Muscle weighing more than fat is one nutrition myth that really does not make a lot of sense.
This myth is similar to the trick question “what weighs more: a ton of bricks or a ton of feathers?” - They both weigh a ton!
So, if you take a pound of fat and a pound of muscle, they both weigh a pound.
However, the difference between them is the density. You will need a lot more feathers to make up a ton than you would bricks.
The same applies to muscle and fat - muscle is denser than fat, meaning it takes up less space in the body. This means that someone can weigh a fair bit more with a large amount of lean muscle mass without looking typically “large”.
The more muscle mass you have, the heavier you will weigh. So, if you’re working on getting lean, don’t be disheartened if the scales suggest you’re putting on weight. This is what’s happening, but it won’t be reflective of fat gain, just muscle.
While you may weigh more, you will look leaner, feel healthier, and your clothes will fit better.
Therefore, it’s maybe time to stop focusing too much on the number on the scale, and instead focus on more reliable measures of progress.
After all, the number on the scale simply tells you your weight - your weight is not a reflection on your health, body composition, muscle mass, or most importantly, your worth!
This article discusses the following:
- Why you shouldn’t rely on the scales
- Ways to track fat loss
- Non-scale victories
- How to retain muscle when cutting
So, keep reading if you want to learn some valuable knowledge on fat loss, muscle gain, and reliably tracking your goals!
Why You Shouldn’t Rely on the Scales
As previously mentioned, the scales only tell you your weight. They are a basic piece of equipment that gives us the simplest of data, but this is sometimes too basic for the majority of us who have more specific goals.
Our body is made up of many things that contribute to our weight, including water, bone, tissue, fat, and muscle (also referred to as our body composition). Body fat only makes up a small portion of this!
Additionally, there are a number of variables that can influence our body weight, causing it to fluctuate hourly. Some of these variables include:
- Carbohydrate intake
- Salt intake
- Menstrual cycle
- Bowel movements
- Alcohol intake
- Lack of sleep
- Overall food intake (actual weight of the food)
These factors all contribute to fluctuations in our bodyweight, mainly as a result of increased water retention.
For example, eating more carbohydrates and salt means that you may store more water, or certain medications may result in storing more water.
As you can see, our bodies are quite complex and are ever-changing, meaning we can’t rely on one type of broad data to measure something (body composition) that requires more accuracy.
The scale cannot measure your body fat percentage, estimate your calorie intake, tell you your bone density, or provide you with your health status.
Having said this, the scales can be an additional data point when tracking many other factors such as the above. Though, knowing how to use the scale to your advantage is key, ensuring consistency and knowledge of the best way to interpret the data:
- Ensure you weigh in at the same day and time every week, preferably morning upon waking
- Weigh yourself under the same conditions every week (post-bowel movement, pre-breakfast, unclothed, etc.)
- Focus on the overall long-term trend as opposed to the week-by-week results, which is a more accurate reflection of your progress.
Let’s look at some other methods to tracking your progress!
Methods to Track Fat Loss Progress
There are several ways to track the progress of your body composition goals.
However, it is important to note there is no method that is 100% accurate in measuring your exact body composition.
The most accurate way to measure your body composition would be to dissect your body and weigh each portion of you separately (cadaver analysis), a method that isn’t feasible if you’re a living human!
The more accurate methods of measuring body composition include:
- Bodyweight, alongside abdominal circumference, and stature
- Skinfold measurements (ideally conducted by a professional practitioner)
These methods are more affordable, easy, and accessible for most of us, while providing more accurate data than bodyweight alone.
More complex methods include:
- Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA)
- Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA)
- Other methods of measuring body density and body water
These methods are a bit more complex and expensive, usually more useful for athletic populations.
Though, there are other ways to recognize your progress that aren’t strictly based around numbers and data, for example:
- Progress pictures
- Increased energy levels
- Better quality sleep
- Clothing fit and feel
- Appearance and confidence
- Performance improvements
- Better digestion
Whichever way you choose to track your progress, ensure you are consistent with measurements and methods, and take notes!
Can I Lose Fat and Gain Muscle at The Same Time?
We have already tackled one myth in the article, why not another!
Something that is often related to the “does muscle weigh more than fat?” debate - can you gain muscle and lose fat at the same time?
The simple answer is yes, but neither will be optimal!
It will be hard to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time at an optimal rate. The process would be much slower and more difficult as opposed to focusing on one goal at a time, but it is still possible.
This is because the process of achieving each goal is quite opposing. For example, you must consume a lot of calories and follow a specific training program to build muscle, while when wanting to lose fat, you must eat fewer calories and would ideally focus more on high-intensity training.
It’s often recommended to focus on gaining muscle first, then cutting fat, but this is a highly individual preference.
Though, when doing so, retaining muscle becomes a much more significant focus.
After a “bulking” phase, your cutting phase should ideally focus on burning body fat while retaining the muscle you’ve worked so hard to build!
This means focusing on good quality food, portion and calorie control, a smart training program, plenty of daily protein, and a supplement to assist, if needed!
A Final Word
Burn Lab Pro is the top fat burner to help you achieve a lean physique while retaining your muscle mass.
Burn Lab Pro also helps to:
- Boost training intensity
- Support muscle growth and recovery
- Preserve lean muscle gains
- Control appetite
- Breakdown fat for energy
A great addition to a solid training and nutrition program!