This is because muscle is denser than fat, which in simplistic terms means it takes up less space than fat. If you want to go a bit more complex; since muscle is denser, muscle does weigh more than fat if you compare same-size portions. On average, the density of fat is 0.9 g/mL. The density of muscle is 1.1 g/mL. Using the averages, 1 litre of muscle weighs 1.06 kg, or 2.3 lbs., while 1 litre of fat weighs .9 kg, or 1.98 lbs. This may vary due to numerous factors including race, being extremely lean, or being extremely obese, according to “Exercise Physiology” by William D. McArdle, et al …but in a nutshell muscle will take up less space than fat!!
So if you think of this in terms of a human body, Two people may be the same height and weight, but the person with a higher body fat percentage will wear a larger clothing size. This is due to the fact that even though both people weight the same, the "larger" person has a higher percentage of their weight coming from fat. This as we have learnt takes up more space. So, they weigh the same, they are the same height, but due one of the individuals having more fat which takes up more space, and the other individual having more lean muscle tissue which proportionately takes up less space, then the person with a higher fat to lean mass ratio will take up more space, thus the larger dress size.
So it is clear from these images of real women that a woman can be the same height and the same weight, but look COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. This is because the components of what is making up this weight has changed. A lady with less fat, and more lean muscle tissue can actually look smaller (due to the muscle taking up less space) but be exactly the same weight. As you can see from the both images, the lady has significantly more lean muscle mass than in the before photo, however they are actually lighter and slightly smaller/leaner. This is simply due to everything we have mentioned above, more muscle tissue which takes up less space and less fat tissue which takes up more space. The result is a leaner, smaller body at the same weight.
Resistance training is perhaps the best way we know to help improve your body fat ratio more towards having lean muscle tissue and less body fat. Women often fear getting "bulky" with resistance training however due to having much less of male hormone testosterone, and for the reasons we've explained above about muscle taking up less space than fat, that this is generally a fear without merit. Aside from the health issues and the obvious aesthetic benefits, women especially should be exposed to more resistance training to help address issues with bone density (Especially as they get older). Resistance training has also been shown to be as effective at reducing issues related to metabolic syndromes like diabetes, just as much as aerobic training (1) Resistance training also be extremely effective against the common health improvements associated with Aerobic training like reduction in cardiovascular disease, cancers and practically every chronic disease you know of. It's also an effective method, combined with a sound nutritional plan of course with getting leaner and weight management (2,3)
I'd argue resistance training is perhaps one of the healthiest practices you can do, not just for your body but also for your psychological health. Yes, resistance training can also be excellent for your brain.
If you'd like to try this fabulous method of training and a plan to introduce you safely into resistance training, then try our 3 phase Gym Plans here. Click here to find out which plan will best suit you
- Association of Resistance Exercise, Independent of and Combined With Aerobic Exercise, With the Incidence of Metabolic Syndrome (PDF Download Available)
- Diabetes Care