Joey Vaillancourt Fitness
From Joey, Miscellaneous

Bodyweight vs Muscle Weight Explained

December 28, 2009 by Joey Vaillancourt · 149 Comments 

Today I wanted to explain the difference between muscle and fat.

ManOnScale

Now I know at a glance it seems like a pretty bland topic, but if could dig deeper, I’d like to explain the differences between total weight vs muscle.

So I want to take a minute before getting into this to explain where I am coming from.

when I was younger, I used to follow hockey all the time. Naturally I was curious as to what training they did and what WEIGHT those players were at.

So one particular player who will remain unamed, stood out to me. I learned that he was about 185lbs. I at the time was 180lbs.

This had me very confused…why did this hockey dude look so much bigger than me but we were almost the same weight.

I am sure I am not the only one who didnt know the difference betweem weight and body composition so I felt I should try and explain this today.

So for those of you who dont know, generally speaking we are made up of muscle and fat.

Therefore if someone just goes by the scale weight and they dont take into consideration bodyfat percentage, they will be misinformed to a degree.

So back to the hockey player. Like I said, I was really confused about why there was such a size difference but we we almost the same weight.

I only learned later on about the difference of muscle and fat. The hockey guy was probably at about 6% body fat, while at the time I was at about 17% bodyfat.

So lets do the math quickly.

Hockey Dude:
185lbs
6% Body fat
= 174lbs of muscle 11lbs fat

Me at the time:
180ls
= 150lbs of muscle and 30lbs of fat

Thats a difference of almost 25lbs of muscle. On top of that, but I had an extra 19lbs of fat compared to him.

Now you have to know, the less bodyfat you have, the more muscular you will appear regardless of your weight.

Also, muscle is denser than fat, making it appear much ‘bigger’ on your body.

That is why he looked so much bigger…because he had alot more muscle.

You cannot rely on weight alone.

Another example was once after cutting fat for several months, I was very lean, about 6% fat. But along the way, I lost about 5lbs of muscle to get down to that low percentage. However, there was not one person who said I looked ‘out of shape’.

In fact, more people complimented me on my physique when I was LEAN as opposed to when I was BULKY. I looked way more defined at 6% than I did at about 15%.

So even though I lost a bit of muscle, because I lost all the fat, I appeared much more muscular and big.

Just to further make my point, I was talking with some people once at a supper and we started talking about fitness. He had asked about body fat and asked what’s the leanest I had ever been.

Now naturally I thought, hey maybe this guy knows what he is talking about since he knows about body composition.

I quickly learned the opposite as I told him I was once at 6% body fat and he said ‘that is too small and skinny for my liking, I would never get that small’.

This is a common misconception.

Bodyfat really doesnt represent a size factor as much as it defines the fitness level and conditioning of a person.

All the top bodybuilders get down to 6% bodyfat and they are about 230-260lbs.

Is that SMALL? Hell no!

On the same subject, people who are trying shed bodyfat often get frustrated because of this lack of understanding.

For example; a peron starts a diet and exercise routine. 3 weeks later they realize they have gained lets say 1-2lbs. They get upset and ’say this is working, I just keep gaining weight’.

Now to be fair, it could be fat BUT that weight gain could be lean mass or better know as muscle.

If you just judge your progress by total weight loss then I can see why you would be upset. But you need to make sure you know what you are gaining and/or losing.. Fat or Muscle.

If you gain 1lb of muscle on a fat loss phase, thats tremendous!

Stop thinking one dimensionally. Its not just about your weight, its about body fat vs. muscle. I can almost guarantee you will look more muscular at a lower bodyfat percentage than you would at a higher.

I know I look much more in shape and muscular when I am at about 8-10% than when I am at 15%, even if I am 10lbs lighter.

I hope this cleared this subject up and ends those useless locker room debates about who weighs more!

Let me know your thoughts,

Joey

Comments

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