Does Muscle Really Weigh More Than Fat?

By on July 21, 2015
does muscle really weigh more than fat

Despite common belief, the answer to this question is no. Muscle does not weigh more than fat. One pound is one pound and ten pounds is ten no matter if it is muscle or fat. Anyone that says any different is misinformed.

Although true, the belief that muscle weighs more does stem from fact. Although they weigh the same pound for pound, their difference lies in composition. Muscle does not weigh more but it does have a high density while the density of fat is low.

You may be asking, “What exactly does high and low density mean?” Density means compactness. Something with a high density is more compact while low density is just the opposite. As we all know, muscles are hard and tight.

Its composition is closely set which is why muscle mass requires less room in the body. Low density fat on the other hand causes the body to expand and spills over (i.e. a muffin top). Their difference in composition is why muscle is believed to weigh more than fat.

Did you know that fat takes up four times as much space as muscle in the body? This is why you may not see the numbers you want on the scale even though you like what you see in the mirror. Regular physical activity that challenges major muscle groups effectively will result in increased mass.

Both cardiovascular exercise and strength training will have this effect. When lean muscle mass replaces fat your weight may stay the same or even increase although you see a physical improvement. If body fat is an issue for you, switch your focus to your fitness program rather than the scale.

Putting on mass may not reduce the reading on the scale but it will improve your body and health. You will look leaner, stronger, inches will be lost and you will look fit. As an added bonus, lean muscle burns more fat by increasing the amount of calories burned at rest. Although every pound of muscle burns a little less than 10 calories on average it does make a difference.

Now that you know why the number on the scale may not match how you look and feel, it is time to stop feeling discouraged. Muscle, although it weighs the same pound for pound, requires less space in the body than fat.

The more muscle you have, the leaner your body will be. Train hard and pay attention to the physical changes taking place. Your stomach may be flatter, your arms more toned or you may have more energy in the gym. That is the progress that counts.