If you want to keep the number on your scale low, you may feel unsure on whether to add weight training to your workout routine. Although building muscle mass may cause temporary weight gain, you may lose weight over the long-term. Before you make any changes to your exercise routine, consult your doctor.
The idea that muscle weighs more than fat is a common misconception. One pound of muscle weighs the same as 1 lb. of fat, but muscle and fat differ in volume. One pound of fat takes up more room in the body than 1 lb. of muscle. This does not necessarily mean you’ll gain weight when you build muscle mass. If you lose fat and develop lean muscle mass, the scale will likely go down.
Muscle burns more calories than fat, which can help you lose weight. This is the reason that exercise programs recommend including strength training in your workouts. Spend at least three days a week participating in strength-building exercises. You may use resistance exercise machines, such as pull-up bars, leg presses, ab exercisers and bicep curlers. If you are new to weight training, use a small weight and large number of reps. As you advance, increase weight and decrease number of reps.
Due to the increased volume of muscle, it is possible that you may see the scale go up when you start lifting. This is especially the case if you are already lean without much fat to lose. However, even if the number on the scale goes up, you’ll likely have a leaner and more toned appearance.
If you don’t have enough muscle, weight gain is possible. When you have more fat in the body than muscle, your body needs a lower number of calories to maintain your weight. Fad diets and fasts may result in quick weight loss. However, muscle and fat are typically lost during these diets. When you resume your normal diet, you’ll likely find that you may gain even more weight than your starter weight.
- Weight Watchers: Does Muscle Weigh More Than Fat?
- "Personal Nutrition"; Marie A. Boyle et al; Cengage Learning; 2008
- University of New Mexico: Making Sense of Calorie-burning Claims; Robert A. Robergs, Ph.D., and Len Kravitz, Ph.D.