Does Muscle Really Weigh More Than Fat?

Posted On Sep 8, 2020 By BowFlex Insider Team

A woman performing a barbell upright row

Over the years, we’ve all heard the phrase “muscle weighs more than fat,” but have you ever looked into the science behind this old myth? When you stop to think about it, a pound of feathers is the same as a pound of bricks, right? So, what’s the difference?

Well, size for one. That same pound of feathers is going to be much larger than a pound of bricks, which are much denser. In fact, one pound of muscle is the size of a tangerine, while a pound of fat is a bit larger – about the size of a small grapefruit.

Therefore, it’s not that muscle weighs more than fat, rather it has a higher density than fat – taking up less room per pound.

The other main difference between muscle and fat is how each impacts your body. An extra 20 pounds of fat is going to give you a softer appearance, while an extra 20 pounds of muscle is likely to leave you looking toned. Additionally, while building muscle is good for your health, excess fat can have a negative impact on your overall wellness – giving you more reasons than your appearance to stay fit.

A woman using a barbell

It’s important to know how your body composition plays a role in your health. The effects of being overweight can include higher risks for health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Additionally, excess weight is hard on your joints and can even contribute to conditions, like osteoarthritis, as you age.

On the other hand, additional benefits of building muscle include regulating your metabolism and blood sugar, supporting joints and even increasing bone density, as well as building overall strength and stamina to do the activities you enjoy. Further, building muscle can have a positive impact on your mental health by partaking in regular endorphin boosting exercise or enjoying the physiological results of your hard work. It’s no secret that it’s easier to feel good when you also like the way you look.

So in conclusion, this myth has been busted – muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat. However, due to muscle’s higher density it has the ability to add pounds to the scale without adding as much volume or bulkiness to your appearance as fat.