Does Muscle Mass Impact Weight Loss?

Heck yes, it does!  Ok, but how?

Let’s start with the basics. To lose weight, your body must experience a calorie deficit. In other words, you must burn more calories than you take in each day. Every pound of muscle in your body can burn up to 10 calories in a day, even while you are at rest. Therefore, the more muscle you have, the more calories you can burn. Seems simple enough, right? Well, there are a few more things you’ll want to keep in mind for a healthy weight-loss journey. 

During weight loss, you want to lose the fat and keep the muscle that gives your body strength, shape, and definition. So how do you target the unwanted fat while protecting your muscle mass? 

  1. First, you must balance a low-calorie diet and your exercise routine. Individuals exercising while on a low-calorie diet must take great care to replenish their bodies appropriately. Exercise puts stress on the body, breaks down the muscles, and uses up enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. Therefore, we must replenish the system with proper nourishment through diet. If we do not, our bodies may go into “conservation” mode, causing the body to hold onto fat stores, water, and even break down muscle for energy because it is not getting enough nutrients and calories daily as needed. 
  2. To protect your muscles and replenish your body appropriately, branched-chain amino acids, or BCAA’s, are crucial. BCAA’s are three essential amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These are considered essential because your body cannot make them. Therefore, you must get them from your diet. BCAA supplements have been known to boost muscle growth, aid in weight loss, and reduce post-exercise fatigue. Moxifit offers some super yummy BCAA supplement flavors including fruit punch, lemonade, and green apple – just saying! 
  3. Drink water. Hydration is critical to burning fat. Replacing the water lost throughout the day keeps the muscles pliable, organs functioning correctly, and nervous system firing. Try adding an electrolyte supplement to your water to control your fluid balance, regulate blood pressure, and help your muscles (including your heart) contract. Moxifit has four delicious electrolyte flavors for you to try – talk to a clinic to stock up!
  4. Take your vitamins. A good, daily multivitamin ensures you will get enough of the nutrients that you may not physically be able to consume through food alone. 
  5. Eat enough protein. To stay in a fat-burning mode and ensure the body does not steal from your muscles for energy, you must consume high-quality, complete whole protein. USDA dietary guidelines currently suggest that adults get between 10-35% of their total daily calories from protein.
  6. Eat your veggies. Vegetables contain micro nutrients that keep you full and supply crucial vitamins and minerals to the body, especially antioxidants. Vitamins are the key to good health as they help to reduce inflammation and increase blood flow. 
  7. Rest. Getting at least 7 hours of quality sleep every night is important for your weight-loss goals. While you sleep, your cells repair muscles, reset hormones and decrease inflammation. When strength training, you require at least one day a week for your muscles and organs to recover appropriately. If you do not take a rest day, your tissues and vital organs remain under constant stress, increasing inflammation. When inflammation does not subside, muscles are being asked to work harder, the repair to cells is lessened, blood flow is restricted, and nutrients are used up more quickly and not adequately replaced.

Above and beyond contributing to more successful weight loss, maintaining muscle mass through strength training can slow muscle loss that naturally occurs with age, strengthens your connective tissues, increases bone density, reduces your risk of injury, and even aids with arthritis pain. So, remember that there is a lot more to the number on your scale than meets the eye. While a few extra pounds of muscle may keep you from your target weight, that muscle may also be doing a TON of good in your body!