I think we all have heard someone tell us that when we aren’t losing weight that we are just gaining muscle.
While, I would like to be uber encouraging and say that’s the truth, it is somewhat of a myth. Let me explain.
Truth: Muscle is more dense than fat.
Myth: Muscle weighs more than fat.
If you put five pounds of muscle on a scale and you put five pounds of fat on a scale then they are going to both weigh….umm…. five pounds. If you looked at both of them on the scale though, the muscle would take a smaller physical space. If the space that your body occupies (your weight) is made up of more muscle, then you are going to burn through calories easier (hence why you should lift weights). This is why you see overweight people eat less than smaller muscular people simply because they have more muscle.
Truth: You can be the same body fat percentage with more muscle and you are going to be a bigger person (duh).
Myth: When you start the weight loss process and you aren’t seeing the scale move, it’s probably muscle growth.
Muscle development takes time. If you aren’t seeing results in the scale in the first few weeks of weight loss, then that is not muscle growth. It just simply does not happen that fast. You can lose a pound of fat MUCH quicker than you can gain a pound of muscle. Some sources say that you can only gain one pound of muscle effectively per MONTH while we know that we lose a pound or more of fat per week. This gets into the big debacle of a bulk but even my husband cracks me up telling he gained 7lbs one week as if he is excited. BOY, USE YOUR BRAIN. You did not gain 7lbs of muscle! haha! You ate too many waffles ;)
Back to the original point, fat loss. What you are experiencing when the scale does not move is a lack of fat loss not a gain of muscle weight. Most likely if you aren’t trying to lose weight then you have reduced your caloric intake making it even harder to gain muscle.
I’m not wanting to switch the focus to the scale. This is quite the opposite but I want you to know that if you are looking for fat loss and aren’t getting this then you have not created a low enough caloric deficit for your body. HOWEVER, you don’t want to go too low. This will cause something called “adaptive thermogenesis” but it’s going to take a lot to take your body to this point in which your body has been starved for so long that it accepts this as the amount that it takes to run your body. You want to create the optimal environment: lose weight on the highest amount of calories that your body can handle.
How can you do this?
1. LIFT HEAVIER WEIGHTS!
2. Create a bigger caloric deficit.
3. Spend valuable time with a coach building your metabolism. Don’t expect to go into metabolism building to lose weight. Go into it expecting to change your entire future. You might even gain sometimes, but the most important thing to remember is that it will be WORTH THE TIME SPENT. This way in the future you won’t have to create such a steep caloric deficit to get that fat loss because of the adaptive thermogenesis that you created for your body by starving it too much.
With love and muscle density,