Many believe muscle weighs more than fat. Some even believe, on the contrary. But what is the truth? Does muscle weigh more than fat? Well, no. A pound of muscle and fat weighs the same. All that matters is the density. Two substances can be different in shape and size. But still, they may weigh the same.
Let’s consider an example. A pound of marshmallows takes more space than steel. The same goes for fat and muscle. Fat is fluffy and bulky. Besides, it weighs the size of a small grapefruit. On the hand comes muscle. It is much rigid and denser like a tangerine. Here is what makes them different. That is, the density makes the difference.
This is what the Centers for Disease Prevention says. More adults in the U.S. are looking for ways to reduce weight. Gyms and fitness studios make life easier. Good old cardio suits most need. However, resistance is no less. All this aims at reducing fat and increasing muscle.
The myth and the truth
Does muscle weigh more than fat? No. The greater the density, the lesser volume occupied. This holds for muscles. Hence some look slimmer without significant weight drop. The contrary is also true. The effect of muscle loss is clearer in older adults. Muscles shrink with age. Besides, muscle cells repair at a slower rate.
Muscle Vs. Fat
Having a total body weight doesn’t indicate any health hazards. Not all pounds are equal. Two individuals may weigh the same. One may have a more significant muscle percentage. Whereas the other may have a greater fat percentage. For instance, you may have 20 pounds more overweight than the other person. You will appear to be less toned.
Again, suppose the other has 20 pounds more muscle. Here the person will have a more toned and sculpted appearance. Both muscle and fat are beneficial. Fat insulated the body, whereas muscle boosts metabolism. The more the muscles, the higher the calorie burnt at rest.
Know your muscle and fat percentage in the body
A higher body fat percentage increases the overall death rate. Neither weight nor body mass index is necessary. Fat increases the risk of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes. Some people may have low body weight. However, their muscle to fat ratio may be poor. This also increases the chances of obesity and related disorders. Hence, optimizing the body fat percentage is crucial.
However, too much of anything is dangerous. Do not strive for muscle for a very high muscle percentage. Unless it for some actual purpose.
Here is a chart representing body fat percentages age and gender-wise. The values here are recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines.
% of body fat
% of body fat
Fat percentages are based on the classification of individuals.
% of body fat
% of body fat
|Individuals with obesity||31% and higher||25% and higher|
Testing body fat composition is complicated. Several high-tech testing devices are available. You may find them in gyms or doctor’s office. The devices use bioelectric impedances or BIA. This detects fat cells in the body. Home sales are also available. They help measure body fat percentage. However, they can be inaccurate at times. Several factors may cause such inaccuracy. For example, the amount of water drunk before testing.
Measure the true body composition
Consult your doctor to know accurate body composition. All individuals are different. So are their body types. Despite the same body weight, no one is alike. Let’s get an insight into fat and muscle proportions in the frame.
Up first is the body mass index or BMI. This is a prevalent metric. Most people favour this metric for body composition. It’s hard to detect an ideal human figure. More so from person to person. Muscle proportions cause a significant shift in numbers.
CDC BMI calculator has a particular drawback. It considers just height and weight. However, no frame size and muscle are taken into consideration. Only, this cannot reduce the fat amount in the body. Hence, this calculator is criticized by many. For instance, your result falls in the range 18.5 and 24.9. The doctor may term you as usual.
However, you are hitting the gym. Having more muscles may put you in the obese category. However, this does not mean you are overweight. This is where accuracy comes into play. Hence, people prefer genuine metric devices.
The waist-to-hip ratio or WHR
The WHR method gets a recommendation from the World Health Organization. A study was conducted in 2015. Higher WHR was related to increased health risks and death. This was so even for ordinary BMI people.
Want to check your WHR right now? Grab a measuring tape. Make a quick measure of the waist. Check the smallest area around your waist. Then measure the largest area of your hip and butt. Divide the waist circumference by hip circumference. WHO suggests a healthy WHR ratio for both men and women. For men, it is 0.85. for women, it is 0.9.
Easiest way out-measuring tape
Let’s continue with the help of measuring tape. On a healthy journey? Take body measurements every 4 to 6 weeks. The best time is early morning. Make a journal. Drought down the measurements every time you measure. Don’t forget to add the date and time. The best time is on an empty stomach.
Keep a measure of the following areas. The neck, biceps, butt, thigh, calves, thigh. Alongside, measure the smallest part of the waist. Measure the widest part of the stomach.
Percentage of body fat
Body fat scales are readily available. However, technical difficulties are vast. Therefore, head to the gym. Your instructor will use callipers to measure body fat. This is an ancient procedure. It has been around for at least 50 years. Gyms have handheld body fat analyzers. The machine is somewhat future-oriented.
It works by sending harmless rays through the body. The signals vary in speed. The higher the fat content, the slower is the movement. Results may, however, vary. It depends on the accuracy of the device. Even so, one may keep in mind how hydrated they are. All of these factors affect the results shown.
Go back to intuition and mirrors. Get a good glance at yourself in a mirror. You will know exactly how you feel. The better you feel mentally, the higher you will be physical betterment. You will know your progress instantly. Your clothes will fit better. You will feel healthier. The strength gained will make you feel more empowered.
Why are you not losing weight?
Have you noticed a thing? You may be gaining weight despite following a regime. Does muscle increase weight? The scale isn’t going down. Instead, it is staying the same. Honestly, this is pretty frustrating. Some explanations may give you the answer. It can be post-workout inflammation, water retention, supplements, or undigested food. Also, muscle weight gain may occur.
Muscle weight gain
Let’s begin with the most obvious reason. One loses weight when working out. Alongside, one gains muscle weight from training. The amount of muscle may vary. The diet and the type of training determine this gain. However, physical activities may also show improvements. These can be improvements in muscle mass and strength. The results are clearer if you’re sedentary before the program.
You may be doing proper strength training. Alongside, you may be following an appropriate plan for the meal. You will notice a greater muscle mass. Some people put on more muscles than others. Consider them lucky. It is just like some put on more weight than others. Muscles shape a strong body. Gaining strength may cause a hype in numbers on a scale.
Any weight loss does not necessarily show on the scale. Muscle is dense, unlike fat. Throughput fat loss, weight loss is evident. With muscle gain, the numbers may spike up. Don’t be demotivated by this. Hence avoiding scales is highly recommended.
Water Weight Gain
One may temporarily gain weight. The reason behind it is water weight gain. This is true for pre-menopausal women. This may cause more fluctuations in body weight. One may go through this throughout the month. This is true, especially during hormonal changes. Women are prone to be bloated before periods. Similar results are seen during the menstrual period. Well, this too adds to temporary weight gain.
Light exercise can reduce PMS symptoms and bloat. Fluid retention is highest on the first day of periods. One may feel bloated and sick. You may even feel demotivated. Do not, by chance, check yourself on the scale. However, bloating is lowest during the middle phase of the cycle. This gradually increases during the 11 days of ovulation.
Water weight gain can also be seen during high sodium intake. Several studies reveal this result. On eating salty food, water intake. However, this does not cause the necessary urine production. The fluids add up to extra pounds in scale. Some people are very sodium-sensitive. Hence, they may retain more water. Now you may cut down on salt in your daily meals. Processed foods are laden in sodium. High consumption of these will show the same symptoms. Look out for the beverages you consume. Cut back on sugary drinks. Focus on nutrient-rich foods. Get your hands-on healthy foods. For instance, cottage cheese, soup, green veggies.
Workouts can cause weight gain. Could one possibly believe that? Yes, it occurs, temporarily. This increase may indicate a factor. You may not be getting the desired results. Hence, you are overexerting yourself. Instead of real results, it is causing more damage.
Weight training may cause damage to muscle tissue. The repair process is slow but steady. It causes tissue inflammation in the meantime. Hence, an increased number on the scale is noted. The exercise physiologists have given a term. This condition is exercise-induced muscle damage or EIMD. It usually occurs during new exercises. Or it may occur during challenging workout routines.
The cells in muscle tissue are myofibers. Temporary damage occurs to myofibers. The inflammation is caused due to buildup. White blood cells tend to build up in damaged tissues. Hence, the quick gain is noticeable post-workout. Some symptoms of EIMD are stated here. You may notice a delayed onset of the soreness post-workout. This is also called the DOMS. The soreness comes after a day or two. It is a result of inflammation. It is also due to the repair happening alongside.
Usage of supplements
Supplements are not without side-effects. Post-workout nutrition can cause weight gain. Even accessories after workout show similar conditions. One may notice an exact degree of weight gain post-workout. Specific exercises cause glycogen depletion in the body. For instance, prolonged exercises like swimming and running.
Supplement beverages are widespread among athletes. They do consume such beverages in between or post-training. These beverages are high in carbohydrates. These carbs help in restoring glycogen in the body. One gram of glycogen restoration equals three grams of water.
The results are pretty much known. More water is retained. Water weight is thus, inevitable. Hence, consequent weight gain is bound to occur. Any carb intake gets stored as glycogen. The body stores this glycogen with water for faster recovery. This is a pretty standard and healthy process. Hence one should not skip on carbohydrate intake.
One more supplement causes acute weight gain. It is creatine. Creatine is used primarily by avid exercisers. It causes weight gain. Fluid retention is also noticeable. Creatine’s study has been down over the years. The results were mixed. The effectiveness of creatine is controversial. Some early studies provided the following results.
Creatine supplements cause increased body. Alongside total weight gain is also seen. Researchers believed this was due to water retention. Investigations show specific creatine potentials. It increases muscle mass and muscle strength. Some investigations prove creatine beneficial. However, the benefits are not indeed known.
Undigested fibre-rich foods
Working out may make you hungry. You may start refuelling yourself. Consumption of nutritious high-fibre food is commonly chosen. Weight gain is clear. This may cause an increase in the number on the scale. The fibre in the body aids in water retention in the colon. This results in less stiffness. Therefore, it becomes easy to evacuate. On the other hand, it is insoluble fibre. It increases the weight of the stool.
Daily, about 150 grams of stool is passed. One might see weight gain before stool passes. However, the fiber may also decrease in colon transit time. Hence don not avoid this nutrient altogether. Stool weight may vary. The average stool weight is 106 grams a day. It is less than a quarter. It is less than a pound.
Researches indicate one pound of stool production. This is equivalent to every 12 pounds of body weight.
Too much credit given to scale
You may eat and drink differently on days. Some days may be healthy. Whereas some days may have an added meal. Water intake varies throughout. Therefore, there is no point in comparing your weight on different days. Some days you may sweat more because of the higher temperature. Other days you may lack sleep. It will be more demotivating.
Get off that scale. Look on the positive and brighter side. Assess the benefits you encountered from the new routine. Check your energy. See if you fit better in your clothes. You may be able to lift grocery bags more easily. Or you can lift heavy objects better now. Now isn’t that motivating? Do not limit yourself to a number on the scale.
You may notice a mood upliftment. Feeling happier than before? Are you feeling more energized than before? Feeling better physically and mentally is essential. This counts more than the pounds lost. Overall, betterment shines more.
Consuming more, burning less
Appetite may turn up as soon as fitness is in full blast. Researches indicate the following. People lose more weight than expected. It is higher due to increased appetite and energy intake. The body burns more calories in an active state. Make sure to sweat out well when active. The body keeps burning calories post-workout. This continues for some time.
At rest, the metabolism decreases. However, a calorie is still burnt. Naturally, the body wants compensation for calorie burn. Hence, you end up eating more than required. Keep track of the calorie intake. People tend to overestimate calories burnt in the workout. Use fitness trackers to check the calorie burn. For instance, Apple watches or Fitbit. Other fitness apps may also come in handy. MyFitnessPal is one such famous app. It tracks calorie intake and calorie burn. It provides meal plans based on your goals. This in-app journal helps to get a better overview of your progress.
You are eating well. Besides, you are exercising daily. Your routine is on track. However, no single sign of progress is visible. It’s time to see a doctor. Some health issues may be causing hindrance. One such factor may be thyroid problems. Certain medications may also cause weight gain.
No matter how hard you try, weight gain occurs without a halt. Try to calm down and see a doctor. The doctor will help you to know any underlying issues.
Choices on pre-workout snacks and post-workout snacks
Your appetite may increase post-workout. Hence you go for packaged foods overcooked foods. Post-workout, you are left with little energy to make a meal. You fill up for the hunger by having chips, crackers, or cookies. Instead, opt for healthier choices. For instance, fruits and veggie sticks. Healthy fats and lean protein keep you fuller for longer. Hence fulfil this hunger in smaller portions.
You don’t always have to do much. Post-workout hunger is common. Most people gain weight from snacking. People tend to snack within an hour of a workout. Hence pre-workout meal is recommended. Consume a protein-rich small meal to keep you going. Therefore, hunger pangs post-workout can be avoided.
On the contrary, one may prefer more post-workout meals. You are waiting to refuel. Hence, the chances of overeating continue. One needs to be cautious. Or else, the food intake will cause more bloating. One is left completely starving post-training. It’s safe to assume eating more will cause weight gain.
Don’t wait to reach extreme levels. Keep your hunger levels in check. Alongside, keep your satisfaction levels in check.
People forget to hydrate themselves the most. One cannot emphasize enough water intake. Curb down on unnecessary hunger. Drink more water. At times, the hunger pangs are indications of water need. Hence, try to incorporate more water in the diet. Post-workout, drink a lot of water to replenish yourself.
All the organs need much water to function correctly. The same happens when one wakes up. After hours of starvation at night, one needs to drink water. Drink water 10 minutes before working out. This will help you to workout. You will feel more energized.
Carbohydrates tend to sike up your metabolism. Alongside, hunger levels increase. Strength training counteracts this factor. With muscle gain, one burns more fat. Hence lifting weights is highly recommended. Fewer hunger boosts occur post strength training. Comparatively, cardio causes more hunger pangs.
Strength training tends to increase resting metabolic rate. This happens with the accumulation of more lean muscle mass. One sheds more through this process. Hence strength training by lifting weights is highly recommended.
More moves than work out
Are you working out? Or is it just simple movement? Challenging and pushing yourself is essential. One may tend to cheat on days by simple movements. You may not be trying harder. Hence the results are not desirable. One day you push hard. Next, you can’t move for a day. The very next day, it is a simple movement. Now, this is more of an imbalance.
Make sure to distribute your energy well. You may be giving your 200 percent in an exercise. Whereas you end up giving 40 percent in the next one. Exercises may be hard at times. However, you must try your best. Try to provide equal attention to all exercises. This will provide benefits in the long run.
Tips and tricks to lose weight
Weight loss comes with muscle buildup. However, it’s much more than that. Here are some of the tips. First, have a well-balanced diet. Fill yourself up with nutritious food. Cutting down on calories shouldn’t be the only goal of weight loss. It also involves the intake of the right calories. Consume fruits and vegetables. Alongside lean protein intake is a must. All these will keep you fuller for longer. Limit your sodium or sugar intake. Cut down on sugary and processed foods. Reduce caffeine intake.
Next comes a crucial point. Do not under-eat. This is a myth believed to date by many. Eating less indeed helps in weight loss. However, that involves eating any food in moderation. Eating a bite of something won’t get you fat.
First and foremost, get this thought out of the head. In starvation mode, your body will produce more glucose for energy compensation. It will take good fats to do so.
Unfortunately, the bad fats keep compiling. This causes more weight gain than loss. Eat your food, right to lose weight. You need food to gain strength. It is so very crucial for strength training. Hence never skip a meal.
Third comes setting goals. Never set unrealistic goals. You know your potential the best. Hence decide accordingly. Consult a doctor in case of any complications. Approximately, try to lose not than a pound a week. Fourth, workout every single day. An intense sweat session isn’t always necessary.
Light cardio can also work. Yoga may also help. Swim, walk, play a sport or dance. All of these are different types of exercise. Incorporate them accordingly in your routine. Next comes scale. Avoid weighing yourself at all costs. Constant weighing can cause demotivation. One day you may weigh less than the other. The very next day, you may consider more. Food and water weight varies daily. Instead, focus on fitting back in your favourite clothes. That will be more motivating.
Take help from a nutritionist. It is best to consult for a meal plan. Know your portion sizes. Hence remain on track with the diet plan. Start your weight loss on a positive note. Now is the time to switch things up a bit. Are you bored with the same meals and workout plans? Jazz it up a bit. This will help you to get along with the healthy journey.
Advice to increase muscle mass
Here is some advice to increase lean muscle mass. Start by practising strength training. Repeat these exercises about four times a week. I workout at home when not at the gym. Focus on pushups, squats, and pullups. These are the core of increasing strength. Thirdly do a HIIT workout once or twice a week. Combine strength training with cardio. High-intensity interval training does have significant effects on the body.
Don’t be afraid of heavyweights. Lift as much your body permits. However, the doubt goes overboard. Make sure to have a firm grip on core exercises. It will help in lifting weights better. Have a personal trainer guide to weight lifting. It is essential to lift safely. Make sure to avoid straining or injuring yourself. Certain recreational activities can be useful for strength training—for instance, climbing, yoga, or biking.
One essential factor is diet. Lean muscle development requires a high protein diet. In the case of bulking up, focus on increasing calories. Eat more chicken and fish than carbs. However, do not overcompensate. Eat carbs but in moderation. Too much of anything is risky.
Let’s sum up. Fat is similar in weight to muscle. Muscle, however, is denser. The higher the activity, the lower is the fat proportion. This article discusses the myth and truth of muscle and fats. It also gives details of why one has difficulty losing weight. It covers the tips to lose weight properly. Lastly, tips to increase muscle mass is provided. I hope you find this article useful enough.