Holistic Health

Yes, muscle weighs more than fat!

Can we please put this argument to rest? I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard people try to make the argument that muscle does not weigh more than fat, because “a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat.”

Well, yes, that is true. A pound of anything weighs the same as a pound of anything else. By the above rationale, one could say that lead does not weigh more than cotton balls.

Clearly, the argument is flawed.

The question is really one of weight by volume. If you were to take an equal amount (volume) of fat and muscle — say, 1 liter — the muscle would weigh more. Or put another way, that pound of cotton balls takes up a lot more space — or volume — than the pound of lead.

The picture above shows 5 pounds of fat and 5 pounds of muscle. Clearly, the fat has more volume. Specifically, 1 liter of muscle weighs 2.3 pounds, while 1 liter of fat weighs 1.98 pounds. So yes, the same amount (volume) of muscle weighs more than the same amount (volume) of fat.

Yes, muscle weighs more than fat.

This is why you shouldn’t focus too much on the number on the scale when you’re trying to lose weight — provided you are working out and building muscle. Two people can both weigh 150 pounds but have very different body compositions: one could have a lot of fat while the other is lean and muscular.

Instead, look at the shape of your body and your muscle definition. Pay attention to how your clothes fit and how much energy you have. In fact, instead of thinking about needing to lose weight, change your frame of mind to losing fat and building muscle. And please don’t ever say that a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle.

Photo from Fit Moms for Life Facebook page. If you know the original source, let me know!



  1. HAHAHA – YES! I love this post, and I’m always talking about this very topic, and sharing those same exact images.

    It’s crazy how most people whine about how they’re gaining weight when they’re going to the gym, so they give up and stop working out. I look forward to having my measurements taken at the end of every month so I can see exactly how much muscle I have gained, and how much fat I have lost! Sometimes my weight stays exactly the same, but I burn tons of fat.

    Excellent post!

    1. Thanks! I spend a lot of time lurking on weight-loss surgery forums to get article ideas for a client. This argument pops up repeatedly. I always have to say something about it!

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  3. I am struggling with this very much !!! I joined weight watchers and have lost 34 pounds and now I have been walking and running 4-5 times a week… Still watching everything in eating and now I have gained weight the last three weeks … I feel like I’m losing inches but haven’t measured myself but am getting discouraged…. So it’s true I could be losing inches but gaining weight … How long before I start losing weight again cause I am very very discouraged … Weight watchers is about the scale not the inches … Please keep me giving up !!!!!

    1. I am sorry you are so frustrated!! That is a shame they are all about the scale. There are so many more indicators of health! Weight loss is bound to slow down after the first few weeks, but that doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong. Your body is just adjusting. Try looking for other “non-scale victories” … can you fit into some of your old favorite clothes! Do you have more energy? Can you wear jewelry that was getting too tight? Do you need fewer medications? Is your blood pressure down? Can you climb stairs without getting winded? These are all signs that you are on the right track! Maybe have someone take a picture of you once a week. You might notice changes in your body composition that are easier to see when comparing the pictures instead of just looking in the mirror. Keep it up and try not to get discouraged!!

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