Listen up, everybody! We’ve all heard it, we all know it, some of us have even believed it (and some of us are just plain sick of it): the muscle vs fat myth that Muscle weighs more than fat.
Well guess what – I’m about to open a can of whoop-a** on this widely-accepted, well-known, commonly-believed myth! Brace yourselves:
MUSCLE DOES NOT WEIGH MORE THAN FAT!
Before you exit out of this post and shun me forever, think about it: one pound of feathers weighs the same as one pound of pennies. A pound is a pound. Period. So, why has this myth been spread far and wide among individuals willing the scale to move downward (even if just by a fraction of a pound)?? Probably for that reason – to bring rationale to why the scale isn’t budging.
While lean muscle and fat weigh the same pound for pound, a lean-muscled 158lb woman can appear healthier than a 145lb woman with a higher body-fat percentage. This is due to the differing composition of muscle versus fat. Muscle has a high density, leading to a leaner appearance, while fat needs more room to ‘float’ around in your body. It takes up more space because of it’s low density – a pound of fat has more volume than a pound of lean muscle. Think back to the pound of feathers vs. the pound of pennies – which takes up more room/is less dense? (Or Jell-O vs. ice cubes)
The other myth that goes along with this is that women who lift weights or do resistance training will get big and bulky. THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN!! In addition to cardio to assist with weight-loss and maintain a healthy heart, lifting weights or doing resistance training will help you tone, tighten, and strengthen – which will turn that Jell-O midsection into ice cube abs (or whatever other comparison works for you). And we all know what looks better in a bathing suit or yoga pants or really anything. Hint: it’s not Jell-O.
The only way you will look overly muscular and super-hero-like is if you’re supplementing with stuff that’s really not good for you. Think testosterone injections or growth hormones. If you’ve cleaned out your pantry of those, you’re good to go. Low weight, high-repetition exercises will give you a lean and toned (and non-Incredible-Hulk) bod.
Another plus to getting lean? Muscle burns more calories than fat and boosts your metabolism. It’s true! There’s no magic formula to tell you how much, but it’s a significant difference. That means if you maintain the same healthy diet and add in strength training, you will probably start to notice a difference in the way your clothes fit in a month or two (everybody’s bodies respond differently – don’t give up)! And, aren’t we all looking for another way to zap calories anyway?…..
If you allot yourself an hour at the gym, hack 15 minutes off the treadmill, stair climber, or elliptical, and head over to the free weights! Remember: form is your friend. There’s no point in doing it if you’re doing it wrong – that’s a yellow brick road to injury city. Make sure you’re giving those muscles time to rest in between workouts – that’s just as important.
So, put down that meal-replacement shake and pick up some dumb bells. You can thank me when swimsuit and sundress season rolls around.