What Weighs More: Muscle or Fat?

5 pounds of fat vs muscle


What Weighs More: Muscle or Fat?

Even as a kid, I used to hear that muscle weighs more than fat. Usually, it was my older brothers telling me this (a skinny kid six years younger than them) as they bragged about how much they were weighing according to my mom’s scale she kept in the bathroom. 

But it almost seems like one of those trick questions you often hear from teachers looking to show their superior intellect. 

Which weighs more: A pound of feathers or a pound of rocks? 

Of course, if you are talking about weight alone, a pound of feathers weighs exactly the same as a pound of rocks. 


Difference between muscle and fat

Muscle Is Much More Dense

As you can notice from the picture up above, five pounds of muscle could just about fit perfectly in your hand. However, the five pounds of fat would take both hands to hold and then some. Muscle is much more dense than fat. It is solid. While fat is sort of like that oozy slime that could slip through your fingers when you played with it as a child. 


Guy working out in gym

Adding Five Pounds of Muscle to Your Frame

If you are lean to begin with, adding five pounds of muscle to your body may not be too noticeable as it is distributed to certain muscle groups. Still, it will mean you are getting stronger and only good things can come of it. 

But on the other hand, if you add five pounds of fat to a rather lean body, there are really only a few places that fat will disperse to. Most of the time, it seems to settle in right around the belly if you are a man. If you are a woman, the hips, stomach, and glutes are all fair game. And since five pounds of fat seems to be about four to five times the size of five pounds of muscle, that extra fat is going to be quite visible for most. 



What Does This Mean For Those of Us That Like to Workout?

First off, if you are trying to ascertain how healthy you are, the scale is just one tool you can use. A tape measure, mirror, progess pics, and fitness metrics (1 rep max, total reps of a certain weight, mile time, etc) sare other tools that can be just as important as a scale. 

I say this because if you are weighing a solid 200 pounds and are approximately six feet tall, you may fall into the “obese” category according to your doctor’s chart. However, you would be far from being considered overweight if looking in the mirror or taking measurements with that tape measure. 

As an example, a man weighing a muscular 200 pounds will look very different than a 200-pound man that is carrying around a lot of extra fat on his frame. Just one example would be the waist size. A lean man of this size may have a waist size of 32 or 33 inches. But the other man that has more fat than muscle could have a 38-inch waist size or possibly more. 

The bottom line is that the less fat you are carrying around and the more muscle you have on your frame will help you live a higher quality of life well into your golden years. 

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