“Muscle weighs more than fat” – Why you shouldn’t rely solely on the scales! Mitchell Pateman AEP

I’m sure a lot of you have heard the above phrase more than once. While this statement may not be 100% correct there is some truth in it. So, what does it actually mean? To explain it simply muscle tissue is denser than fat tissue, meaning that for the same weight muscle takes up slightly less space than fat.

So how is this relevant? Don’t get me wrong, the scales have their place in monitoring our health and sudden increases or decreases in weight should not be ignored. That being said, the scales do not always give us a good indication of our health, chronic disease risk or even progress. Although the combination of height and weight can be used to ascertain body mass index (BMI), it does not give us a good representation of body composition, or more importantly, fat distribution.

For some people they may become disheartened after starting a structured exercise routine and failing to see a decrease in the weight on the scales. However, there may be a number of different reasons for this occurring, one of which could be due to a slight increase in muscle mass with a decrease in fat mass.

As you may be aware, central adiposity or the fat tissue that sits around our midsection greatly increases our risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Gaining an understanding of your body composition is integral in understanding your chronic disease risk. So, you might be wondering what you can do instead of relying on the scales to measure your progress.

There are a number of tools at your disposal, for instance a DEXA scan can provide you with an exact breakdown of your body composition, making it easy to track progress and chronic disease risk. Additionally, a simple waist and hip circumference measure can provide a good indication of chronic disease risk. Another option that can assist in tracking change in composition are things such as progress photos or changes in clothes sizes.

If you would like any further information regarding anything mentioned please do not hesitate to contact our team!