So, can you increase your metabolism by gaining muscle? Yes, but not as much as you think. It is true that a pound of muscle burns more calories at rest than a pound of fat, but the claims that a pound of muscle burns 30-50 calories per day are highly exaggerated. The actual number of calories burned is considerably less than 30. Muscle tissue burns about 7-10 calories per pound per day, compared to the 2-3 calories burned by a pound of fat per day. Some experts suggest that the metabolic effect is even smaller. For example, Claude Bouchard, who is an obesity researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, says that a pound of muscle burns about six calories per day at rest and a pound of fat burns about two calories. This means that if you replace a pound of fat with a pound of muscle tissue, you will increase your metabolism by only 4 calories per day.
But, why do you see so many people claiming that muscle burns a lot more calories than that? It’s simply a misunderstanding. For example, according to one study untrained men who lift weights can burn 30-35 extra calories for each pound of muscle gained. However, this increase in metabolism is mainly attributed to the training program and not to the calories burned by muscle mass at rest.