The Myth of Fat vs Muscle

I think we’ve all heard the phrase “muscle weighs more than fat”, when it comes to weight loss. I always felt that to be true, but, which one weighs more, a pound of fat, or a pound of muscle? Then, I got to thinking about it, THEY BOTH WEIGH THE SAME! The difference? Muscle is more lean than fat, has a better appearance than fat, and burns more calories at rest than fat.

Why do we say muscle weighs more than fat?

When I used to work out, and I’d step on the scale and found that I hadn’t lost any weight, it bummed me out. I mean, I’m busting my hump in the gym! I should be losing weight, right? I would confide in a fellow gym member, and there it was: “Well, muscle weighs more than fat.” That made me feel a little better. It made me feel that I was making gains. That statement is a feel-good statement, in all reality. What had happened to me was the all-fearing, dreaded term “plateauing”. I covered that in a recent post, so no need to dive back in!

When working out, you’ll lose fat weight, but it will be replaced by muscle weight, so the scales may not tip much. Shrinking in mass will tell you all you need to know: you’re still losing “weight”, but you’re gaining lean muscle mass, and that’s what you want!

My advice? Get rid of the scale! A scale can be very misleading, and therefore discourage you. It can be your worst enemy in the battle of the bulge. Go for physical aspects of weight loss: appearance, how your clothes fit and how you feel. Clothes, mirrors and pictures will paint your portrait better. Take pictures before you begin, then in 2 months, and again in 6 months. If you’re consistent in the gym, you should start to see some changes in 2 months, then again in 6 months. Of course, there are factors to consider, such as food choices, intensities of your workouts, etc.

There are more benefits to having more muscle than fat.

  • Muscle kicks up your metabolism. A pound of muscle will burn more calories at rest than a pound of fat.
  • It’s important in improving bone durability and helps prevent the loss of muscle mass that occurs with getting older, allowing people to stay active as they get older.

If you’re cutting carbs, you’ll lose weight. The problem is, it’s mostly water weight. That’s because carbs stick to water. Increase carbs and you’ll gain weight….retaining water!

So, to lose fat and not muscle, it’s important to do the following:

  • Strength training. Builds strength and blocks muscle loss. Also, stick to your diet!
  • Eat healthy and avoid a lot of starchy carbs (potatoes, pasta, rice for example)

How to track progress effectively:

  • Stop weighing yourself daily. You may fluctuate day to day and could make you lose your motivation.
  • Stop looking in the mirror.  I’m guilty of this! It can give you a false perception.
  • Track strength progress. Record your workouts on your phone (in your notepad) or on an actual notepad. Getting stronger means muscle progression and strength training prevents breakdown of the muscles.

My journey is just beginning. I look forward to the day where an overwhelming majority of fat mass is GONE. Until that day comes, I’ll keep plugging away and grinding it out. There’s only one way to go, and that’s up!

Have you heard the phrase “muscle weighs more than fat”? What are your opinions on the matter?

Rog

Husband, father to 3 kids, papa to 2 grand kids. I love rock music (mostly), travel and social media. I am a VA, & a Social Media Marketing Manager. I just recently jumped into the world that is blogging. I look forward to interacting with you!

34 thoughts on “The Myth of Fat vs Muscle

    • August 17, 2017 at 3:37 pm
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      Yes, and yet we’ve been lead to believe that that’s not the case

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  • August 17, 2017 at 4:02 pm
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    I’m guilty of stepping on the scale a lot. Good advice on working out.

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    • August 17, 2017 at 4:05 pm
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      I was guilty as charged when it came to the scale! About the only time now I look in the mirror is when I’m working out! Form is everything!

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  • August 17, 2017 at 4:06 pm
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    Maybe the saying should be that fat takes up more volume than muscle? It would be a better reflection of the concept. But I totally agree that you should gauge your success on how your clothes fit!

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    • August 17, 2017 at 4:11 pm
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      I agree with your statement! I think maybe someone came up with muscle weighs more than fat to justify their own problem with weight loss, or to encourage others

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  • August 17, 2017 at 4:49 pm
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    Oh wow. I ALWAYS thought that muscle weighed more than fat. That’s a myth that really has a foothold with almost everyone, it seems.

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    • August 17, 2017 at 8:22 pm
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      Muscle looks better than fat any day! At least for my own body image

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  • August 17, 2017 at 6:37 pm
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    Excellent advice and I could not agree more! I actually went through a phase where I became obsessed with weighing myself, to the point where it started to scare me, so I tossed my scale out. That was about three years ago. Best decision I ever made!

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    • August 17, 2017 at 8:21 pm
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      Thank you for that! Scales are the devil!!

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  • August 17, 2017 at 10:52 pm
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    I have been following the Keto diet and I was so afraid, in the beginning, that the diet would not work. I mean, come on…you get to eat cheese! So in the beginning I weighed myself all the time to make sure I knew if it was working or not. Now I weigh once a month.

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    • August 17, 2017 at 10:56 pm
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      I’ve heard a lot of rave reviews about Keto. I’m pretty much counting calories and eating only when I’m hungry. I also drink 2 protein shakes a day, one within an hour of working out and one before bed.

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  • August 18, 2017 at 1:40 am
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    Weighing yourself daily is not a good idea. I used to do this and only got frustrated.

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    • August 18, 2017 at 2:45 pm
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      It will only discourage you

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  • August 18, 2017 at 8:50 am
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    The saying “muscle weighs more than fat” is true, but it should be rephrased. Muscle is more dense than fat so it takes more fat to weigh one pound. This would be great to know to explain the weight loss plateau.

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    • August 18, 2017 at 2:44 pm
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      Yes, it should be rephrased! I totally agree

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  • August 18, 2017 at 1:37 pm
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    I weigh myself, but if I gain I take my measurements and 9 times out of ten I’ve lost inches. It makes me feel better otherwise I get depressed about the gain and eat…which makes it worse.

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    • August 18, 2017 at 2:43 pm
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      True! I feel the worst thing anyone who’s working towards losing weight is to continuously weigh themselves.

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  • August 18, 2017 at 3:02 pm
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    I am guilty of thinking that fat weighs more than muscle. But in reality, they are the same weight. However, muscle burns calories more efficiently.

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    • August 18, 2017 at 4:42 pm
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      Same here. Guilty as charged! 🙂

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    • August 20, 2017 at 1:17 pm
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      So true! For me, the clothes are taking a little longer, but, I’m older, and it takes a little more effort to lose weight and gain muscle

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  • August 19, 2017 at 3:01 am
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    It has been ages since I’ve weighed myself. In fact, I no longer own a scale. I rely on apps like My Fitness Pal to help with my weight loss journey. 🙂

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    • August 20, 2017 at 1:13 pm
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      I’ve heard a lot of great things about MFP. I’m going to download it 🙂

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    • August 20, 2017 at 1:12 pm
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      We have a scale, but I refuse to get on it 🙂

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  • August 19, 2017 at 8:27 am
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    I think muscle weighs more than fats in the way that building muscle requires a lot of work and sacrifice. And that efforts really weigh and it will be worth it than gaining fats.

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    • August 20, 2017 at 1:12 pm
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      Yes, it takes hard work and dedication, and yes, the results will be worth it!

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  • August 20, 2017 at 8:15 am
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    Yep, I too, used to think that fat weighed more than muscle! Thanks for dispelling the myth!

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  • August 25, 2017 at 10:07 am
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    Sometimes you have to remember to celebrate the other small victories that go hand in hand with weight loss. Keep up the great work.

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  • August 28, 2017 at 5:39 pm
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    very interesting post

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    • August 28, 2017 at 5:41 pm
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      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

      Reply

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