“Muscle weighs more than fat.”
You may have heard this before… It’s confusing. After all, one pound is one pound. And one pound of muscle weighs one pound. One pound of fat also weighs one pound.
When people say this, what they really mean is that a pound of muscle takes up less space than fat. It’s a more dense tissue. This is why it’s more desirable to have a more muscular frame than a fatter frame.
But there’s more. Fitness and health myths spread like wildfire… So let’s knock some of these myths surrounding fat and muscle out of the water. What’s wrong and what’s right?
Myth #1: You can convert fat to muscle.
Wrong. You can’t transform fat into muscle tissue. This isn’t how the body works.
Exercise – specifically challenging exercise or strength training – forces the muscles to adapt. When the muscles are placed under stress, they come back stronger and bigger. They grow. You aren’t transforming fat into muscle.
But you also need to use your muscles for this to happen and to maintain this. Having more muscle will increase your metabolism which will allow you to burn more calories at rest.
Myth #2: The scale is all that matters.
If you’re strength training, you will inevitably put on muscle mass. This muscle mass may add to your total body weight. But it doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad. In fact, even though you may be putting on weight, your body measurements may have decreased – which means you actually are slimmer.
The lesson here? Don’t trust the scale. It won’t tell you whether you’re losing fat or gaining muscle. It will just tell you your total body weight, which sometimes, doesn’t mean all that much.
Myth #3: Your diet doesn’t matter.
When it comes to building muscle, your diet matters more than you think. It also matters when it comes to your body fat percentage. If you’re eating unhealthy and low nutrient-dense food, you probably won’t be building strong muscle or decreasing the fat in your body. In fact, you’ll probably be putting on more fat rather than muscle.
You want to make sure you have sufficient proportions of protein, carbohydrates, and fats in your diet. This will help you adjust your body composition and get to your desired body and shape.
Myth #4: Women “bulk up” when they lift weights.
This is so far from the truth. You might bulk up a bit if you’re lifting really heavy weights… but when it comes down to it, the female body doesn’t produce enough testosterone to get quite as beefy as the guys. Most likely, you’ll gain lean muscle mass and look slimmer.
Myth #5: Long cardio bouts will burn fat.
While somewhat true, there are better ways – including strength training to build more muscle and thus, burn more calories at rest. You can also do interval training (like the workouts provided by Duwe Fitness) to give your metabolism a boost which lasts long after your workout is done.
Muscle and Fat: Don’t Believe Everything You Read
The internet is great for info – but also not-so-great since it tends to spread a lot of false information.
In an ideal world, females should aim for a body fat percentage around 21-33%. Men should aim for about 8-19%.
Research shows that more muscle is associated with living longer. But ultimately, the choice is yours. Strength training a few times a week has shown to have an array of benefits for health and longevity. But you are the one that has to put in the work. No one will do it for you. Show yourself what you’re made of. And remember, don’t believe everything you read!