The other day I heard someone who has a really big fitness account on IG state:
“My body is getting smaller, but the scale has gone up. I guess it’s because muscle weights more than fat”.
I was astounded that someone with such a large following would say something that misleading. To their defense, this person may not realize one simple thing: A pound is a pound, no matter how you slice it.
If you measure out a pound of feathers and a pound of bricks, each will only weigh one pound. However, it would appear that you have more feathers because the amount of volume they consume would allow you to fit more of them in the same space as the pound of bricks. Many are confused because muscle is more dense than fat. Meaning, one pound of muscle will take up less space than once pound of fat.
Because of this, your body can appear bigger with more body fat and smaller when your body has more muscle mass. If two people weight 150 pounds, but one has a higher body fat percentage, the person with more body fat would likely appear bigger and wear a larger clothing size than the one with less body fat.
As you add compact muscle mass to the body, your body weight may increase. You can look to gain about 3-5 pounds of lean muscle mass over the course of a couple months with a weight training regiment. This is why it’s very important to use other measures outside the scale in order to determine what progress is being made along your fitness journey. Comparing photos, how your clothes fit and inches lost are an even greater measuring tool when it comes to changes in the body. You could lose 10 pounds on the scale but not change your pant size. You could also lose 10 inches and drop two pant sizes. Focusing only on the scale may cause you to become discouraged and backtrack in progress. It is suggested to use the latter to measurement your progress versus weighing yourself frequently. As you see changes in your body you will motivate yourself to go farther.
Another important fact to know is that you cannot swap fat for muscle. Can only lose fat and gain muscle. The process of losing fat will require a caloric deficit. Technically, If you’re looking to lose 1 pound per week you would need to create a deficit of 3500 calories from your exercise calories burned and a decrease in your caloric intake. To gain muscle you would need to eat at a caloric surplus. This would be ideal for a bodybuilder or someone looking to add a significant amount of muscle to their frame.
Muscle boosts a person’s metabolism so a pound of muscle will burn more calories at rest than a pound of fat. Muscle tissue will burn seven to 10 calories daily per pound. Fat burns two to three calories daily per pound. This is important because even when you’re not exercising you will be burning more calories just by having more muscle.