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You Asked: Muscles, Muscles, Muscles

You're asking and I'm answering.

Hey Fit!
I'd LOVE if you'd do a post about muscle. How long/how much work it takes to build, how long before it atrophies, how many calories it ACTUALLY burns?
I'm really curious and eager for some plain English answers!
Love ya Fit!

– Wanting More on Muscles

So many questions about muscle and all of them great. First off, there are many factors at play when building muscle like diet (what you eat), metabolism (how quickly your body turns what you eat into energy) and age (around age 35 both men and women start to lose muscle mass and have to work harder to keep it and build it). A study performed on overweight men who were new to weight lifting might help explain how long it takes to build muscle. The men performed strength training 3 days a week, along with endurance exercise (aka cardio). After 14 weeks, the men averaged a weight loss of 16.3 pounds of fat and gained 9.5 pounds of muscle.

To build muscle you need to challenge it. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends doing strength training at least twice a week, but not on back to back days. You should do 8-10 exercises working the major muscle groups: legs, arms, back, abs, and glutes. You should perform 8-12 repetitions of each exercise using a weight that exhausts the muscle. If you can try for two sets of each exercise.

Want to hear the good news about atrophy? Well then, you are just going to have to


Muscle atrophy is usually associated with injury or disease. However, disuse atrophy happens when you don't work your muscle and is unfortunately, common in our sedentary lives. However, when you stop training it takes longer to lose muscular strength than to lose cardiovascular fitness. In a study involving athletes, after taking 14 days off from training, none of the athletes lost any muscular strength.

Lastly, a pound of muscle burns about 35 to 50 calories a day where a pound of fat only burns about two calories per day. Talk about a reason to start adding strength training to your exercise routine!


Join The Conversation
rumpel2 rumpel2 9 years
great info...gud to know i'm doin it right!
DoeADeer DoeADeer 9 years
Thanks for the information. I didn't realize that muscle burns that many more calories per day!
taratootie taratootie 9 years
Sooo, if I have a question to ask Fit, what the heck do I do? LOL... it might be obvious but sometimes I am oblivious!
ley ley 9 years
I try to lift as heavy as possible and do around 2 - 3 sets per excercise. trust me if you want to get more toned it definately helps but as they say - to get to where you want to be physically its got to start in the stomach, so lean protein plus good carbs and a good amount of fat is ideal for building muscle and getting that nice toned no flab look
tabloidprincess tabloidprincess 9 years
so many repetitions... Really? Can't you hurt yourself?
moonlite moonlite 9 years
I love weight lifting! It changed my body for the better and I continue to see improvements every day. I also love how more and more women are getting into it.
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
I always do strength training. I switch between doing these plans every few weeks to keep my muscles working - some weeks I'll do 4 x 5 reps of the HIGHEST weight I can manage. Then some weeks I'll do as many reps as I can on a fairly low weight, then move the weight down and try and beat that first number. It absolutely kills your muscles but it's good for breaking a plateau! Then other times I'll do 3 x 8 reps of a reasonable weight.
wren1 wren1 9 years
What a great question. I'm especially impressed with how many more calories a pound of muscle burns per day. Wow! How motivating!
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
Speaking of atrophy, I had surgery like 2 years ago and when they took my cast off (it was ankle surgery) one leg was SO much skinnier than the other. AND HAIRY hahahahahahaaha it was seriously SO gross looking. GOod thing it built back up pretty quickly. I've just started working out again and am doing cardio as often as possible and strength about 2 times a week! YEA
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 9 years
pandacn...that is totally UNtrue. You need rest. The reason your muscles get a work out is because they tear when you lift. If you lift when they are still torn, it could be hazardous. You could injure yourself. It's important to rest.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
This is great!!
pandacn pandacn 9 years
I've heard/read that it's good to strength train back to back, or at least when your muscles are still sore because it builds them up faster. Is that an urban legend or is there some truth to that?
hottpink hottpink 9 years
I love lifting makes me feel so strong. And yay, I am doing it 2 times a week! :) missbanana-I LOVE your avatar...too cute!!
haute77 haute77 9 years
I prefer weight training over cardio any day! But, you need to do both to see any results. :)
missbanana missbanana 9 years
i love this!!! thanks fit!!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I love lifting my weights! And my cardio too :)
marygrace marygrace 9 years
i've just started an intense strength training regimen after years of only doing cardio. i'm really hoping it will change my body shape - no matter how much cardio i do, i always have extra flab.
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