While the title of this article may actually be a trick question, it makes you think. If we rephrase it a bit, to something like “which is bigger, a pound of fat or a pound of muscle? It becomes a very different topic. Do you know the answer?
It’s all a matter of density. Scientifically speaking, density is defined as the mass of a material divided by its volume. According to an expert, muscle density is about 1.06 g/ml and fat density is about 0.9 g/ml. That’s almost half! So a liter of muscle would weigh around 1.06kg and a liter of fat would weigh around 0.9kg. In other words, muscle is about 18% denser than fat.
Looking at this from a practical perspective, if a 200 pound professional bodybuilder was standing next to someone who weighs 200 pounds and is extremely out of shape… it would be hard to believe that they weighed exactly the same amount and 99% of people would say, based solely on sight, that the professional bodybuilder weighed less…much less.
The bottom line here is that weight is actually a very poor measure of how one looks. Dieters who use the scale every day to measure their progress can be very disappointed with the results they are achieving.
body mass index
Another thing to watch out for is the Body Mass Index, or BMI, which is another indicator that people use to determine whether or not they are overweight. Body mass index is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. The exact formula for calculating your Body Mass Index is to multiply your weight (in pounds) by 703. And then divide that number by your height squared (or your height times your height).
So if we continue with the example of the previous two people, a 200 pound professional bodybuilder who is 6 feet tall would have exactly the same BMI as a 200 pound person who is 6 feet tall and extremely out of shape. form. So is this a useful measure? I do not think so.
Measurements can also be tricky if you base your progress on size alone. For example, are the chest or bicep measurements of the professional bodybuilder and the non-bodybuilder going to be very different? They will look very different, in one case the meat will point up while in the other it will point down. But the measurements may not be that far off.
Your waist measurement will be a much better indicator and, in fact, may be the only one you really need. In a previous article I advised “watch your waistline, not your weight” and while I’m not a doctor, nor do I play it on TV, I think this is probably a very good rule of thumb.
Speaking of doctors, since I am not a licensed medical doctor, I would advise you to always follow the advice given by your doctor on anything you may read on the internet…especially when it comes to diet and/or nutrition. Too much wrong information is being spread these days, so it’s always best to check.
So the bottom line is to be careful in the use of measures. Whether you use the scale, a ruler, or the BMI calculation, there are issues with each that you need to be aware of. And hopefully, now you are!