Fat vs Muscle: 4 Myth-Busting Truths

It’s amazing how easily people adopt certain beliefs or principles just because it sounds good. People spew out headlines from the latest magazine articles without even thinking twice. Or they take pieces of information someone shares with them in the gym, without even questioning it, or researching it further. We are too gullible  As a result, the world is riddled with partial truths, misunderstandings and downright lies.

Get After the Truth – pFACT or pFICTION?

Here are 4 statements that are often either misunderstood or just plain wrong. Find out if these claims are fact or fiction.

1. Muscle weighs more than fat. 

If you fill one container full of fat, and another matching container full of muscle, the container of muscle would outweigh the container of fat. If you needed the two containers to weigh the same, you’d have to remove some of the muscle to balance the scale. To help our clients understand this better, we actually bought a replica of 5lbs of fat and 5lbs of muscle to show our clients. With the help of our replicas, it’s now easy to see why you would weigh the same but appear smaller if you were to lose 5lbs of fat and gain 5lbs of muscle. Also, it is shocking to see just how BIG 5lbs of fat is. We often act like gaining, or losing, 5lbs is no big deal – but you can see here that it is indeed a HUGE deal. Answer: pFACT. Muscles does weigh more than fat.

2. Muscle can make you bigger.

Look at the replica of 5lbs of muscle. It is clearly smaller than its equal weight in fat – I’d guess at least two-thirds the size. Food makes you bigger, not muscle. And, muscle can get stronger without necessarily getting bigger. If you keep your calories the same and workout, you’ll likely change your shape but not your weight – gaining muscle and losing fat. If you do this, you will actually be smaller, not bigger. The problem is, many people who start lifting weights tend to eat more (thinking they can “afford” to eat more). Or, if they boost their protein, they forget to reduce calories from other substrates to make room. As a result, they accidentally increase their overall calories, causing weight gain. Answer: pFICTION. Muscle can’t bulk you up unless you eat to bulk up.

3. Muscle can turn into fat.

Muscle is always muscle, and fat is always fat. Muscle can’t change its very nature and turn itself into fat, or bone, or anything else for that matter. However, it can decrease in size (muscle waste) if it’s not used and perserved. And, in the event you lose muscle mass, your metabolism can slow down causing weight gain. Another issue is people, like football players and other young athletes, continue to eat how they ate when they were active. As they slow down, their eating should slow down as well. That’s why many once-fit football players are now fat ex-football players. They pack fat on top of their muscle simply because they don’t adjust their eating to fit their new activity (or non-activity) level. Answer: pFICTION. Muscle doesn’t turn to fat.

4. Muscle helps you burn fat.

Muscle is less efficient than fat. Muscle is like a Dodge Viper, and fat is more like a Toyota Prius. Another words, muscle burns through the gas (calories) faster than fat. 1 gram of fat gives you 9 calories of energy, but 1 gram of protein only gives you 4 calories. So, you can see how fat stores give you more “mileage” per say. Why this is important to understand is because we want to BLAST through the calories, we don’t want a fat efficient body. We want a gas guzzling muscle car body that burns gas like crazy. With that said, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn – which is very helpful when you are trying to lose weight. Answer: pFACT. A muscular body burns more calories, even at rest.

#GetAfterIt! Ten-Four Good Buddy

As a ambassador for Reebok, I have to say, I’m proud that Reebok is encouraging people to “get after it” (that’s why you may see the hashtag #getafterit in many of my tweets.) It’s not enough to “just do it” we need to GET AFTER IT – and chase your goal like never before. “Get After It” has a sense of urgency, a sense of forward motion, a sense of of taking something all the way to the finish line. Get After it isn’t easy. It’s not just showing up – it’s being in it to win it. As a CrossFit partner, Reebok wants you to put your body to the test and train like a champ. If you are ready to get after it, burn fat and tone muscle with this intense BCx circuit! Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

TEN-FOUR BCx WORKOUT

10 rounds of the following 4 exercises for time with little to no rest. You can slow down, but try not to stop.

10 Jax

10 Burpees

10 Push-ups

10 Sit-ups

10 ROUNDS FOR TIME

Note: Track your time each time to track your improvement.

Try more BCx Workouts on our BCx Youtube or Join in our online BCx Boot Camp program at FitStudio.

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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About Bonnie Pfiester

Fitness Columnist and Lifestyle Coach, Resident Trainer for Designer Whey, Fitness Advisor for FitStudio, powered by Sears, FitFluential Ambassador and Owner of Max Fitness Club, home of BCx Boot Camp in Vero Beach, Florida.

Posted on October 31, 2012, in BCx Boot Camp, Health, PFIT TIPS, Weight Loss and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Nice article.
    How can one tell if their muscles are growing?
    Is there a device that measures body muscle percentage?

    • yes, we use the InBody. It normally is in doctor’s offices. You can also do a fat caliper test. If your fat goes down and weight stays the same, you know you are losing fat and gaining muscle. But, the InBody is the best for sure! It tells you how many pounds of muscle you have so you can track it. (as well as fat, water and other things)

  2. Remember the “big three,” and include these exercises in your routine. These bulk-building exercises include squats, bench presses, and dead lifts. Not only do these exercises add bulk, but they condition your body and improve your strength. Try to include some variation of these exercises in workouts on a regular basis.

  3. It isn’t only athletes that forget to adjust their food intake for less activity. Just not moving as much, whether from an accident or illness, can change your ability to maintain.

  4. Hi Bonnie,
    Where did you buy the fat & muscle replicas from?
    Thanks

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