Perhaps at some point in your life, you were working your butt off in the gym in an attempt to lose weight. During this time, you hopped on the scale weekly and noticed some days were better than others. Sometimes the numbers on the scale decreased, but to your dismay, this wasn’t always the case. Some weigh-ins showed that the scale read higher than your starting weight and other days the scale wouldn’t budge.
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In the fitness world, the statement, “muscle weighs more than fat” is habitually tossed back and forth. In the context of fitness and recording body weight numbers on scales, the statement “muscle weighs more than fat” does not hold much weight.
The truth is that when placed on a scale, one pound of fat is going to weigh the same as one pound of muscle – just like one pound of bricks is going to weigh the same as one pound of feathers. Where the confusion comes in is that muscle and fat differ in density (muscle is about 18% more dense than fat) and one pound of muscle occupies less space (volume) than one pound of fat.
So yes, muscle seems to weigh more because there is a difference in the volume between the two. When a cubic inch of muscle and a cubic inch of fat are measured, the cubic inch of muscle will weigh more. As you add compact muscle mass to the body, body weight may increase. However, pound for pound, muscle and fat weigh the same, and when tracking the progress of a fitness program, it is crucial to look at all markers of improvement, and not just the numbers on the scale.
Five pounds of muscle compared to five pounds of fat
By looking at the photo below, you can see that five pounds of muscle (pictured on right) is going to take up less space in the body and be a lot less “lumpy” under your skin and in between your organs than the same weight in fat (shown on left). In fact, the difference can be quite dramatic. We are sure you would much rather have five pounds of smooth, lean, dense muscle tissue inside of your body than five pounds of amorphous, bulky, gelatinous fat! Besides being more compact in the body, there are also many health advantages to increased muscle mass.
Benefits of having more lean muscle massCreate more muscular physiqueReduce your risk of injuryIncrease strength, stability, and powerImprove balance and mobilityImprove the way you feel about yourselfIncrease energy and vitalityImprove athletic performanceIncrease your metabolic efficiencyImprove insulin sensitivity and improve blood glucose control
Now Let’s focus on the last significant benefit listed: “Increase your metabolic efficiency”
Increase your metabolic efficiency
Each pound of fat that your body stores represents 3,500 calories of unused energy. To lose one pound, you have to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories by either consuming 3,500 fewer calories over a period of time than your body needs or by burning 3,500 calories worth of exercise. Which fat is really burned through the breath (86%), and the rest is excreted through perspiration and pee time (14%).
By increasing your lean muscle mass through resistance and body weight training, you will help your body burn more calories. One pound of muscle will burn slightly more calories at rest than one pound of fat tissue at rest. To be exact your body burns 6 calories per hour per pound of muscle and 2 calories per hour per pound of fat. On average, 1lb of muscle will burn (within 24 hours) an extra 96 extra calories in comparison to fat tissue. Think about when you add up all the lean muscle mass you gain through weight-resistance training on Testosterone treatment?
Step away from the body weight scale !
While participating in a “weight loss” program, solely depending on a standard body weight scale to track your progress can cause frustration and may even set you up for failure. Although you have been busting your butt in the gym and eating healthy foods, the scale may still display your weight as being the same as when you started, even after a few weeks of exercising. This can create extreme disappointment and ultimately cause you to quit your program. However, we know now that is not the case.
If you are experiencing this type of despair, we suggest that you step far away from the scale and shake off the dissatisfaction you are feeling and think for a minute. Assess all that you have been doing and consider all of the other methods you have used and should be using to track your weight loss journey and progress. Have you used other markers to track your progress?
The scale does not represent accuracy & what other solutions may I have?
It is important to remind yourself that the scale only shows you a snippet of what is happening. It is only expressing your total body weight – which includes fat, muscle, bones, organs, skin, etc. and not the composition of that weight within your body.
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Your total body weight represented on the scale may be the same as when you started your weight loss program, BUT if you are building muscle mass and losing fat tissue, your body composition will be much different. DON’T FORGET THAT, muscle and fat differ in density. One pound of muscle is going to occupy less space within the body than one pound of fat.
So, when you have more muscle and less fat, you become firmer and will lose inches from places such as your waist, hips, buttocks, thighs, etc. You need to set your mind on other indicators of health and wellness. Start by buying yourself body fat caliper and a body measuring tape, typically these two tools will give you far better readings and progress on your results than a weight scale will ever do. You can buy both on Ebay or Amazon for under $20!
If you need any additional assistance or have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us, your results are of the utmost important to us. Talk to one of your coordinators today, and we wish you luck on your weight loss journey!