Does Muscle Really Weigh More Than Fat?

“Muscle weighs more than fat.” Does it really? You’ve probably heard that line if you’ve ever searched for ways to lose weight or talked to well meaning fitness professionals. It’s semantics that are confusing us and causing some misconceptions.

When someone says that muscle weighs more than fat, what they are trying to say is that if you filled a container full of fat cells and another container of the same size full of muscle cells, because muscle cells are more dense, the container would weigh more (and there’d be a lot more muscle cells than fat cells in number.)

What does this mean for those of us trying to “lose weight”? It’s not really weight that we’re trying to lose. We’re trying to get rid of fat and gain muscle. We are trying to be more compact or “take up less space” ha ha! Your answer then is to gain muscle. Strength training and resistance training 2-3 times a week will help you to build muscle. I’m not talking bulky muscle, I’m talking about developing your muscle cells all ready present in your body to rev your metabolism, burn more calories by having more active tissue (muscle is active, fat is not) and change your shape.

Ladies, you will NOT get bulky by lifting weights and gaining muscle, but you will be leaner and change your size. Case in point below. This is a friend of mine who shared these pictures with me last night. He weighs the same, but looks totally different doesn’t he? I’m not referring to his tan either.

Here are his stats:
Down 6% body fat
Down 10.5 pounds of fat
From 36 to 32 inch waist
Gained over 8 pounds muscle

I know a lot of people that might say, “I only lost 2 pounds this month!” and then be discouraged by that. If you are strength training, eating optimum nutrition and you get results like my friend, Ryan, I think we could all be happy about just 2 pounds as long at 10 pounds of fat are shed and we gain 8 pounds of muscle (and drop 4 inches in our waist!)

If you don’t know where to start with strength training or you’re not sure whether you’re getting optimum nutrition, I’d be happy to help. Send me a note to and we’ll fill your container with muscle cells and peanuts rather than oranges and fat cells!

To dig in deeper to this:
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “The Under Appreciated Role of Muscle in Health and Heart Disease“

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