A New Column – With Jolene de Vries
Question: My trainer recently told me the more muscle I have, the more calories I’ll burn throughout the day. True or false?
Answer: This is true, but there’s a caveat here. Resting muscle tissue burns about 6 kcals/lb./day at rest, so yes, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. However, if the muscle is continually at rest, you can see that you aren’t going to burn THAT many more calories. For example, if you added 10 lbs. of muscle to your frame (which is admittedly quite difficult), your resting metabolic rate would only increase by about 60 calories per day. However, if you commit to moving that newfound muscle consistently via exercise, then you can increase its calorie-burning potential exponentially. This is obviously true of the muscle mass you already have as well. So it’s not just accruing new muscle that’s important, it’s making that new muscle work.
And just for comparison, note that fat tissue burns about 2 kcals/lb./day, the brain and liver burn close to100 kcals/lb./day, and the heart and kidneys burn close to 200 kcals/lb./day. It’s clear that organ tissue burns a ridiculous amount of calories, but keep in mind, it makes up a relatively small percentage of your total body mass. Though muscle tissue doesn’t burn as many calories per pound compared to organ tissue, it makes up about 40% of your total body mass.
Question: I love fast food, but I also realize the importance of improving my health and losing weight. Therefore, I have to ask…is it ok to eat fast foods while on a diet program?
Answer: Yes, but as always, there are a few important points to keep in mind. We all know that fast food isn’t necessarily the healthiest meal in town, but we also know that being realistic is an important component of any successful weight loss program. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to completely deprive yourself of fast food, especially if it’s appropriate for your specific situation. In other words, if you’re crunched for time, fast food may be the only reasonable option. That said, if an occasional trip turns into four or five weekly trips, your weight loss efforts and health goals will likely suffer as a result. The key is to educate yourself on what the healthier choices are and watch out for calorie-laden foods with added sugars, sodium and fat. Look for the Nutrition Facts pamphlets in your local restaurants and educate yourself on the menus. If you make the effort, you’ll be able to find a sensible meal no matter where you go. Remember, balance, variety and moderation are the words to live by when it comes to food. If you apply these principles regularly, you won’t have to sacrifice your health and wellness goals when eating out.
Another great option to substitute for fast food is ensuring you have items prepared and ready to go at home such as washed and cut veggies and fruit, cooked protein such as chicken breast or hard boiled eggs, and even things such as cooked potatoes or sweet potatoes. Having food prepared ahead of time for those days when a schedule is hectic makes it easier to reach for a healthy choice.
About the author: Jolene de Vries is the Club Owner at Anytime Fitness coming to Esterhazy, Saskatchewan in summer of 2016. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org