A Healthy You: Does Muscle Weigh More than Fat?
A pound of muscles weighs the same as a pound of fat. Just like a pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of bricks. But muscles are more dense than fat, which means it takes up less space than fat.
So if you are really working out hard, you may have gained some muscle mass, but look like you have lost weight since the muscles take up less space.
Muscles are more metabolic than fat, which means they burn more calories even when you are at rest. Muscle is critical in improving bone density and helps prevent the loss of muscle mass that occurs with aging.
The overall goal of health is to get the look of muscle and not the flabby look of fat. The goal should be to lift weights 2-3 times a week with one day off for muscle recovery. Rest and recovery are just as important as workout days since is it actually during rest periods when your muscles grow larger and change.
To build muscle, you need to use more resistance than you are used to. To avoid plateaus, you need to increase your intensity regularly. You can do this by changing your reps, changing the exercise or changing the type of resistance. Strength training can include lifting weights, resistance bands and yoga.
Remember not to get frustrated by the number on the scale, especially if you are working out harder. Pay attention to how your clothes are fitting and how much more energy you have.
A Healthy You is a regular column about nutrition, healthy living and cancer care. It is written by Cindy Gates, RD and LD and the Cancer Center’s Oncology dietitian, herbalist and Certified Wellness Coach.