By Eric Said - Leader of Learning
on Tuesday, 7 February 2017
  • Personal Trainers
  • Fitness Industry
  • Health

Muscle weighs more than fat.  This is a myth I have heard clients say for 20 years. 

Please note that 1kg of muscle is the same as 1kg of body fat, however, the surface area that each cover is different.  Muscle has a greater density than body fat and covers less surface area if laid out on a table.

The images illustrate that you cannot use bodyweight and a set of scales to solely determine body composition.  The client is considerably smaller in girth measurements comparative to her previous image, yet she weighs 4kg more.

As a personal trainer and fitness professional I no longer weigh clients unless they request it as an extrinsic motivator or metric for them to achieve their goals.  At the College campus we have three sets of scales available for clients and learners to access, yet we do not proclaim it.  Never the less, we encourage metrics such as waist to hip ratio, as well as girth measurements to assess changes in body composition. 

Understanding how to lose body fat as opposed to gaining muscle (hypertrophy) will be dependent upon the training zone, and in turn target heart rate in beats per minute (bpm).

We have mentioned many times before that you lose body fat through expiration (breathing).  Therefore, you must breathe heavily to lose body fat.  The recommended minimum heart rate must be 65% of 220 minus your age.

I would not be concerned if you train way above and outside this percentile, as you will not commonly witness a marathon runner with excessive body fat who trains at a rate of perceived exertion of 85-95%.

Another fact you must consider is how many calories are required to burn the macronutrients, protein and fat.

Fat requires 9 calories to burn 1 gram whereas protein requires 4 calories to also burn 1 gram.

To calculate how much macronutrients to consume in a healthy diet can be determined by finding out your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and energy requirements using BMR metric calculators.

When this BMR is calculated along with the amount of daily activity you perform you can then discover how much fat and protein you can consume.

If you use a textbook 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 20% fat.  For arguments sake, if you have a 2000 caloric diet then you may want to use this calculation:

Protein : 30 / 100 = 0.3 x 2000 (calories) = 600 / 4 = 150 grams of protein consumed daily

Fat : 20 / 100 = 0.2 x 2000 (calories) = 400 / 9 = 44 grams pf fat consumed daily.

By demystifying the notion of fat versus muscle (protein) you will appreciate the picture and the client’s achievement in losing body fat while developing muscle tone and muscle mass, which is smaller in surface area yet increased in density.  Congratulations and worth sharing post.

Continue to work hard and leave the scales behind.


Eric Said - Leader of Learning