If you’re fixating on the scales then you might have a bit of a surprise when you’ve been working out and the numbers start rising.
Of course muscle doesn't actually weight more - a pound of muscle is the same weight as a pound of fat. However, the composition of muscle is denser than fat so when you see an increase in the scale digits, there’s no need to be concerned.
Muscle is denser than fat, and with that in mind, it’s really important not to fixate on weighing yourself. The more muscle you gain, the leaner you will look, even though the scales may not show you are getting lighter. That's because you are not getting lighter. You are getting leaner though!
If you’re eating right, hitting your target workouts and getting good sleep, then all is well and any weight gain you see will be in the way of more defined muscle.
The reason muscle weighs more than fat is because it’s made of long fibres which are tightly woven together. Fat is different because it’s made up of droplets, which although stick together, have empty spaces in between. So fat takes up more space, but weighs less.
Your perfect muscle to fat ratio takes in a lot of factors, such as age, gender, and your fitness level.
In the UK, the NHS takes more notice of BMI (Body Mass Index), but to give an idea of the ratio you can get smart scales, fitness trackers, or use the old fashioned calipers for an idea of where you are.
As well as the bad fat (saturated – think doughnuts, chocolate, biscuits etc), don’t forget the good fats (unsaturated – avocados, nuts, omega-3 essential fatty acids.) Good fats are healthy in moderation.
Keep exercising and you’ll build more muscle, tone up and feel better generally.
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most people in normal mental health know how their weight is doing, and when it is time to cut down. Scales are a quick and low-tech method of keeping an eye, but I agree that they aren't much help when you start serious training.
BMI just confuses me so I just go by weight still. Saying that, I rarely weight myself anyway as am pretty slim so just keep on exercising and eating healthy and rarely think about muscle and fat and weight.
all quite right, but when winter left me with a tight belt AND a higher reading on the scales, there's no escape. Cut down on the snacks and get to the gym because that is not caused by stomach muscle!
Another one here who doesn't see the point in scales in terms of day to day weighing. But I have a friend who does serious bodybuilding and he needs to know his weight in order to enter into particular categories when he's competing.
Ashley C, well said. I haven't owned a set of scales for at least 5 years. I have still exercised and lost weight but on my own terms. I imagine it is frustrating when people ask how much I have lost because I have simply no idea!
The best decision I ever made in terms of my weight was to get rid of the scales. I don['t obsess. I just worry, I just eat healthy and feel my bodyshape gradually improve.