‘You’ve lost weight’. ‘Are you putting on weight’? The scales are not by any means the only measure of fitness. However the idea of weight is very closely associated with health for many of us, and often a subject of concern.
Strength training builds muscle, and there’s the old adage that muscle weighs more than fat. Is that true and how much does weight matter as a measure of training?
DOES MUSCLE WEIGH MORE THAN FAT?
A kilo of muscle obviously weighs the same as a kilo of fat. This phrase actually refers to density. What people usually mean is that a well-muscled person can look trim but be surprisingly heavy, because muscle tissue is denser than fat. So as you build muscle from working out, you may see the reading on the scales go up.
WHAT OTHER FACTORS AFFECT BODY WEIGHT?
As well as body fat, bone tissue also affects weight. Bones are dense, but become less so as a natural part of the ageing process. Weight loss from bone loss is not a good thing, and can lead to vulnerability to fracture in later years. Keep up the strength work plus any weight bearing exercise, even brisk walking. As always, do less sitting!
IF I WORKOUT REGULARLY, DO I NEED TO THINK ABOUT WEIGHT?
Being heavier due to more muscle is not necessarily a bad thing. Muscle means better body tone, so you will look trimmer. A well-muscled body needs more calories than the equivalent weight in body fat, so you can enjoy a little more food. Finally, good muscles mean a strong and flexible body and that will always stand you in good stead.
Look for other signs of workout progress, such as better stamina and increased strength. Those matter more than weight.