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Muscle vs Fat

13 January 2013

Does Muscle Weigh more than Fat?

No. A pound is a pound, it doesn’t matter whether its fat, muscle, bone (or any other conceivable substance or object), 1 pound = 1 pound period. However, that said, muscle is much more dense structurally which means that 1lb of muscle takes up less space than 1lb of fat. If you look at the picture below, both scales contain 5lbs but which do you think makes for a more appealing (not to mention functional) body composition?

Fat vs Muscle

What does this mean?

By focusing on gaining strength and muscle (instead of losing weight) it is possible  for someone to dramatically improve their physique, slim down and yet not lose any weight (they may even gain some). Wait what?!

It may be counterintuitive but the sooner we can wrap our heads around this the notion better, because as a society we rely way too heavily on that number on the scale to measure how fit or attractive we are when the bottom line is, that number is completely useless.

Ok, not completely useless. A person’s weight can give us a rough idea of where they’re at physically but thats it. The scale does not take into account factors such as

  • lean muscle mass to fat ratio (body composition)
  • bone/skeletal structure and size
  • hydration levels

This means that using a scale to measure our fitness is as pointless as using a yardstick to measure something in millimetres. It is so easy to get caught up in the number on the scale, and allow it to dictate how we see ourselves when instead we should be focusing on”

  • how we feel (physically and mentally),
  • whether our clothes fit
  • and if we have enough strength and energy to do the activities we love.

Bottom Line

The number on the scale is incapable of accurately assessing your fitness or body composition, so don’t rely on it, and certainly don’t base your happiness off of it. For some people this concept comes naturally and they are lucky ones. Everyone else to should challenge themselves to step off the scale and put it out of sight, give it away or step back onto the scale and jump up and down until it breaks, thus removing the temptation to hop onto it quickly ‘just to check’.

Author: Taryn Haggerstone

Taryn is one of the lead coaches at Raincity Athletics. She regularly competes in both CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting (at Regional and National levels) when she's not blogging, or helping our RAthletes Find their Fit. Checkout her full bio for more.

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Photos by Julieth Fajardo