One of the constant debates in bodybuilding centers on fat versus muscle. Is it really true that fat is heavier than muscle, or is it the other way around? Well, it is a fact that 1 pound of muscle weighs the same as 1 pound of fat, but then that is the case for any substance that is weighed. What’s different though, is their relative densities.
First, we define the terminologies – fat and muscle.
What Is Fat?
Fat is a brown colored substance present in the body, which is not very vascular and works as a tremendous reservoir of energy, especially when the body is starving and needs every bit of help it can get. However, for the most part, you don’t really need fats. Fats are in fact a throwback to the Stone Age era when our ancestors were hunters and gatherers, and often were on the brink of starvation. Fats kept them alive during those hard times.
What Is Muscle?
Muscle are lean and healthy tissue that attach themselves to the bones and provide the critical work that the body needs for most of its activities. Muscles provide that force that is required, whether to keep the heart beating or food moving. Muscles are critical for our survival. They give us strength, they keep us going. Muscles help us perform hard physical tasks.
Fat Vs Muscle: It’s All About Density!
While a pound of muscle may weigh the same as a pound of fat, the difference lies in the density. Muscles have an 18% higher density than fat. What that means is, a higher concentration of muscle results is a leaner body composition because of the fact that muscles are denser and hence occupy less volume.
However fat is not dense, and it occupies a lot of space, and so if your body is composed of extra fat, because of overeating or an unhealthy lifestyle, this results in a bloating of the body. In other words, too much fat causes obesity, and obesity is a serious epidemic in the United States, where 35% of the population can be considered to be obese.
Also, the concept of density means that when you work out at the gym, and do a plenty of resistance training exercises, you may not automatically weigh less on the weighing scales. Indeed, you may find yourself actually having increased your weight. Don’t be alarmed, because this means you have picked up more muscle, which has added to your weight. How can you be sure?
Try wearing the jeans that you used to wear when you were younger and much fitter, which you’d given up wearing recently because it had become too tight for you.
Chances are that after a month of resistance training in the gym and running on the treadmill, the jeans may not fit you perfectly! So, although you weight a few pounds more, you are much fitter and leaner now because you have built more lean muscle.
For lean muscle, you should have foods that are rich in proteins such as beef, chicken, fish, egg white and so on. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have foods that provide fat at all.
You should have food that provides healthy fats such as tofu, nuts, egg, peanut butter and so on. This keeps you energetic as well as lean and healthy. And to build a hard, lean body, in addition to a protein rich diet, you should make a habit of working out regularly.