People who try to lose weight tend to have this question, “Does building muscle burn fat?” It’s mostly related to their confusion of why they need to lift the weight while dieting to lose weight.
In most weight loss program, it’s quite common that meal planning, exercise routine, and weight lifting is included within the weight loss program. Because of this, many people are wondering whether building muscle help with the fat-burning process.
Getting into the Facts
Before you get the answer to the question does building muscle burn fat, you should understand the basic facts.
Muscles are more active (metabolically) than fat. In reality, muscles don’t directly burn fat.
However, more muscle mass means that you can burn more calories, and this is what people want to hear when they lose weight.
Muscle tissue requires more energy to maintain its function than fat. It’s quite reasonable that muscle tissues is said to increase the activity of burning calories instead of fat.
Unfortunately, all these times, people tend to focus on meal arrangement and working out (the cardio type, though). Not many people can see the importance of weight lifting and muscle building.
If you want to achieve effective weight loss results, you should include strength training in your program. Not only you can burn extra calories per day (up to 250 calories) with your muscles, but you can also improve your overall health and mental state.
You can avoid stress and anxiety while improving cognitive function, sleep, and mood altogether. Don’t you love it when you can prevent serious illnesses, such as cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, or osteoporosis?
More about Exercising and Strength Training
When people hear the word ‘exercise’ or ‘workout’, they tend to think about basketball, running, or swimming. Some people would automatically think about cycling, while others may think about soccer or softball.
You should know that there are so many different exercise types in this world, and these exercises are designed for certain purposes.
Endurance exercises are also known as cardio exercises. As the name suggests, this kind of exercise focuses on increasing heart rate and breathing.
Running, swimming, cycling, or soccer are cardio because not only do they maintain your lungs and heart in good condition, but they are also great to prevent (chronic) diseases.
However, let’s not forget that there are still other types of exercises, including strength, balance, and flexibility.
Balance, for instance, will help you to maintain good posture and balance, preventing falls. Stretching can help you make activities (on a daily basis) more comfortable as well as provide freedom of movement.
What about strength training? Also known as weight or resistance training, it targets your muscles so they will be stronger. Strong muscles don’t always mean that they are bulky and big.
It’s about maintaining the proper mass to make sure that it remains functional throughout your life. Believe it or not, it has a significant effect on your quality of life.
Strength maintenance is basically about preventing muscle loss which can affect people’s ability to function. You may not realize it, but even the seemingly smallest action requires a lot of muscle strength.
Going down the stairs or getting up from a chair will be difficult if you don’t have such strength.
As you get older, you will realize that strength training is absolutely crucial – even more crucial than other exercise types.
If you still want to be able to enjoy quality life in your golden age, don’t forget about muscle building and maintaining it. You seriously don’t want to lose muscle mass when you are older.
Read Also: Crazy Bulk Review
Things to Know about Strength Training and Muscle Building
So, does building muscle burn fat? Not directly. But the more muscles you have, the lower your fat storage or percentage within the body. Moreover, there are other things to know about muscles and support exercises.
Strength training can strengthen the connective tissue and bones together with the bones
The training can also prevent lean body mass loss which typically happens from aging and weight loss
Muscle build will definitely change your body composition. Not only it will keep you healthy, but it will also help shape the body.
The training has an afterburn effect. It can burn extra calories even after 72 hours post-workout, which is especially happening when you have HIST (High-Intensity Strength Training).
Does muscle burn fat while resting? Yes, it’s possible. But again, only certain exercises can ‘trigger’ such a condition and result. That’s why you should also have the right workout.
Training and muscle gain can improve balance and coordination. It results in injury prevention.
Benefits of Building Muscles
Another perk of does building muscle burn fat is the fact that you can lose weight quite effectively. Not many people realize this, but building muscles does have its own perks.
- Better Blood Sugar Management
Today’s modern life has been plagued by diabetes and obesity, thanks to the sedentary lifestyle and high-carb diets. It’s related to blood sugar issues, which can be addressed by building muscles.
Instead of completely eliminating carbs, you can still consume carbs at a moderate level and build muscles along the way to have a ‘storage’ for storing the carbs.
You see, the skeletal muscle and liver are your body’s storage system. They store glucose as glycogen.
When you are running out of storage, your blood sugar will increase and you will end up storing fats because the pancreas produces insulin. However, when you have more muscles, you create more storage space for glucose.
- Improved Stamina and Strength
It’s quite normal to see that you may not gain much muscle tissue when you do weight-training exercises, although you gain strength.
However, during this adaptation stage, your muscular and nervous systems are becoming better at making use of the already existing muscle mass even though you don’t have (or show) much.
You are basically growing stronger without showing off significant muscle increase. When you push strength limits with your (existing) muscles, you will start to build more muscles.
If you do this consistently (combining a high-protein diet and weight training), you will see a significant improvement in your body, especially its shape. Not to mention that you will notice that you are stronger from time to time.
You should notice that not only you recover faster, but you can handle more difficult and more challenging workouts.
Your strength may improve but the real perk is the effect on your everyday life. Your health improves. You are fitter. You don’t get tired easily. Even when you are aging, you won’t struggle with daily activities.
Carrying your grandkids won’t be a problem anymore. Your muscles, tendons, and ligaments get more strength. Your nervous system is getting better. Your body can produce energy more effectively and efficiently.
- Muscles Build Bones
When there is physical resistance or tension, it will stimulate bone density and muscle mass growth. When the body experiences the stimulus, it will use its own amino acids to repair and build muscle.
It will also use magnesium, calcium, vitamin K, protein, and vitamin D to build the bones. Vitamins K, D, magnesium, and calcium are crucial for bone health, but your body won’t build one until you have a reason to do so.
That’s why you need to make your bones stress out with resistance training.
- Muscles Support the Joints
Aside from the easy fat loss from the question does building muscle burn fat, it can also tackle joint pain. Isn’t it ironic, though, that these people suffer from the pain simply because they don’t do any strength training?
You should be able to lift weights without hurting your joint or making it worse. In the end, weight training should be able to lessen your joint pain.
That’s why you need to work together with a professional trainer to find possible movements that are able to help you improve your strength without making the pain get worse.
These professionals should be able to work on many areas of the body, finding the best exercise, movements, or poses for you. It’s pretty interesting that when your lean body mass increases, it also tackles some types of arthritis issues.
Muscle Gain Success
Building muscle isn’t easy. It takes time and also hard work. If you are wondering does building muscle burns fat, you should be able to see the signs – which can be pretty obvious if you have been careful with your ‘muscle build’ process and activity.
When you build muscle, you need to take nutrients (from the food you consume) and then transform them to lean tissue.
Strength training and proper recovery would be the way to help your body transform those nutrients. The entire process is complicated, so you can’t expect fast results.
In general, a person can achieve around 25 pounds (of muscle) within a year. However, it won’t be applicable for a long-term period. In general, the real gain is around 5 pounds in 6 months.
Let’s not forget that different people have a different condition that determines how quickly and how much muscle they can build.
Aside from the (starting) body composition, you should also remember about hormones, training, diet, and also genetics.
Basically, building muscle is similar to losing weight. It takes patience, consistency, and time.
So, if you want to check your progress, you should be aware of these signs of gaining muscle and losing fat.
- You gain weight. Don’t be afraid when you see your scale being up. Keep in mind that muscles are more compact and heavier than fat. Your scale may increase, but you can still fit into your old clothes. In fact, wearing most clothes will be somewhat comfortable and nice because you won’t have those fat bulges anymore.
- Your clothes fit – in a different sense. It’s a good sign, actually. Your clothes fit; not snug. Those who want to lose weight while building muscles often say that they can fit into their old clothes again. And they can confidently wear any clothes they want because those clothes just feel right for them.
- You become stronger. Muscle building and improved strength are deeply related. If you are experiencing progress, then it’s only logical if you start becoming stronger.
Muscle Gain vs Fat Loss
Getting a deeper understanding of the question does building muscle burn fat, requires you to understand how the body works.
You see, a lot of people believe that you can gain muscle and lose fat altogether. It’s possible, but ONLY under these situations:
- You have tons of fat deposits to lose
- You are basically a beginner
- You can push yourself over the boundaries
In reality, expecting to get both results is super difficult because the two processes are basically against each other.
If you are adamant in doing both, not only you will deal with the mediocre result (which is way under your expectation), but you may also experience very slow progress.
To build muscle, you need to have a caloric surplus. It means that you need to consume more calories. It means that if you want to build muscle, you will end up with a fat mass increase.
On the other hand, when you want to lose weight, you need to have a caloric deficit. It means that when you lose weight, you may also lose muscles – at some point.
This is why you need to choose one and focus on it. For your mental and physical well-being, you need to decide whether you want to lose fat first or build muscle first. Trying to optimize both can be difficult and it can be stressful on your part.
Lose Fat or Build Muscle: Which One Is First?
Although many people say that building muscle should come first, it’s not always the best option for your part. It’s true that improved muscle mass may boost your metabolism, leading to effective fat loss.
However, it should be based on your condition. If you have a high percentage of body fat, then it’s only logical to lose fat first. In fact, it would be the healthier option in the long run.
But if you have the so-called skinny fat, then building muscle first would be the best option. So, do you gain muscle before losing fat? It depends on your condition and fat level.
What is skinny fat, anyway? It’s a condition when someone who appears thin turns out to carry a high percentage of body fat and a very low muscle level.
Basically, this person doesn’t have even the normal level of lean body mass. Be aware of this condition.
Just because you seemingly have a normal body weight and BMI, it doesn’t mean that you can’t carry any health issues.
Skinny fat can still pose metabolic abnormalities and issues as those suffering from overweight issues.
In the end, you need to do various exercises to maintain the greatest benefits. You need to do cardio as well as strength exercises.
Now that you already know the fact about does building muscle burn fat, you can decide what to do next.