Saturday, June 23, 2007

Muscle vs. Fat

I read a post over at Starling Fitness today that touched on one of my pet peeves, the old debate "Which weighs more, muscle or fat?"

We all know that one pound of anything is exactly the same, whether it's muscle and fat, or feathers and rocks. The point of the comparison, though is the volume of the items in question. If you look at a pound of muscle and a pound of fat side by side, the fat is going to take up more room, because the muscle is more dense. Which Laura at Starling Fitness does point out.

In my opinion, though, when people say that muscle weighs more than fat, they're talking about the weight of a given volume of muscle and fat. Take 2 containers, each measuring one foot high by one foot wide by one foot deep. Fill the first with muscle and fill the second with fat. Put them both on separate scales. Guess what? the box with muscle will weigh more that the box with fat!

I know that every time I've seen this subject come up online and someone's tried to explain this point of view before, invariably they've been told, "Yes, of course, but a pound is still a pound."

By the way, I'm not picking on Laura. She just raised the question, and she does mention the difference in volume. And she's also right that losing a pound is a great accomplishment, even though all of us are guilty at times of talking about losing "just a pound."

I think I just wanted to post this online so I could link to it in the future when the subject comes up again. Because we all know it will.

6 comments:

David Dane said...

I read your pet peeve. Hmmm, I think we want to keep the muscle and lose the fat. I get what you said about the muscle be more dense than fat and prepertionately taking up less room than the fat. I would say you are right.
I would have reminded people keep that muscle and burn up that fat. Which you do do in other posts. Good job. I getting something out of this.

David Dane said...

By the way, I can't spell..I read what I wrote that's terrible spelling do forgive my goofs....

David Dane said...

By the way, I can't spell..I read what I wrote that's terrible spelling do forgive my goofs....

Skinny Guy said...

Not to worry, David, I don't grade for spelling!

Thanks again for stopping by!

secondholly said...

That's one of my pet peeves too! I sometimes wonder whether the "a pound is a pound" people make the same argument when someone says that gasoline is more expensive at one gas station than another. After all, a dollar's worth is a dollar's worth, right?

Skinny Guy said...

Thanks, for stopping by, Holly.

Your comment reminds me of the time I was feeling especially devilish and asked the gas station attendant for 10 gallons of gas, not ten dollars worth. But I can be bad that way...