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Today’s Health Upgrade
How many calories does muscle burn?
How to make yourself 63X less likely to die early
The stress management playbook
How Many Calories Does Muscle Burn?
Ever wonder how many calories a pound of muscle burns? For nearly 30 years, the most common answer you’ll find is that a pound of muscle burns about 50 calories per day. While the Internet is great for many things, this isn’t one of them.
In reality, on average, a pound of muscle will burn about six calories per day (potentially up to 10 calories). What’s crazy is that the real metabolic value was first established in 1998 and then determined again in 2010. For comparison, a pound of fat burns about two calories per day.
This might cause you to question the value of building muscle, but that would be a mistake. In addition to the metabolic advantage, having more muscle is connected to expanding lifespan (see the next item), maintaining a healthy weight (especially after losing fat), processing food (including sugar) more efficiently, improving blood sugar, protecting against cardiovascular disease, reducing inflammation, improving brain health, and strengthening bone health. Plus, muscle-building workouts can elevate your calorie burn up to 48 hours after you stop your workout.
The lower calorie burn is just a good reminder that even if you’re adding muscle, the metabolic change isn’t enough to rationalize overeating too much, which is something that commonly happens that causes people to feel stuck despite their hard work.
How to Make Yourself 63X Less Likely to Die Early
Remember how we just said building muscle was worth it? Consider this the ultimate reason to strength train.
Research suggests building and retaining muscle might be the secret to a longer life.
In a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, scientists found that women over 65 with lower amounts of muscle mass (in their arms and legs) were 63 times more likely to die early than those with more muscle mass.
The result was significant in men but not as dramatic. Men with more muscle mass were 11 times less likely to die earlier than those who weren’t as muscular.
Part of the reason is the relationship between muscle and bone mineral density, as well as sarcopenia — both of which are significant contributors to an earlier death.
And remember, building muscle only requires two or three weight training sessions per week, sometimes as little as 15 to 20 minutes. And, even if you’re starting late, research suggests you can still build new muscle even as late as your 70s.
Who’s ready to train?
The Stress Management Playbook
Note from AB: Every time I get sick or injured, it seems to happen when I’m most stressed. It might not be a coincidence.
Exercise can help save your mind and body when feeling extra stressed. But how much you train could be the difference between feeling better and falling apart.
Research suggests that stress might double the time it takes for your body to recover from exercise.
Scientists from Yale and Texas investigated the impact of stress on your training. The researchers found that low-stress participants recovered much better 48 hours after exercise than those who were stressed. In fact, it took the high-stress group a full 96 hours to return to their baseline levels.
Your solution? If you’re going through hard times — whether it’s less sleep, work troubles, relationships, or something else — it might be best to reduce your training frequency to two to four workouts a week during high-stress periods or make sure you’re not training at maximum intensity. If you push too often or too hard when stressed, the lack of recovery could increase your likelihood of injury, breakdown, or getting sick.
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