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3/6/13 7:10 P

This was so crazy I have been going through it with my friend over this topic! Thank you.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
3/6/13 7:05 P

Your statement was, as you put it, just what we tell ourselves. That's how we tell ourselves. You're absolutely right about it though, we do say "muscle weighs more than fat" and we should! No we shouldn't say "density" because that's clearly what we absolutely must mean when we say that anyway.

My comment was (I should have put this) directed at CHRISTYSMITH's argument against that phrase, not at you for using it. :)

People who insist you must talk about density and not say "muscle weighs more than fat" are probably people who insist you can't say "a pound of fat is 3,500 calories" without adding "but that's on average, and depends on a lot of variables, and your weight is about more than your fat, so you really can't take that as writ every single day of the week". If we had to clarify everything we said, imagine how long our posts would be! :)

Edited by: UNIDENT at: 3/6/2013 (19:06)
REBECCAS23 SparkPoints: (0)
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3/6/13 5:23 P

Good observation Unident. This is how I was looking at it. I suppose I should have said density rather than weight. Slips like that tend to confuse people.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
3/6/13 12:58 P

Of course muscle weighs more than fat.

We mean that the same way we mean that trucks weigh more than cars, I weigh more than you, or lead weighs more than aluminium.

Whenever anyone says "one thing weighs more than another thing" they are of course NOT thinking "a pound of this weighs more than a pound of the other". That is naturally impossible, and therefore cannot be what anyone meant.

What we mean, is that when you have an equal volume of truck, me, lead or muscle, that's going to weigh more than the same volume of car, you, aluminium or fat.

If we could never say "muscle weighs more than fat" then we could never say "I weigh more than you" because a pound of me weighs the same as a pound of you. :) The argument against "muscle weighs more than fat" is not very sound.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,429
3/6/13 6:51 A

I agree with the other posters - muscle gain typically happens only fairly gradually.

However, when you start/increase an exercise program, it is a common response for your muscles to retain water. This isn't muscle mass in the sense of the red fibery stuff, but it is lean mass.

5 lbs would not be unexpected, even as you continue to burn fat underneath.

And muscle is denser than fat -
has a great photo of this. The tape is often a much better means of tracking your progress than the scale.


REBECCAS23 SparkPoints: (0)
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3/6/13 2:22 A

Thank you all. These were great responses and validated some of my own thoughts.

Coach Nancy, yes, it is significant weight. I started following the lifting program Starting Strength and am close to my third month in with that. Still, I'm thinking water has more to do with things than muscle- squash those wishful thoughts, right? :)

Oh well, I will continue to consider inches and not just pounds and keep things up.

I appreciate the responses.

SP_COACH_NANCY SparkPoints: (0)
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3/5/13 10:52 P

Hi Rebecca,

Studies show that the amount of lean muscle mass a person can put on will vary according to the person's weight training schedule, the weight they are lifting (are you lifting a weight heavy enough to promote muscle hypertrophy--or growth), her diet (severely cutting calories can affect muscle hypertrophy), age (the older we are the less hormones we have circulating, especially estrogen for women and testosterone for me) and of course recovery time--an often overlooked step.

I have read that it may take 12 weeks of consistent strength training to put on 3 pounds of muscle, but remember the things I mentioned above, there are many factors that come into play. That being said, it is not unusual for your muscle to hang onto more water--which in part comes from your muscle cells loading up glycogen. This will settle down after a few weeks.

Long story short...strength training is an important part of your exercise routine, but it doesn't take years to achieve success.

I wish you well!

Coach Nancy

KCLIME12 SparkPoints: (0)
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3/5/13 10:15 P

I'm in the same boat. It's frustrating as hell, too. I lost 15 pounds, then stalled. I'm trying eating a little more since I was at the bottom of the bottom range - 1200 calories a day, and changing up the exercise I do from just running and weights to running, videos, and weights.

JCWIAKALA Posts: 347
3/5/13 9:53 P

My personal trainer said a typical woman can build about 1 pound of muscle a month through a steady program of strength training. So 5 pounds in a few weeks is not likely.

3/5/13 8:59 P

Muscle does not weight more than fat...A pound = a pound no matter what it is made up of. However, a pound of muscle takes up less room than a pound of fat. You may notice an increase in weight once you start lifting and doing consistent weight training. Go by measurements and how your clothes are fitting during this time. The weight will continue to come back off. Keep up the cardio.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (60,917)
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3/5/13 8:57 P

You don't put on muscle in a matter of days or weeks. It takes months or years, and generally a calorie surplus. You can improve the quality of the muscle at a calorie deficit, but you can't really build muscle mass. For women, especially, we see very small gains... certainly not 5 lbs in a couple of weeks.

It IS true that you can see an upward shift in weight when you start exercising, but it's not muscle gain. It's water retention! The explanation can be found here:

It's normal, natural, and will even out eventually.

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 3/5/2013 (20:58)
REBECCAS23 SparkPoints: (0)
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3/5/13 8:44 P

Hi guys,
So I had a couple of great weeks where I was mostly doing cardio and I lost about fifteen pounds, then I started getting into lifting (deadlift, overhead press, benchpress, and squats) and stopped losing weight and even put some back on. I know everyone always talks about "muscle weighing more than fat", but isn't that just something we all tell ourselves? I haven't stopped doing cardio, but wanted to ask if five pounds of muscle is actually reasonable to believe (I know it could be water weight/normal flux/etc,etc,etc, but it's been fairly consistent for that past two weeks. No loss, just gain, though not through any slacking on my part regarding getting to the gym.

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