Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Muscle Weighs More Than Fat’

Do You Measure Up?

Posted by terrepruitt on July 28, 2012

I think most people use a scale instead of a measuring tape. A scale is easy and common. We’ve been taught it is all about how much we weigh. You might be familiar with the false statement that muscle weighs more than fat. That of course is not true (that is why I called it a false statement), a pound of muscle weighs 16 ounces and a pound of fat weighs the same. The space taken up by muscle is less than the space taken up by fat, but they WEIGH the same. So measuring is another way to track changes to your body.

Professionals; personal trainers, doctors, therapist, etc. – people who measure for a living or who need to share information have a specific way of measuring. So if you were to go to one and pass on your measurements the other could document changes. So it is nice to have a standard. Because the most important thing about measuring is to measure in the same place every time so you can track the changes!

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaOne way to keep it the same is to measure from one point to the point you are going to measure. Say you are going to measure your calf, well measure from the bottom of your knee cap to the point you are going to measure and use that point every time.  This is a little more exact than “measuring at the largest point” or the “smallest part”.

Again the standard for measuring are things like: “across the umbilicus” and “1/2 way between the umbilicus and xyphoid process”. But you just really need to know where you did it last time so that you do it the same the next time.

Places you want to measure are your chest – for men and women the flexible measuring tape goes around the back and across the nipple. Then women measure around the chest where the band of the bra rests.  Measure around the hips.  Measure around the waist.  Measure around your neck. Measure around each bicep. Measure around each forearm.  Measure around each thigh.  Measure around each calf.

The chest measures are obvious; nipples and bra.  With the hips you can use over the bone or the widest part.  The waist is at the smallest part.  The neck, arms, and legs are good ones to use the “measure to the measuring point” method.  You can also use the  “measure to the measuring point” method on the waist and hips too!   Just make sure you document the measurement to the measuring point.  If you are going to measure your calf an inch below the lowest part of the knee cap, make note of that so you do it the same way every time.

Since every BODY has different goals it could be a moment to cheer if the measurements go up, or when the numbers go down.  Whichever the case it is your own personal journey and if you are working for a change in your body then measuring is a different way to track it.  Sometimes the scale can be frustrating if your goal is weight loss and you are building muscle and losing fat.  Or if you are just gaining weight and not paying attention to how much closer you have gotten to your muscle hypertrophy goal.

Stay tuned for the next post for a challenge that we will begin on August 1st.  All you will need is a soft tape measure and to continue on your own personal path of wellness that you are already on.

Do you use a scale?  Do you ever feel frustrated by the number on the scale?

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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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