First, let’s get the scary part out of the way…
*Takes deep breath*
This is the first ever MoMo[Muscle] blog post!
We are so excited to be bringing you more personal stories, tips, and information about health and wellness beyond all the amazing details you already get in Morgan’s Body Type Programs and on her app. Who knows, maybe we’ll even feature some of your stories once we get this going full steam!
But for today, babes, I think we definitely have to talk about something you hear Morgan mention all the time. It’s something a lot of you ask us about in emails and DMs. We’re breaking down why building muscle is 👏the 👏key to long-term, sustainable body recomposition.
First, let’s explain what “body recomposition” really means:
Body recomp is when you change the makeup of your body – building up your muscle mass and reducing your body fat mass and percentage. *Anyone* can do this – whether you consider yourself petite, thin, slim, curvy, fat, larger-bodied, or any other label you give yourself.
This is different than just weight loss or fat loss. This isn’t diet culture or its equally evil twin, weight cycling. In fact, some people who go through body recomp from a smaller starting point might even maintain or gain pounds (Morgan, herself, for example)!
Don’t stress, though. If you’re doing it right, the number on the scale is pretty much the *least* relevant measurement of your progress. Muscle is denser than fat – so the inches on your waist could easily be going down without much change in the number of lbs or kgs on your scale. Unlike with traditional dieting, where you’re probably losing muscle alongside fat (check out the BONUS at the end).
OKAY, I’m going to get a little nerdy with you about metabolism here for a second, so stick with me…
RMR is your metabolism’s performance at rest. It accounts for about 60-75% of all the calories you burn in a day. It’s your baseline. If you didn’t move all day, these calories would still get burned.
TEPA is your calorie burn from physical activity, and it ranges from 15-30% of your daily energy expenditure.
And finally, there is TEF, or the calories you burn digesting and overall processing the food you eat. It makes up about 10% of your energy usage.
Together, these three categories add up to your TDEE, or Total Daily Energy Expenditure.
✨ If you want to read more, you can check out this article
from some smarties at the University of New Mexico. ✨
PHEW – now that we have that technical stuff out of the way, let’s talk about why in the world I just explained that and why you should definitely care:
If you were putting 2 and 2 together while reading that last part and you connected your RMR to your muscle mass, you are SHARP, and I’m very here for it! The metabolic rate of muscle tissue is about 4.5-7 calories per lb/day, which is 10-15 calories per kg/day (I see you, international babes).If we do a little math (✨I won’t make you do it with me, but check out this study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism if you’re curious!✨), we see that other than our critical organs, muscle mass is responsible for basically all the remaining calories you burn when resting (aka your RMR – that 60-75% of your metabolism I talked about).
SO (drumroll…) building muscle mass will speed up your metabolism. Having a faster metabolism means you inherently need more calories to maintain your current body fat percentage, and that means you can still eat *plenty* of good food, even when you’re working to reduce your body fat!
Muscle also doesn’t disappear from your body overnight, so if you experience an injury or have to take a break from the gym for a while, your results won’t be ruined. Sure, you might become less toned and feel a little more squishy, but you won’t have to restrict your food to an extreme to prevent regaining body fat (unlike what diet culture tries to convince us of).
Since that was *a lot* of words, here’s the CliffsNotes version:
- Muscle burns a lot of calories.
- Having more muscle means having a faster metabolism.
- Burning more calories means you don’t have to restrict your food and be hangry all the time just to shed body fat.
- Building muscle is the most sustainable way to reduce body fat and to maintain those results.
AFAB bodies are more prone to osteoporosis as we age. Basically, this means your bones are more likely to become weak and brittle, which can increase your risk of injury. The strength training you do to build and maintain muscle can actually increase your bone density, which can reduce the risk of potential fractures – regardless of age – and can help prevent/delay osteoporosis. Dieting and restricting + intense cardio to lose weight can actually lead to muscle *loss*, which is why we say “lose weight” and not “lose fat” here.
Stay tuned next week for a look into what kinds of nutrition strategies you can use to build muscle and shed body fat!
Thanks for reading! We hope you’re as into this whole blogging thing as we are. 🥺