Does Muscle Really Weigh More Than Fat?


It’s one of those age old fitness myths that’s been around forever; “muscle weighs more than fat”! Here’s the bad news, a pound is a pound, no matter if it’s muscle or fat the two weigh the same. The good news is that one takes up considerably less space.

Muscle is designed to be functional as it serves to support and move your entire body. Muscle is also dense and fibrous, making it take up much less space than body fat. Because of this, a person with a high amount of muscle will appear leaner and smaller than someone with a large amount of body fat. In some instances, muscular individuals can even weigh more than their counterparts and still look smaller in size.

Looking better is a huge bonus, but adding muscle tissue to your body carries many more benefits! You’ll experience more energy, increased strength and just naturally your body will burn more calories. Every one pound of muscle requires around 10-15 more calories to exist than body fat.

This blog probably feels like a body fat beat down huh? However, we can’t forget that fat has its benefits as well. A reasonable amount of body fat is critical for our bodies to function optimally. Fat helps to regulate body temperature, produce sex hormones, provides cushioning for joints and also provides a form of energy!

After all this muscle and body fat talk, you’re probably asking yourself what is an acceptable body fat range for males and females? The American College of Sports Medicine states that males should aim for somewhere between 13 - 21%, while females should strive for 18 - 26%. Females are recommended to keep theirs a bit higher due to menstrual cycles and hormones.

If you’re not already in that range, here are some tips on how to get there:

  • 3-4 strength training sessions per week.

  • 4-6 meals per day, based around lean proteins, lots of vegetables, healthy fats and complex carbs when necessary.

  • 1-2 HIIT (high intense interval training) sessions per week, using implements such as; prowlers, SkiErg, Airdyne bike, slam balls and tire flips!

  • Sleep 6-8 hours per night.

Remember, do not put too much stake in the scale, base your progress off of how your clothes fit and your body composition measurements!

Brigham Van Etten