Does Having More Muscle Really Increase Your Metabolism?

Recently we received the following question from a reader: “I’ve always thought that adding muscle speeds up your metabolism. But then I read this isn’t correct. So what’s the truth: Does increasing your muscle mass really increase your metabolism?” -Phil, Vancouver

For as long as I can remember, a lot of people have believed that for every 1 pound of muscle you gain, your body burns an additional 50 calories. On paper, this sounds awesome. But unfortunately, it’s not true.

Does Increasing Muscle Mass Increase Metabolism?

The answer is “yes, but not by a whole lot.”

Research shows that every pound of hard-earned muscle burns about an additional 4-7 calories per day. Translation: if you wanted to burn 100 calories extra per day, then you need to add a solid 10-20 pounds of muscle to your body — and that’s a lot of muscle.

But Here’s The Good News

The ever-wise Dean Somerset wrote a great post on why this seemingly depressing news can be a bit deceiving. Let’s start with basics: even if you were able to add 10 to 20 pounds of muscle (and that would take you years, not months, to do), that extra 100 calories burned per day still wouldn’t give you “the fat-burning capabilities of a furnace on high in Phoenix in July.” But gaining that muscle would still be very helpful for your body — and your fat loss goals.

More Muscle Moving Means More Calories Burned Faster

While the caloric burn of a single pound of muscle at rest is very much overstated, the work you’d need to do in order to build that muscle would still create positive changes for your body. And then, as Somerset goes on to explain, when the now-more-muscular you exercises, you’d be able to burn more calories faster.

So the big outline of this is that adding muscle mass on its own won’t help you to burn a lot of calories, but can help you to do more work, which is what will actually burn more calories,” Somerset writes.

The Takeaway

While adding more muscle doesn’t speed up your metabolism as much as you’d like, don’t overstress the impact on your baseline metabolism. Instead, realize that there are many good reasons to exercise and add more muscle (and drop fat) as a means to being healthier and looking better.

Read More:

How Much Fat Should I Eat?

Is Sugar Bad For You? (You’ll Be Surprised)

Understanding Proteins, Carbs and Fats


  1. Thanks for sharing such a great blog, Keep sharing such a great blog that would help each and everyone fit and healthy.

  2. Well said. Adding muscle may have just a small effect on your metabolism but anything you can do to push the dial in your favor helps! But as always, the most important part of fitness is your diet!

  3. So this has been a long asked question. I’ve always just shrugged it off as maybe true, but never took the time to challenge the thought of how muscle mass really speeds-up metabolism.

    And of course, building muscle and increasing strength has far reaching benefits than worrying about something that is not quite true: “increased metabolism” by building more muscle.

    It makes a lot of sense from this perspective and I appreciate you sharing it.

  4. I’ve heard repeatedly (even from qualified trainers) that adding muscle to our frame significantly ups metabolism and calorific burn. It’s nice to get a straightforward answer on this for once. Increasing our metabolism shouldn’t really be the goal anyway. The benefits of lifting regularly are multifold and I’ve started to feel much better in myself since I switched from all cardio to mixed routines. Toning up and getting stronger boosts your confidence in a totally different way and I can’t see myself ever going back to my old ways!

  5. Excellent Post man! Now a day every one is worried about how to increase muscle and metabolism. Very informative post. I ll try to follow all your points to improve my metabolism. Thanks for sharing your healthy views with us.

  6. Hi there born fitness, you guys are by far the best fitness community I’ve come across. You guys have help me stay fit and healthier than I’ve ever been , and in fact have made me stumble on a Ketosis product that has given me such good results all inspired by you, thanks and I hope you keep it up!!

    1. Thanks for reading our content, Presley. We appreciate you.

  7. Hey Adam, so I get that BMR isn’t affected much by having in increased muscle mass. But what is the impact on NEAT. Does gaining 5 pounds of muscle change the calorie burn contributing from NEAT (having that bigger body to move?)

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