You are putting in countless time in the gym, sticking to your diet, and truly conforming to your newfound healthy lifestyle… Only to see the number on the scale stay the same or even jump up.
But do not let the scale coax you into believing your progress is at a standstill or backtracked. Truly, it does not tell the full story of a successful weight loss journey. While the scale can be a valuable measure when losing weight, it assesses the entire body weight without considering body composition with fat and muscle.
And not to mention, natural weight fluctuations occur throughout the day based on hydration status and bathroom patterns. That being said, it is not indicative of lost fat and gained muscle.
When it comes down to fat vs muscle, what really is the difference between the two? And how much more does muscle weigh than fat?
Fat Vs Muscle: The Weighted Truth
Reflect back to the riddle of “Which weighs more, a pound of lead or a pound of feathers?” While logically most would answer a pound of lead, they weigh the exact same and a pound is a pound.
So when it comes to five pounds of fat vs five pounds of muscle, they will each always be, well, five pounds. Then, “How much more does much muscle weigh than fat?” The truth of the matter is muscle does not weigh more or less than fat, but the exact same.
What truly separates a pound of fat vs muscle in regards to weight comes down their density. But what exactly does that mean for weight loss and other body composition goals?
If you were to visually compare five pounds of muscle and fat side-by-side, you would notice fat takes up more volume and space than muscle. And in the muscle vs fat weight pictures below, you will notice fat is bulkier in size compared to muscle tissue and takes up more space under the skin.
Or, you could also think of it like this: One pound of fat is roughly the size of a small grapefruit, whereas one pound of muscle is similar to the size of a tangerine.
The Power of Muscle
Instead of viewing muscle as the enemy keeping the scale at a standstill, start embracing it as your friend. Muscle is not only slimmer to your body, but can even accelerate your weight loss results even further by accelerating metabolism.
Muscle & Metabolism
Simply put, metabolism is the rate in which the body transforms calories into usable energy to carryout life-sustaining physiological processes. It is an ongoing process and continues even when the body is at rest, as it is constantly burning calories, allowing you to breathe air, digest food, and carry out other vital processes.
Nonetheless, individuals who carry more muscle mass have a faster metabolism, as every pound of muscle requires approximately six calories a day to purely sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only two calories daily! This means even when the body is at rest, the body will actively be burning more calories just by storing more muscle.
Not only can greater muscle mass hasten greater weight loss results, but is critical in augmenting bone density and preventing against muscle loss as the body ages. Lifting weights and strength training are encouraged at least two of the days each week to develop muscle to nurture and foster a quicker and healthier metabolism, along with consuming adequate protein and calories to build and sustain itself.
The Weakness of the Scale
As mentioned, the scale can be a valuable way to track progress. And if you have stepped on the scale and notice a few pound gain, you might be clearing your conscious by affirming “Muscle weighs more than fat.”
Remember, though, each weighs the same and it is unfortunately nearly impossible to build muscle so quickly. It takes time, consistency, and added tools such as a personal trainer and structured meal plan.
Strengths of Other Weight Loss Tools
But instead of getting so bogged down with the scale, learn to view health beyond the scale and the number staring back at you with. Say goodbye to the scale and hello to progress by tracking weight loss via taking before and after pictures, gauging mood and energy levels, and judging by how clothing fits. Utilize tape measures, skinfold calipers, and other methods to measure body fat percentage as well.
And by joining the “No-Scale Club” you are likely to gain a number of benefits. These include heightened hunger cues, reduced anxiety, and unleashed freedom. One might also advance attention to other health parameters beyond weight.
So if finding yourself frustrated with the scale, do not be. Consider all the additional elements and methods of tracking progress, recognize all the efforts put forth, and celebrate victories of all sizes during your weight loss and health journey!