muscle is more dense than fat….
…so the scales are not always the best way to measure fat loss.
This is so very true. A weight scale is just one tool that you can use to measure your health, perhaps. One pound of solid muscle is smaller looking because it is more dense compared to a pound of fat that is less dense and takes up more room. The scale does not take this into consideration. All it is really designed for is the overall weight but the person standing on it.
When someone is on a weight loss program a few things could be happening.
1 – A person could be losing only fat in which case this is the best case scenario and the scale is a good tool.
2 – A person could be losing a bit of fat as well as muscle. This is bad! The scale won’t be able to tell you this.
3 – A person could actually be losing muscle and not any fat. This is the worst!!! And once again the scale won’t be able to tell you this.
The best way to use a scale is with a partnership with your body fat percentage calculation. Knowing your overall body weight and your body fat percentage you can then figure out your lean muscle mass and actual poundage of fat you have. You can use a skin fold test with a calliper to figure out your body fat percentage or use a scale that electronically figures out your fat percentage. There is other methods to figuring out your body fat as well. Once you know the body fat percentage and overall body weight you can figure out your lean mass and fat mass and watch your progress from there.
Here’s an example:
Person A weights 200lbs, they did a skin fold test and figure out their body fat is roughly 20%. They take their 200lbs and times it by .20 to get a number of 40. This tells them they have a lean mass of 160 pounds and 40 pounds of fat. If there goal is to strictly lose fat they will want to monitor their body fat percentage and lean mass each week. Ideally what should happen is the lean mass stays at 160lbs and the body fat poundage should be dropping each week. If the lean mass is dropping then they are losing precious muscle.
Person B is 200lbs and they figured out their body fat % is 15%. Their goal is to gain muscle mass and lean out a bit. They would first figure out their lean muscle and fat mass. So 200 X .15 is 30 pounds of fat and 170 pounds of lean mass. So if they go on a program to gain lean muscle mass and lean out a bit they should see a drop in fat and a increase in lean mass. Let’s stay it has been a month now and they weighted themselves and did a body fat percentage calculations and figured out these numbers. They weighted in at 205lbs and body fat is now 14%. After the calculations the numbers reveal the following. 28.7 pounds of fat and 175.3 pounds of lean mass. This tell us they Person B lost 1.3 pounds of fat and gained 6.5 of lean muscle. That is great!
The scale would not be able to tell you those numbers. When trying to lose fat, gain muscle, or do both you need to know how to figure out your body fat %/weight as well as your lean mass weight. They will help you determine what is going on in your body. Also looking in the mirror helps give you a visual feedback as numbers are really only numbers.
ALso here is a video of the Taekwondo grading this past Friday night here at Cobourg Tae Kwon Do
Master Jonathan Field
Cobourg Tae Kwon Do Ltd. – Northumberland County’s #1 Martial Arts Academy
Cobourg Tae Kwon Do University – Online Taekwondo/Martial Arts Training