Posted by: Nic | 2008/12/02

Muscle building and weight loss

Hi Doc

I read somewhere that you need to build muscle to speed up your metabolism. Do you need to use that spesific muscle to burn fat? Like for instance, will it be a waste to build muscle in the upper body if you mainly do running or cycling for weight loss? I mean what' s the use of building muscle in the upper body to increase metabolism if you' ll never really use them to burn energy?


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Our expert says:
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Hi Nic

It's true that increased muscle mass means increased metabolic rate. That's why weight training helps people with weight loss aspirations. It's not that they burn fat, it's just that it's easier to keep weight off once you have some lean muscle mass. ANd this applies to the whole body, not a specific muscle, in answer to your first question.

And so if your goal is weight loss, then running and cycling are better, because while you do them, you incrase the body's metabolic rate by many, many times its resting amount. That's what you need to burn fat. If you are after weight maintenance, then increasing your muscle mass by toning is effective.

So my advice is that you should probably focus on cycling and running, for now, since it seems that the weight loss is the goal. Later on, look at muscle building type training, though even here, your goal is unlikely to be muscle building, but toning.

Good luck

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