Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am, Fri at 10:15 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Muscle Weighs More Than Fat

Posted by terrepruitt on August 2, 2011

I think you have probably heard that before.  You might have even said it.  I know that I have.  It doesn’t make sense.  One pound of muscle CANNOT weigh more than one pound of fat, that is impossible.  A pound of something does not weigh more than a pound of something else.  Nope, just not possible.  Doesn’t matter if one pound is feathers and another pound is rocks. As you probably know, it is really about volume or the SPACE that one takes up over the other.  A POUND of fat actually takes up more space than a POUND of muscle, but they still WEIGH the same.  There is really no getting around that weight thing.

Sometimes a scale that measures weight might be a little deceiving in terms of size and health.  It all depends upon your goal.  Right?  I always say that, but it is true.  If your mainly concerned with how much you weigh then that is what you should focus on.  If you want to be smaller then maybe a scale is not the best way to measure that.  If you want to build muscle or be stronger then you might not want to be concerned with the weight because it is difficult to get weight to go down and muscle to go up.  Of course, this is all very general, I am not saying one is good or one is bad, I am really just trying explain the point a bit.

I find, on occasion, one of the best ways to explain something is to use a visual aide.  Here is a picture.

What you see is three pounds of butter with a three pound weight.  What is butter?  Fat.  I am using the weight as a rough sample of muscle.  This is three pounds of fat compared to three pounds of muscle.  Yeah, yeah, I know it is not exact, but it gives us a rough idea right?  You can clearly see that three pounds of fat take up much more room than three pounds of “muscle”.

If you are working out and exercising to “lose weight” your scale might not always tell you the accurate truth. Because first of all usually we are working out and exercising to lose fat and one of the best ways to do that is with strength training.  A muscled body burns more calories than a fatty body, no matter what the body is doing.  So one way to help lose the fat is to gain muscle.  But if you gain muscle the number on your scale might not go down as much as you think it should.  Second, if you are not doing some type of resistance training you would be losing muscle.

If you are doing something in your fitness routine that builds muscle and the scale is not moving down or it is not going down fast enough for you, don’t get discouraged.  Maybe it is time to take out the measure tape.  It could be that you are going down in size but staying the same or even gaining pounds.

Also remember that in order for you to actually build bigger muscles you have to follow a specific training plan so chances are you are not going to get bigger. Women – in general – don’t need to be concerned with that.  That is another great reason to measure because the body will change so it might look different or seem bigger to you, but with a measure of it, you will know.

Not too long before I hurt my foot I thought my scale was broken.  It kept showing me the same weight but my clothes weren’t fitting the same.  I threw my scale away.  Turns out it really wasn’t broken,  I was NOT gaining weight,  I was just losing muscle mass.  So now that my foot is better (better, not the same, but better) I want to get back to having more muscle.  I thought this would be a great way to remind me.  Sometimes I know things, I just need a reminder, what about you?  Do you sometimes need a reminder?  I am sure that you know that muscles DOES NOT weigh more than fat — not possible, but I thought I’d give us a visual to keep in our heads.

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