T Nation

Metabolism Myth? I Don't Think So



This proves we are all on steroids since we're gaining weight too fast and are not complete fatasses due to a lack of cardio.

*Note, my comments were sarcastic.


No, we're not all on steroids, but anyone who's bigger than me must be. :wink: As far as the article, most of us don't gain muscle to simply burn more calories; it provides great shape and long-term health, versus ephemeral cardio capacity (nothing against cardio, I swear).


Actually, that's true.

You have to significantly raise your muscle mass in order to raise your metabolism by any real degree. But what that article doesn't take into account is all the calories you burned and hard work you put in to gain that pound of muscle. Or the elevated metabolism rate you'll have from working out constantly.

But, all things being equal, it takes a lot of muscle to raise metabolism supposedly. Not that that really matters in the real world. The real world doesn't have control variables and stuff.


Don't forget looking good naked. I'd say that's a pretty good benefit.

Really though, if the article took EPOC in to consideration, it would have a lot different message.


Yeah, I guess that's what I meant with 'good shape'. I'm nearly 20% bf, but don't think I look like a fat f*@k. If I had 30-40 lbs less muscle, though, and carried the same level of fat, I'm sure I would be subject to ridicule at pool parties. Muscle gets even more important for maintaining appearance as we get older, too, I think.


I'm pretty sure you can gain like 1-2 lbs of muscle a week not a month, Or else it would 2 years to get up even 20 lbs. Which is BS.


Not entirely true. It's not just the working out constantly, it's the amount of calories that get shuttled to repair the torn up muscle tissue you just trained into the ground. This is a much more pronounced effect than slow and steady cardio, which basically stops burning calories a few minutes after you're done. Which is one of the points you sort of hit on indirectly with your "elevated metabolism that you'll have from working out constantly" comment. This is also one of the reasons lots of people recommend HIIT for cardio over steady state...


"your body does not discriminate between fat (your fat stores) and muscle (your lean body mass), so it just takes where it can." This is so retarded I don't even know how this guy is a doctor.


yeahh...that's what I said it doesn't account for the work you put in to get there..did you read my post?


That was overly simplistic. If one pound of muscle only requires 6 calories extra, then someone who gained 100lbs of lean body mass would only have to eat 600 more calories a day from when they were 100lbs less to maintain that weight????


It doesn't work like that in real life....making that article full of shit.

Bodybuilders have been ahead of much of medical science for about 20 years now. You would think someone would take the time to look in a gym to see how things really work out in the real world. If you gain 100lbs, you are going to need more than 600 extra calories to maintain that much and gain even more.


Where are all the citations of research studies and experiments to corroborate this doctors false statements? "Here is the stone-cold fact: One pound of muscle increases your metabolic rate by only 6 calories per day!" Wheres the source for that 'fact'? I thought doctors knew how to properly cite things...


I don't see what the big deal is. TBT 3x a week plus cardio will work fine for your average Joe. Formulas for basal metabolic rate are more or less in line with what this guy is saying. When you take into consideration your activity level and the fact that lifting heavier weights requires more energy, obviously it amounts to more than 6 calories per lb of muscle. And I'm sure people will read the article and take it as one more reason not to be concerned with building muscle. But maybe some will use it to question their shitty personal trainers when they say, "don't worry that you're not losing weight, you're just replacing all the fat with muscle!" The general population needs to worry about diet and activity level, not all this extra crap.


So giving false info is ok as long as the general public simply moves as a result?

It is a FACT that your body is going to need more than 6 extra calories per pound of muscle because even carrying that extra size will burn even more calories. They use studies conducted in a lab or test tube and relate it directly to real world activity and that makes no sense.

If I went back to what I was eating when I weighed 100lbs less and simply added 600cals to it, I would have to say goodbye to a shit load of muscle mass.


how much dry muscle do you really think you can gain a month naturally?

~2 pounds of stage weight a month for a natty guy isn't bad. if i gained 24 soild pounds of muscle in a year i would be thoroughly impressed. that would probably be a net gain of more than 50 pounds also.

if you're gaining 5 pounds a week and arent on gear it's probably a lot of fat/water and some glycogen as well.


That is what I was thinking. I definitely need a lot more food than a lot of people I know who aren't active, and sometimes, they are only about 30-40 lbs lighter than me. How could a bodybuilder even survive with such little food intake that this article says that he needs?

Plus, the whole 1-2 lbs per month thing is complete bullshit. I gained 30 lbs (not all muscle, but a good majority was) in slightly less than 3 months. What the hell kind of information is that from a doctor? I know the lifting community has been ahead of medicine for, well, ever, but I still hate when blatantly incorrect information is being presented.


There are also different stages of training. If some newbie gains 20lbs of muscle in two months, is anyone here really dumb enough to think it was an impossible feat?

That article seemed heavily biased against gaining large amounts of muscle mass by making it seem "useless".

Yes, 2lbs of dry weight lean body mass a month is decent for the guy who has been training for some time, especially if they are already big....HOWEVER, even that dry weight is going to come with glycogen and water which will ALSO register as lean body mass. Therefore, if anyone takes this article and comes to the conclusion that they should try to avoid gaining MORE than 2lbs in a month, they would be on the wrong track due to half assed reporting of data and lack of experience/education.


The bad thing is, newbs believe every word of it...and convincing them otherwise becomes that much harder. That is why you have people here who have been lifting for years who look like they don't lift...and they are afraid to gain much because they think the human body is that limited in all cases.


i see what you're sayin.

personally i try to gain as much as i can and wouldn't even care if it was fat half the time just to put something on my frame (and use that for leverage to lift heavier) but i really only gain about 2 pounds a month, 20 pounds a year at least so far.


Anyone think the doctor in aforementioned article is telling a half-truth? As in 6 calories per pound of muscle, but that's if you lay in bed all day and do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. The problem being the readership of the article take it as '1 pound of muscle can ONLY burn 6 calories a day'.

Following the article's logic, the average(im just pulling this example out of thin air but you get the point), 160 pound man @ 15% bf would have ~136 lbs. LBM, of which 40%(54.4 lbs.) is muscle. According to this doctor that man would only use up 326.4 calories a day with his muscles. Take that from the 'normal' caloric intake of 2000 calories, that leaves 1673.6 calories. Therefore, people like Prof. X would only need to consume ~500 calories because that is all his muscles would need. (That is assuming 250 pounds @ 17% bf)

All my bullshit aside, we can see that the proposition that 1 pound of muscle can ONLY burn 6 calories a day is preposterous.


alwyn cosgrove has a lot to say on that topic, what with the complexes and interval training he talks about in the afterburn program. pretty much your metabolism stays elevated for a while after training intensely.

i don't think this doc should have written that article, it's pretty misleading.