How Diets Deplete Muscle

How Diets Deplete Muscle

Faced with calorie restriction, your body’s most potent fat-saving move is to cannibalize its muscles for fuel. People who are either uninformed or oblivious to the distinction between “weight loss” and “fat loss” suffer dearly for not understanding one key fact: As the result of calorie restriction alone, up to one-third of the weight loss from dieting is not fat, but muscle. And that fact is the reason that dieters almost always regain every ounce of lost fat—and more.

Male or female, the body gets its beautiful, youthful shape from having a strong, well-sculpted muscle system. Having muscle slims down your fat layer because muscle is a very active, calorie-consuming tissue. Each pound of muscle burns 35 calories a day just to stay alive. If you merely maintain your muscle mass through correct exercise, 3 pounds of muscle burns as many calories as running 1 mile each day! By comparison, a pound of fat is nearly dead weight—burning only 2 calories a day.

With every calorie restriction diet attempt, your body is damaged by muscle loss. And for each pound of muscle you lose, your body burns 35 fewer calories each day. In other words, your metabolism slows. When you return to eating normally again, you gain weight rapidly because calories you formerly burned each day are now being stored as fat. When you gain back all the weight you lost, you are even worse off than before your diet. Assume you lost 10 pounds total, comprised of 7 pounds of fat and 3 pounds of muscle. What you gain back is 100 percent pure fat! Although you weigh the same as before your diet, your percentage of body fat is higher than ever. Truth is, after all that suffering and deprivation, your diet made your obesity worse.

That’s how the stage is set for a tragic lifetime of yo-yo calorie restriction dieting. After each diet, your body-fat percentage goes higher and higher, and your metabolism sinks lower and lower. Yet every year, 80 percent of the overweight people in America try calorie restriction dieting to lose it. Dieters fail because programmed survival mechanisms (check yesterday’s e-mail blast) intervene and defeat them. Do eliminate junk calories (you already know what I mean) and stop yourself from overeating. But don’t diet unless you simultaneously strength train with my exercise system to retain your muscle tissue!

Now I realize that most of you guys who regularly read my e-mails already understand the importance of the right kind of strength training. Unfortunately, your daughters and wives were never told how important it is to have strong muscles. Nobody ever said, “You know, Susie, you would look terrific and feel great if you put on 10 pounds of lithe muscle. Let’s have a little talk about sculpting your muscles.” True enough, times are changing, but most women still don’t care about gaining muscle until they find out that after age 35 they’re losing it at the rate of a half a pound or more a year.
Between the ages of 25 and 65, most men and women typically lose 30 to 40 percent of their muscle mass. As the shrinking muscle system consumes fewer and fewer calories, the average woman’s body-fat percentage typically increases from 25 to 43 percent while the average man's body-fat percentage typically increases from 18 to 38 percent. By increasing your body fat and shrinking your muscle system, dieting accelerates your journey from “young and strong” to “fat and old.”

Five Essential Numbers to Remember

These numbers will help you make smarter choices.

3,500 Calories stored in one pound of FAT.
35 Calories burned daily by one pound of active MUSCLE.
2 Calories burned daily by one pound of FAT.
1/2–1 lb. MUSCLE LOST each year after age 35 for men who don’t train.
1 1/2 lbs. FAT GAINED each year after age 35 for sedentary men.

Armed with these simple numbers, you can understand the inescapable mathematics of aging and obesity.

It is said that one can’t predict the future, but that’s not entirely true. For example, you know exactly how old you will be in ten years. And unless you intervene, you will have at least 15 more pounds of fat, which you will carry around with 5 to 10 fewer pounds of muscle.

BUT it doesn’t have to be like that. In my new book, The Dynamics of Living Strength—A Man’s Guide to Perfect Health, Awesome Strength, and Lifelong Virility, I teach you exactly what is necessary to reset the clock to live in perpetual youth. With my methods, you can have a higher percentage of muscle mass at 70 than you had at 20, and in addition to that everything else will work perfectly too.

Think about it.

Until next time.

John Peterson

Bronze Bow Publishing
2600 E. 26th St., Minneapolis, MN 55406
866.724.8200  fax 612.724.8995
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