Does Muscle Weigh More Than Fat?

If you’ve been on a diet and exercise program for any length of time, you’ll know the weight doesn’t just fall off week after week.

There will always be those weeks when things slow down.

Sometimes you even gain some weight.

In the face of this frustration, a commonly cited excuse to explain this lack of consistent results, is that muscle weighs more than fat.

Thus, it’s our intensive exercise regimen that’s to blame for the lack of overall weight loss.

But, is this the case? I’ll answer that in just a minute, but before I do, let’s be clear on the benefits of gaining muscle.

Even if we discover that muscle does weigh more than fat, the last thing I want is to encourage you to give up strenuous exercise.

Benefits of Muscle Gain

If you’re not already involved in an exercise regimen that’s designed to build muscle, you’re missing out.

I’ll not go into great detail here, but I want to give you just some of the benefits of adding lean muscle to your body:

  • Improved body shape, including a flatter tummy, tighter glutes, and more toned arms.
  • You’ll feel stronger, which also helps to protect your joints from injury.
  • It will improve your posture, which makes you feel and look more confident and attractive.
  • Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, which means you can eat more without gaining weight.

Muscle Gain Takes Work

fitThat’s a pretty obvious statement, but I think it’s worth clarifying.

If you were to believe those that say you’ve gained weight because muscle weighs more than fat, you’d be forgiven for assuming that muscle growth happens quickly and easily.

Not true.

To gain significant amounts of muscle, not only do you need to perform the type of exercise that stimulates muscle growth (progressive and intense resistance training), but you also have to be eating a healthy, protein-rich diet to fuel the process.

The truth is, most people who exercise, especially women, do not (unfortunately) perform resistance training at this level, nor do they eat a diet which aids the muscle building process.

Too many are still afraid they’ll bulk up and look like female bodybuilders, so they stick to their feather-weight pink dumbells and ab belts. Urgh!

My point is this, the conditions need to be right to gain muscle. And, it can take many months to gain any significant increase in your muscle mass.

So, if you notice a gain in your weight one week, it’s unlikely to be because you’ve suddenly added significant muscle mass to your body in place of the fat.

It’s much more plausible that this weight gain is the result of water retention, or a lack of sticking to your chosen diet plan.

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So… getting back to the big question…

Muscle Weighs More Than Fat

Let’s look at the facts…

What is undeniable is that one pound of muscle weighs exactly the same as one pound of fat.

Just the same as one pound of feathers would weigh the same as one pound of bricks.

However, if you were to take the same volume of muscle and fat and put them each on a scale, the muscle will weigh more.

The difference here is in the density.

By volume, one pound of fat is lumpy, fluffy and takes up way more space inside your body than one pound of muscle.


In fact, a pound of fat takes up about four times the space of muscle tissue, as you can see from our picture.

This is why it is possible to get visibly slimmer without seeing a significant drop in your weight.


Fat does not turn into muscle

To listen to some people, you would think you can turn fat into muscle.

This is simply not the case.

Each tissue is distinctly different, and one does not convert into the other. You lose fat, you gain muscle, and it’s possible to gain both at the same time and lose both at the same time.

In fact, most exercises that people do to lose weight are causing them to lose muscle mass as well as fat, which isn’t what you want.

Get More Muscle on Your Body

Rather than fearing a weight gain each week, a more helpful and positive goal would be to focus on improving your strength.

Weight loss this way may be slower than what you’re hoping for, but it’s likely to be a longer-term solution, and a healthier way to trim down and get in shape.

And, far from making you look like a bodybuilder, a little lean muscle is going to improve your appearance immensely.

Bin the Bathroom Scales

Perhaps it’s time to put the bathroom scales aside, and instead measure your success with a hard look in the mirror, a tape measure, or even a new personal best at the gym.

When you make it your aim to feel healthier and stronger, you’ll find you naturally move towards a healthier weight, look beautiful, and feel fantastic.

And, if this sounds like the kind of approach you would like to take, feel free to trade your fat for muscle and click here to discover how you can join other successful members on my program.

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About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?

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