Every so often a new theory on the best way to improve body composition does the rounds. Currently strength training seems to be the holy grail.
The theory is that the more muscle you have the higher your resting metabolism. So if you increase muscle mass you burn more calories even when you are resting.
Is this true?
I’d always assumed it to be. A discussion on the T-Nation fb page got me thinking and researching and I’m beginnning to think the muscle mass makes very little difference.
Increased Resting Metabolic Rate Caloric Burn
Apparently, the majority of our RMR caloric burn comes from function of the brain, heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs. Skeletal muscle only accounts for 20-25% of resting metabolic rate. One pound of muscle burns around 6 calories per day more than one pound of fat. Fat burns 2 calories per day.
So, say you gain 5 pounds of muscle then you’ll burn an extra 30 calories per day at rest. If you started out needing to loose 14 pounds you would also loose 9 pounds of fat to reach your goal. That would reduce your RMR caloric burn by 18 calories per day. The net result of that 9lb fat loss and 5lb muscle gain would be 12 calories extra burned per day.
Strength training doesn’t burn many calories. So if you’re doing predominantly strength training you won’t be burning much while you’re training either.
Assuming the above is correct (I can share links to my sources if that’s OK with the admins?) what, if anything, is the benefit of strength training when it comes to fat loss?
I have some thoughts on this - based upon my own experiences (because I DO think strength training plays a part). Just wondered what others thought?