If you’ve spent any time in gym or maybe just within feet of a rack of dumbbells, you’ve probably heard it. The classic adage peddled by amateur experts: muscle weighs more than fat. Individuals new to working out panic about the possibilities of “bulking up” rather than cutting the fat. This is only made worse by a focus in fitness media on weight loss, transformations, and the almighty scale. But what about the science behind this conventional wisdom. Isn’t a pound a pound? Here are five facts in the muscle vs. fat debate.
Muscle is Dense
Muscle is thick. Just think about the way your bicep feels when you pick something up. The fibers in our muscles can contract and become firm, thankfully allowing us to move things around. These fibers are tightly interwoven to be able to exert a maximum amount of energy. Check out how tightly muscles are grouped in this diagram.
Fat Has Low Volume
On the other hand, fat, contrary to what you might guess, is not very dense. Instead, fatty tissue tends to spread out across the body. This explains while muscles are grouped together tightly while fatty tissue is not directly connected to our bone structure. This thin spread also explains the “jiggle” that is possible when fatty tissue collects in certain locations on the body.
“The Look” of Muscle vs. Fat
Mostly due to differences in density, muscle and fat look extremely different. A person may weigh considerably more than another but, because more of their weight is concentrated in muscular tissue, they appear slimmer. Interestingly, people who have added muscle mass report that their clothes fit better.
Muscle and Fat Handle Calories Differently
Added “muscle weight” does not just make a difference in physical appearance. Indeed, individuals who have more muscular tissue than fatty tissue burn calories at a higher rate, even while resting. This is because lean muscle tissue uses more energy and can lead to a higher metabolic rate.
Don’t be Afraid!
In truth, muscle and fat weigh the same. However, a person with more muscle mass could weigh more than someone with more fatty tissue. It is important to remember that numbers on a scale do not provide an overall picture of “health.” Many other factors are more accurate in determining fitness. People who are just beginning to explore workout options often fret about the possibility of gaining weight, even after starting a workout regimen. Adding muscle mass is nearly always beneficial to one’s health, even if it leads to an increase in overall weight.
Muscle is Not to Blame!
While it may be denser and take up space differently on the body, muscle does not weigh more than fat. For both those new to the fitness world and those already familiar with workouts and nutrition, it is important to remember that healthy living, not just a lower weight number, should be the goal. Training; whether at home or in the gym, is about building a healthier and, yes, more muscular you. If you are interested in expert advice about building muscle and feeling fit, the professionals at Custom Kinetics are prepared to guide you on your fitness journey.