Here’s What Happens to Your Body When You Start to Build Muscle

Weight lifting man at the gym.

There are a lot of benefits of building a lean, muscular body. Not only will you look and feel great, but there’s also a lot that goes on inside your body that suggests building muscle may be a preventative measure you can take to prevent illness, reduce risk of injury, and more.

Aside from building a good-looking physique, here are three things that happen to your body when you start to build muscle:

Your metabolism improves.

There has been a lot of research on the metabolism changes your body undergoes when it comes to exercising, but muscle gain has a particularly good effect on the improvement of your insulin response.

What this means is that when your body starts to gain muscle, it requires more energy for fuel. This energy comes from glucose and fatty acids stored in your body. As you build more muscle, your “resting” caloric expenditure actually increases. So, a more muscular body will burn more calories at rest than a person with a higher body-fat percentage (all else equal).

This quality of muscle actually improves insulin sensitivity, which will help prevent obesity and even type-2 diabetes.

Your testosterone levels go up.

This one’s particularly important for men, as exercise can help regulate and even increase testosterone levels within the body. Testosterone is a hormone that regulates sex drive, bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass and strength, and more. It’s an extremely important hormone for men, and as they age, their bodies produce less and less. Exercise can play an important role in regulating testosterone.

And for women, you shouldn’t fear that strength training will boost testosterone levels to an unhealthy level. Your body is very good at regulating testosterone, as it’s produced far less in females than males. In fact, regular strength training will do more good than bad for females, as you’ll get the same metabolism benefits as males, in addition to all the other benefits muscle building has.

You’ll gain a bit of weight (in a good way).

You may be familiar with the old saying “a pound of muscle weighs more than a pound of fat”. While this saying isn’t technically true, muscle is actually far more dense than fat. Meaning, a pound of fat will take up more space than a pound of muscle.

So, if you are gaining muscle mass over a long period of time, you may look much leaner and fit, but you might actually weigh the same as (or even more than) you did before.

This is off-putting for some, as the goal of most people is to lose weight, however the underlying goal is usually to lose weight to look better and leaner. So if you’re building muscle and getting leaner, but notice that you still weigh the same, don’t worry, it’s natural and it’s healthy.

About Ben Ilaria

Ben is a personal trainer and recent graduate of Fordham University. He loves everything health and fitness. You can check out Ben’s fitness and lifestyle blog, Mind Matter Fitness, where he offers advice, motivation, and workout plans for free.

https://mindmatterfitness.com/