Which Weighs More- A Pound Of Fat Or A Pound Of Muscle?
The joke is on you if you're asking this question. A pound is a pound regardless of what’s being weighed. The often talked about issue with fat vs. muscle is their difference in density. As you can see in the picture below, when looking at equal amounts of fat and muscle, fat takes up way more space than muscle.
It is important to stress that in the case of fat vs. muscle there can be no clear winner; both are necessary for a healthy body. It’s the balance of both that really counts.
𝗙𝗮𝘁 𝘃𝘀. 𝗠𝘂𝘀𝗰𝗹𝗲: 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗼𝗱𝘆 𝗜𝗺𝗮𝗴𝗲
Take a look at any weight loss picture— the BEFORE typically shows a man or woman (probably in their 40’s) with a large belly and looking overweight. The AFTER shows a sleeker version of the same person; the belly is gone and their weight substantially less.
Despite the image of health, there is no guarantee that the slimmer version is any healthier.
This point is perfectly illustrated when you consider the image of two people who both weigh approximately 200 pounds but one has 10% body fat, the other has 25%.
Muscle takes up less space and hugs our body much more comfortably than fat, but a pound of muscle and a pound of fat still weigh the same.
𝗙𝗮𝘁 𝘃𝘀. 𝗠𝘂𝘀𝗰𝗹𝗲 – 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗹 𝗗𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲
A pound of fat weighs one pound. A pound of muscle weighs one pound! The difference is muscle is MORE DENSE than fat.
Denser materials take up less space. This means a specific amount of muscle will occupy less physical space than the same quantity of fat.
It is this fact that makes the difference in the photos. The less body fat you have the more definition you will have around your muscles; creating a more toned looking physique.
Despite what you may have heard, it is not possible to convert fat to muscle or muscle to fat.
If you do not exercise, your muscles will not grow and, because they are not being used, they will actually decrease in size. This will slow your metabolism and increase your fat stores.
In contrast, exercise burns calories, and if you do not consume enough calories, the excess fat in your body is turned to energy to fuel your muscles thus depleting your fat stores.
The result is just as in the before & after image— fat has been burned and muscle built, but you should weigh the same; when muscle wins the battle of fat vs. muscle, you look slimmer and fitter.
The only way that muscle can weigh more than fat is if you have a piece of muscle that takes up the same volume of space as a piece of fat. While this may be your eventual goal, it does not mean that muscle weighs more than fat. It just means you have a higher muscle content than you previously did and a lower fat content, which is healthy.
𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗦𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗲𝘀 𝗔𝗿𝗲 𝗕𝗔𝗗
Most people monitor their weight loss progress through weekly (or even more regular) use of the scales. However, this can be misleading.
You can lose weight by reducing your food intake but not completing any exercise. The reason you’re losing weight seems simple on the surface— you’re eating fewer calories. And while diet without exercise works, it’s not nearly as effective as building muscle mass while eating healthy. Why? Because when you increase your muscle mass, the more calories your body burns AND REQUIRES. Simply put, if you’re dieting without exercise and strength building, sure, you’ll lose weight. But you’re also losing muscle, and that’s not beneficial in the long run.
To really monitor your progress with weight loss or muscle building you need to monitor your diet. However, you also need to take accurate measurements of your waist, thighs and even arm muscles.
If you're doing things correctly, you should lose 5-10 lbs of fat per month and gain 2-3 lbs of muscle per month. Of course, it depends on your specific situation, but that would be a reasonable goal for someone working hard.
Scales simply show the weight of your body; this can fluctuate based on a variety of different criteria:
💪 Muscle generally accounts for 25-45%
🧀 Fat typically ranges between 10-35%
💧 Water weight is 50-70%
🦴 Bones are about 10-15%
As you can see, the range is considerable for fat, muscle, and water. The exact distribution will depend upon your fitness level, gender & ethnic origin. The fitter you are, the higher your percentage of muscle and the lower your fat level.
It doesn’t matter if you are looking to lose weight or build muscle, you should be aware that muscle is extremely beneficial to your body and your overall health:
💪 Muscle boosts your metabolism. Because it is denser than fat it requires more calories even when resting. The more muscle you have the more calories you will burn. Providing you stick to a sensible diet it will be difficult for you to gain fat.
💪 Improves Bone Mass. Muscle works to strengthen the bones it surrounds and supports; making them denser and reducing your risk of injury. This is an obvious benefit of muscle. If you complete compound exercises you will improve the strength of several muscles at the same time. The added benefit of this is an improvement in your core strength and balance.
💪 Winning the war of fat vs. muscle means you will have better body definition. This will inspire confidence in yourself in a wide variety of everyday situations. You may surprise yourself at what you can achieve.
💪 Strengthening Muscles. The stronger your muscles and the more calories they require the harder your body will need to work to maintain its resting level. This will result in improvements to your circulation, digestive system and the health of all your organs; reducing the risk of illness.
𝗙𝗮𝘁 𝘃𝘀. 𝗠𝘂𝘀𝗰𝗹𝗲 𝗔𝗱𝗱𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀
Higher levels of fat have been shown to increase the likelihood of contracting type 2 diabetes, coronary issues, respiratory disorders and even some types of cancer.
Regardless of the fact that you look better when your body fat is lower, research shows you are likely to live longer and be healthier. Without a doubt, this is the greatest advantage of allowing muscle to win the battle vs fat.
The right diet and even basic physical exercise can reduce your body fat. Add in a good daily workout routine, such as a variable 20 min body weight workout, and you won’t recognize yourself within just one month.
This is just the tip of the iceberg! With every step of your journey, beating down your fat stores and improving muscle mass ensures that you can give yourself and your family the time and energy you all deserve!
I am here to help and encourage you!
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