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Does Muscle Weigh More Than Fat?

Here we go again. Another well known nutrition blogger said in his article that “muscle weighs more than fat”. He goes on to explain that since muscle weighs more than fat, you can lose fat, gain muscle, and yet still weight the same. And that by losing fat and gaining muscle, your clothes may fit a bit looser.

The fact that you can lose fat and gain muscle…and still weigh the same but your clothes fitting looser is true, but is it because muscle weighs more than fat?

Let me ask you a simple question: How much does a pound of fat weigh, and how much does a pound of muscle weigh?

Answer: a pound.

So why does muscle weigh more than fat? A pound of muscle will weigh the same as a pound of fat. It cannot be any other way.

But there is a difference between the two. Muscle is much denser than fat. Notice the photo:

muscle and fat

The scale on the left is holding what represents 5 lbs of fat, and the scale on the right shows what 5 lbs for muscle would look like. The muscle is denser than the fat, and it takes up about 25% of the space that fat does. That’s a significant amount.

Many of our clients have noticed a drop in two to three sizes even if they do not lose any scale weight after a couple of months of training. It does seem like a miracle when it happens.


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Since we are on the topic of gaining muscle, there is a bit of confusion as to how much muscle can be gained in a couple months of training. The photo above gives the impression that gaining five pounds of muscle is doable. That is not true. Building muscle is a hard thing to do. You have to train with high intensity, taking sets deep into fatigue to get a muscle building response..and when you do, it is a little bit of muscle. Very little, maybe a gram or two from a single workout.

Given enough time, it adds up. For women, they can gain roughly 2 to 4 pounds of muscle within six months. Men build muscle a little faster, and a bit more. They can see 4 to 8 pounds in six months.

It is a process that takes hard work, time, and patience, but the rewards are so worth it.


Gregg Hoffman

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