Well we all know which one we prefer when it comes to muscle vs fat. There are a number of misconceptions when it comes to these two subjects. There are certainly a few myths to debunk and it’s time to hear the truth about these tissues that compose our body’s structure.
By Megan Johnson McCullough
Let’s start with the basics. Muscle is the tissue of the body which functions as our power house. There are three types of muscle in the body.
- Skeletal muscle: moves our extremities
- Cardiac muscle: the HEART
- Smooth muscle: lines the walls of our blood vessels
Muscle is the more aesthetically pleasing tissue of the body. We associate words like “strong” and “toned” with muscle. Muscle taking on the meaning of “force”, “power”, and “volume”. We exercise and eat right to build it.
Then there’s that pesky fat. Fat is the soft tissue on the body. It helps to keep our bodies warm and can be used as an energy source. However, excess fat is associated with many health risks. It often increases with age. Fat finds its place and wants to call it home in the stomach, buttocks, thighs, and for woman under the arm. We live in a world that is at constant battle with fat. We exercise and eat right to prevent it. Body image is impacted by fat. It is feared and negatively looked upon. Fitness is the fight against fat.
Goodbye Fat, Hello Muscle!
Most of us want to replace fat with muscle. Say good bye fat and hello muscle. It then needs to be said that we aren’t exactly able to spot reduce fat. Certainly, we can emphasize target areas and pay a little more attention to detail on improvement zones. Yet, when our body uses the energy to perform tasks, it pulls from our energy sources collectively as a whole…. not just biceps for bicep curls.
Does muscle really weigh more than fat?
We all would say yes. The reality is that a pound is a pound. The truth is that if you look at five pounds of muscle and five pounds of fat side by side, the fat takes up more volume, or space, than the muscle. We tend to shoot for the learn muscle looks, not the flabby look of fat on our body. The best part about replacing fat with muscle is that the more muscle you have, the better your metabolism operates. This means that even at a resting/no activity state, you are burning more calories.
How can you lose 1 pound of fat?
Well, if 3,500 calories equals one pound, you would need to “burn” an extra 3,500 calories. So cutting 500 calories down every day (7 days per week) means you could lose 1 pound per week. The trouble with this theory is that all calories are not created equal and that activity levels vary. Calories in vs. calories out is the basic premise of weight loss. Easier said than does as most concepts in life are.
We need to lift weights because clearly having more muscle means we burn more. We know that the treadmill for hours doesn’t kill that fat like we want it to. So get that heart rate up and put those muscle to work by incorporating strength training. Muscle is a force of nature for your health. In order to “resist” the accumulation of fat on the body, you have to add resistance training.