planets, I think you need a ^10000 on the end of that number
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    this "news" item is old

    He is right in the premise that a pound muscle burns 5 calories.

    but he doesnt know **** if he deducts from that what he just did

    there's more to (active) muscle then clories burned at rest.
    the effect long term control systems of the body is much more profound then eating 5 more calories. just search for repartitioning, ampk, leptin, etc. not to mention the simple fact that more muscle means much more calories burned in exercise and in recovery. much more than 5.

    anyway, never believe the newspaper. theyre out there for headlines not for the truth
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    I definitely agree. Resting muscle tissue may only burn 5 calories but muscle tissue that is rebuilding due to workload (hypertrophy) is a totally different situation and would be using many more calories. In short, all of the muscle in our body is not 'resting' when we are at rest. This is the basic premise of an increased metabolism. Think of each muscle you train as a fire burning within you, the harder you train the more fuel required to keep the fires burning (rebuilding). The more body parts you can 'activate' by training, the more fires are burning and thus the caloric requirement will increase exponentially.
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    The Inquirer? As in the National Inquirer? As in 'Jesus and Adolf Hitler were COUSINS! Look at this poorly drawn picture as evidence!' I don't think anyone should be wasting their time trying to figure out where he's coming from too hard.
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    That guy is a retard. I've seen plenty of people add more than 10 lbs of muscle in their first couple years of bodybuilding and that's without juice. I've personally went from 160 to 200 lbs, with only 15 lbs of that being fat gain within the course of about four years.
    So I'm wondering how all the old classic bodybuilders were able to build all that muscle when juice wasn't around.

    Next thing you know they will be telling you that cooking your meat will give you cancer. Oh wait...
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    Ooops, didn't mean to necropost. Didn't even look at the date on that one.
  

  
 

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