Stimulating muscle vs. accumulating muscle

(KetoCowboy) #1

In a post on another thread, @infromsea remarked that he has been thinking lately about being muscular vs. being lean for health & longevity.

I’m wondering about the same thing. I know that the health benefits of stimulating our muscles are tremendous, but I also know that there are metabolic costs associated with carrying a lot of muscle around. (Based on one presentation from Ted Naiman, my understanding is that our non-bulky muscle tissue is super-efficient and has a very low metabolic cost, but the muscles we pump up with weight training are very expensive for our bodies to maintain–which is why we lose them quickly if we don’t do the work necessary to maintain them).

I’ve seen plenty of data to suggest that one of the healthiest things I can do as a man over 40 is to add muscle, so I’m doing that. But I’m beginning to think that I should add that muscle as SLOWLY as possible–that I don’t want it to accumulate because I’m not interested in paying the steep metabolic cost that comes with carrying a lot of muscle around.

I know everyone says that if you have more muscle mass, you get to eat more, but I don’t want to eat more. I like eating one meal a day to satiety; it saves time and keeps food/eating appropriately compartmentalized for my life.

So can you folks point me to any relevant research on the benefits of keeping our muscles healthy without necessarily trying to bulk them up over time?

(Ross) #2

Personally, I lift for strength and power, not size.

If you keep your tension level high and your sets and reps low (3 to 5 of each) you will get strong and cut up but not bIg puffy body builder muscles.

Body builders tend to do high reps and lots of sets at low tension (bar muscles) and puff muscles up with fluid.


(Mark Rhodes) #3

Unless you are exceptionally disposed to gaining muscle I doubt it will become an issue. You would likely know this already. I have worked out most of my life and have found it difficult to add anything near the bulk I would want and when I make a 3 pound LBM increase over 9 months I am ecstatic.


I wonder about this also. As for me, I am interested in obtaining/maintaining a healthy amount of lean mass so that I can enjoy my life. Regarding having to eat more, I’ve read numerous times that people who eat less calories live longer, healthier lives. I’ll have to search for some sciencey stuff to back that up. I wonder if there is a lean-to-fat mass ratio, individual to each person, where maintaining a healthy ratio is practically effortless as far as activity and which requires no thought about calories or macros.

(Adam Kirby) #5

Agreed, to me this is the distinction, working out to get strong vs aesthetically jacked. There’s no way you’ll put on “useless” muscle by doing the former.