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Myth Busted: Muscle vs. Fat

Pictures like the one featured perform very well in social media. They’re also a standard argument for when clients encounter a bit of a plateau when it comes to weight loss. “muscle weighs more than fat”.
Which would indicate that you’re still making progress even though it doesn’t show up on the scale.

Although it’s true that you can make progress without it being visible on the scale , the difference in size/weight is often heavily exaggerated.

In pictures like this one, it seems like fat takes up about 5 times more space than muscle in terms of size. This would mean that muscle is about 5x heavier than fat if the size is the same. But is that really true?

The mass of tissue can be expressed in a volume unit such as the cubic centimeter (cm3).  Water is 1 gram per cm3, while a muscle weighs 1.06 grams per cm3 (UrbanChecka M 2001). Fat mass has a weight of 0.9 grams per cm3 and would, therefore, stay afloat. In ascending order we would rank fat, water and finally muscle mass. Muscles are at most a fifth (20%)  heavier than fat, not 500 percent, as the picture suggests. The picture below would be a more accurate representation of the actual relationship. But that’s not as spectacular as the fake version of course  😉

 

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