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Today, we’re looking at how packing on muscle skyrockets your metabolic rate. I’m sure you’ve heard this quote, right?

‘For every pound of muscle you gain, you need to consume an extra 50-100 calories per day’

Therefore, if you gain 5lbs of muscle, you can eat 250-500kcal extra per day.

I think most of us would have heard something along the lines of this when looking at calorie needs as a result of building more muscle.

Well, a fresh off the press study by Mackenzie-Shalders et al (2019) gives us the answer we’ve all been waiting for. During a 14 week preseason, 18 Aussie rugby players tested their resting metabolic rate (RMR) before and after a gaining phase.

To cover the basics, your RMR is the amount of calories you need to maintain normal physiological function at complete rest. So, if packing on slabs of muscle is going to impact your calorie needs, it’s going to affect this.

During a 14 week preseason, the fella’s added 2kg of lean mass whilst maintaining very similar body fat levels. And guess what, the results are whopping;

  1. RMR Week 1: 2389kcal/day.
  2. RMR Week 14: 2373kcal/day.

EXACTLY THE SAME BIG CHIEF!

Which makes 100%, complete and utter sense as adding 1kg of muscle to your frame will increase your RMR by 13kcal per day (McClave and Snider, 2001).

Read that twice.

THIRTEEN CALORIES extra per day, OR in the case of these lads, it didn’t change at all (it actually reduced).

To add further sauce; the ‘preferred’ formula to predict calorie requirements for athletes (Cunningham) estimates that for every 1kg increase in lean mass, your calorie needs go up by 22kcal per day.
Whatever way you want to look at it, adding muscle really doesn’t ramp up your calorie needs.

Based on the ‘metabolic myth’, you would need to build an extra 19-38kg (42-84lbs) of muscle to warrant the need of 250-500kcal extra per day. If you’re a pro bodybuilder and are partaking in extra curricular activities, then this is most certainly possible.

But for the clean and informed athlete, the calorie difference from building muscle is negligible. Therefore, build muscle to become robust and look swole AF.

Not for the metabolismz.

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