You’ve done your part—you’ve made your diet your commitment and your gym your new home. You are basically married to your fitness routine, and it shows. The world takes notice. But after shedding all that fat and building muscle, the weighing scale says, No. You haven’t lost weight. As a matter of fact, you’ve gained some more. How is that possible? Does muscle weigh more than fat?
Fitness Myth: Does Muscle Weigh More than Fat?
Why Weighing Scales Are Not Your Most Reliable Friend
When I first started getting into shape, I encountered the same problem and asked myself the same question. Now, I know better. Simply put: No, muscle does not weigh more than fat. 5 pounds of muscle and 5 pounds of fat will register as 5 pounds in any accurate, fully-functional scale.
No substance is naturally heavier than another. The answer to our question lies in the specific kind of substance we are dealing with.
Muscle vs. Fat
The difference between muscle and fat is not in their weight but in their density. Muscle is denser than fat. Density is defined by the mass of an object in a given volume—in other words, how much of the thing is concentrated in a certain “serving” of that same thing. Since muscle is denser than fat, you’ll find that there is more muscle present in a single “serving” of muscle than fat in a single “serving” of fat.
Therefore, it takes less muscle to indicate a certain weight, say, 5 pounds, and it would take more amount of fat to indicate that same weight. Muscle “seems” heavier because less of it was needed, but this is because of its density, not it’s weight.
To understand better with an example, let’s pretend that, because muscle is denser than fat, “1 serving” of muscle is equivalent to “5 servings” of fat. Losing the “5 servings” of fat in a day at the gym will give you “1 serving” of muscle.
Of course, you expect the scale to reflect how much fat you’ve lost. But since this was replaced by muscle, the weighing scale tells you that you weigh the same even if you look slimmer.
The Truth About Numbers
With more extreme routines, losing fat is no longer the concern. A sculpted body is the goal. And because there is more muscle involved in this, the weighing scale tells you that you’ve become heavier, when in fact, you’ve just gained more of the denser substance—muscle.
Watch this video from Bodybuilding.com for more answers to our question: Does muscle weigh more than fat?
So, should you throw out your weighing scale? While it doesn’t always tell the truth, it does have its merits. But in this case, you may need to turn to other things to track your progress towards that goal body. Why not try out that sharp suit you’ve only been dreaming of wearing before you got in shape? Now, it will look like it’s made just for you.
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Do you agree? Does muscle weigh more than fat? Tell me what you think by leaving a comment below!
Featured image via Trimmed&Toned