Many people turn to muscle building to improve their physique. Muscle gain, when combined with fat loss, can help you achieve a ‘toned’ look. Putting on more lean mass (muscle) may also improve your strength, mobility, and ability to perform activities of daily living. But did you know that gaining muscle can also speed up your metabolism? So, if you’re looking to lose weight or maintain a recent weight loss, building muscle is key. Let’s break down how gaining muscle may help you burn calories.


You burn more calories at rest

The more muscle you have, the more energy your body needs to fuel that muscle. This means you’ll burn more calories- even when resting! This is good news for anyone that’s trying to shed a couple pounds. Burning more calories at rest will make it easier to maintain weight loss, too. You’ll probably notice the affect on your metabolism and may crave more calories, so you’ll have to adjust your food intake accordingly.

This is part of the reason why it’s recommended to include weight training while trying to lose weight. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat. So, if you have less fat and more muscle on your body, it’ll be easier to lose weight and keep it off because you’ll burn more calories. 

Also when you lose weight is doesn’t just come from your fat stores. You’ll lose muscle mass, too. Lifting weights will help you maintain more lean mass.


Your workouts will be more intense

Building muscle means you’ll be stronger and able to have more intense workouts.

More intense workouts means more calorie burning. Think: being able to run faster, lift more weight and have increased endurance during exercise classes. This is all good for keeping your metabolism high.


Higher calorie burn after a strength-training session

It’s been shown that your metabolism stays elevated for longer after a weight training session versus after cardio training. This means your body is consuming more fuel and burning more calories after your exercise session.

Not only will building muscle help you burn more calories at rest, but the gym sessions that help get you there will also help you burn calories- during and after. Cardio training is important to keep your heart healthy and to help you burn calories. Make sure you include a mix of weight training and cardio training if you’re trying to lose weight.


Muscle building workouts

Strength training should be done a minimum of twice a week up to five days per week. Starting out, you’ll want to perform 5-8 exercises each session, 2-3 sets and between 8-12 repetitions per set. You want the last few reps to be difficult but still be left feeling like you could’ve done one or two more. When you can do 12 repetitions with ease, it’s time to increase the weight and do a few less repetitions. Check out this post for more weight training workout ideas. 

If you needed motivation to add more weight training to your workout routine, here it is! Not only will strength training sessions elevate your metabolism for hours after your workout finishes, gaining muscle may help you burn calories, even at rest! Muscle gain is so important when trying to lose weight. 

The personal trainers at Fit Focus are well educated in how to program workouts for weight loss. Schedule a session with one today and kick your new year off to a great start.

Sydney Vachon, NASM CPT

Personal trainer at Fit Focus Laconia