What You Should Know About Muscle vs. Fat
15 Oct 2020
If you’re just getting started on your fitness journey, then it’s likely you’ve done some research about how to build muscle and lose fat. This is ultimately everyone’s goal when working out, regardless of whether you want to tone up or slim down. Unfortunately, there are quite a few misconceptions about muscle vs. fat that can lead you astray. So, to help you figure out what your body needs in order to reach your fitness goals, we’re breaking down what you need to know about muscle vs. fat.
Muscle and Fat are Not Interchangeable
You may have been told a time or two that if you don’t work out and use your muscles, they’ll eventually turn into fat. This isn’t true at all. Muscle and fat are two completely different tissues within the human body, and they are not interchangeable. As you start adjusting to a regular fitness routine, your fatty tissues may start to shrink, and your muscle tissues may start to grow. Over time, this is what causes your body to change, not the exchanging of muscle for fat or vice versa.
Muscle is Denser Than Fat
While a pound of muscle and a pound of fat will weigh the same on a scale, they don’t exactly look alike on the body. This is because muscle tissues are denser and more compact compared to fatty tissues, which allows them to take up less space within your body. For this reason, people who consistently work out to build muscle and lose fat will appear leaner to the eye, even if they haven’t lost any weight. This is why it’s better to find a more reliable way to measure your fitness progress, such as taking body measurements or looking at your body composition, rather than only relying on the scale.
Not All Measurements Will Account for Muscle vs. Fat
There are many ways to track your fitness progress, but not every method of tracking your results will help you determine how much muscle and fat you have. For example, like we mentioned above, weight is not ideal for determining your muscle and fat content because muscle is denser than fat. The BMI scale (Body Mass Index) is another popular method for measuring progress, but it also is not a great representation, as it doesn’t take into account how much weight is from muscle or fat.
Looking at your actual body composition is a better method of measuring your progress because this will give you a breakdown of fat vs. muscle. Your ideal body fat percentage is going to be different from someone else’s. There are many factors that affect what your ideal body fat percentage should be, including age, gender, activity level, etc.
Another effective way to track your progress is using simple body measurements around your arms, waist, chest, legs. Etc. This will show you how many inches are lost due to fat shrinking and muscle growing, even if your weight isn’t fluctuating.
Many of our 9Round studios offer InBody scans, which will tell you about your body composition, down to exactly how each arm and leg is composed! Be sure to ask your local studio if they offer any InBody programs to help you track your fitness progress.
Having More Muscle Helps You Burn More Calories
The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories your body can burn at rest. This is called your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), and the higher it is, the more efficient your body is at melting away unwanted fat. You can increase your RMR by increasing your muscle mass with consistent resistance training. This will help expedite your results, so you can reach your fitness goals faster. Plus, having more lean muscle mass compared to fat is important when it comes to preventing lifestyle-related diseases, such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and more.
Fat and Muscle Are Both Equally Important for Your Body
Always remember, fat is not your enemy. You may have a little excess fat you want to get rid of, but you should never aim for a body fat percentage lower than what’s recommended. Fat is an essential tissue within our body that protects our vital organs and helps them function. Without this fat, you have a higher risk of disease or injury. Muscle is also important for helping us control our movements, whether voluntary or involuntary. This is why it’s important to get regular exercise, so you can grow your muscles and prevent them from deteriorating with age.
Our fun kickboxing-themed workouts can help you reach your fitness goals when it comes to losing fat and building muscle. Come see how our HIIT-style exercise program can help you with a FREE Introductory Workout. Click the link below to sign up at your local 9Round studio, and we’ll see you soon for a KILLER workout!