How Height Affects Your Metabolism


People don’t talk enough about height and how it relates to body composition, calories burned, muscle gains, etc.

How Height Affects Your Metabolism

I’m a tall guy at just a hair over 6’3″, but I’m envious of shorter people at times.

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Height and Plays a Large Role in Lean Mass

Your lean mass is basically everything on your body that isn’t body fat.

This is different than muscle mass. Your lean mass includes bones, organs, water, muscles.

A taller person will naturally have bigger organs, bigger bones, more water, than a shorter person.

So they (will typically) have a higher lean body mass than a shorter person even without much muscular development.

Tall people have a huge advantage in lean mass…which means they will typically burn more calories than their shorter friends.

But what if someone is shorter but more muscular?

Your Organs Burn More Calories Than Your Muscles

I’m 6’3″ and 190… I have a good friend who is 5’10 and 190. We are roughly the same body fat percentage.

He has more muscle, so you would think that he would have a higher RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate).

That assumption would be wrong.

I will burn substantially more calories than him. Roughly 60% of RMR is from organs and 40% from muscle.

Since I am tall, he will have to reach a higher lean body mass than me to reach the same RMR.

The Biggest Mistake I See Muscular People Make

I was going to do this post just on this idea alone.

It is probably the biggest “takeaway”. Guys in particular who get big believe they need many more calories due to their increase in muscle mass.

Adding muscle contributes very little to calories burned (even less than I used to believe).

Think along the lines of 6 calories per pound of muscle each day.

Adding 20-30 pounds of lean muscle is just an extra 120-180 calories burned per day.

Adding Muscle Makes a Bigger Impact on a Shorter Person

As a somewhat tall guy, I can add 5 pounds of muscle and it won’t be as noticeable as someone 6 inches shorter doing the same thing.

The advantage of being shorter is that you don’t have to spend as much time adding muscle to achieve a certain look compared to someone who is taller.

Another advantage is the increased leverage a shorter person has when it comes to lifting.

I used to work out with a guy who was 8 inches shorter than me back in high school.

It was frustrating how much stronger he was in many of the lifts, especially the bench press.

It took me a couple of years to just bench 225 pounds and I think he was doing it within a few weeks of training.

Stupid long arms!

Eating With a Taller Person or Lifting With A Shorter Person

As a relatively tall person, I have much more wiggle room when it comes to diet than most people.

More often than not, I simply have a higher RMR than a person who is shorter than me.

I still can’t pig out and expect to be lean, but I will have a slightly easier time than a shorter person (everything else being equal).

When it comes to the gym it is a different deal.

Guys who are in the 5’6″ – 5’10” range with the same amount of lifting experience often are stronger than me in certain lifts (mainly pressing movements like bench or military press).

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For 15 years I've helped fashion models get lean for photoshoots. Use my plan to Lose 5-10 pounds of PURE body fat in 14 days.

This isn’t always the case, but just a trend I notice.


-Rusty Moore

As a former fitness coach to fashion models, I can teach you how to increase muscle definition without adding size.

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