There is increased awareness that patients with lung diseases develop muscle dysfunction. Muscle dysfunction is a major contributor to a decreased quality of life in patients with chronic pulmonary diseases. Furthermore, muscle dysfunction exacerbates lung disease outcome, as a decrease in muscle mass and function are associated with increased morbidity, often long after critical illness or lung disease has been resolved. As we are learning more about the role of metabolism in health and disease, we are appreciating more the direct role of metabolism in skeletal muscle homeostasis. Altered metabolism is associated with numerous skeletal muscle pathologies and, conversely, skeletal muscle diseases are associated with significant changes in metabolic pathways. In this review, we highlight the role of metabolism in the regulation of skeletal muscle homeostasis. Understanding the metabolic pathways that underlie skeletal muscle wasting is of significant clinical interest for critically ill patients as well as patients with chronic lung disease, in which proper skeletal muscle function is essential to disease outcome.