Contrary to popular belief, a pound of muscle does not weigh more than a pound of fat. According to the research, they actually weigh the same.
Regardless of the tissue, whether muscle or fat one pound is going to be 16 ounces. The difference is in the volume. Two things can weigh the same and be very different in size. For example, a pound of marshmallows, is going to be far more voluminous than a pound of pennies.
Muscle mass is much denser and more compact than fat.
It’s no secret that body fat contributes and is largely associated with chronic metabolic disease states, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type II diabetes.
Several studies have shown a “U” shaped correlation amongst body fat and mortality rate, suggesting that both a high and low BMI is associated with premature death. Research also indicates that a large hip circumference relative to BMI and waist circumference appears to be a strong inverse predictor of both morbidity and mortality [R]. Lower muscle mass is also related to the development of type 2 diabetes as impaired insulin resistance [R].
As you age, your body tends to hold onto body fat more readily. Your hormones will change, decreasing active testosterone levels, which will make it harder to maintain and keep lean muscle mass. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn at rest. Therefore, a decrease in muscle, will inevitably increase the amount of body fat you accumulate. Loss of muscle mass will slow down your metabolism. In women, especially after menopause, decreasing levels of estrogen will also influence a greater distribution of body fat.
Visceral fat lies beneath the subcutaneous layers or outer layers of fat, which surrounds your organs. Visceral fat can cause sever health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Research also indicates that visceral fat, regardless of overall weight, can increase morality rates from cardiovascular disease.
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Creating a healthy dietary lifestyle, often involves more than just losing weight and being, “skinny”. Muscle mass is a large contributor to better health outcomes and overall health and wellness. Studies show that lower body fat percentage is related to a reduced risk of chronic disease. Therefore, you can be skinny, with a large body fat percentage, and no muscle, which does put you at increased risk for metabolic disorders.
Although not a medically recognized term, this body type is often referred to as, “skinny fat.” Skinny fat is when a person has very little muscle at a normal weight yet has a large amount of body fat. Those with higher body fat percentages to muscle mass, have a low to moderate body mass index (BMI), yet are more prone to high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and inflammation leading to chronic disease. Recomposing your body fat and lean body mass percentage can help reduce your risk for chronic disease and improve overall health and wellness.
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Body recomposition, or body recomp is defined as recomposing your body’s body fat and lean body mass percentage through diet and exercise. The definition of composition is a whole mixture or makeup of different constituents. Recompose simply means to re-arrange or compose again differently. With body recomposition, rather than simply setting goals on body weight, body fat and lean body mass percentage are the constituents that are being recomposed and the main focus.
Traditionally fat loss is the main goal of any dieting program. However, with body recomposition, the scale has little to no meaning when measuring success or benchmarks in your body transformation, or body composition goals. Body recomposition emphasizes the importance of not only losing body fat but gaining muscle mass at the same time.
Body composition is an important measure of overall health. The scale will not tell you how much body fat and how much lean muscle mass you have, and the less body fat you have the healthier you will be.
Body composition is not the same as the body mass index (BMI). BMI does not measure body fat, and only measures the ratio of your height to weight and is not a good indication of overall health. BMI is associated with body fat yet does not provide a complete indication of body composition.
There are two types of body fat, non-fat mass, and fat mass within your body. Non-fat mass is also known as essential fat. This is the kind of fat that is within your bones and organs, such as your liver, kidneys, and muscles. This type of fat is essential, meaning you need it to survive.
Fat mass, also referred to as stored body fat, is found in adipose tissue. This type of fat is metabolized for energy and surrounds vital organs. This is what people generally recognize as fat.
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Poor muscle to fat ratio does put you at greater risk for chronic disease and obesity. Keeping body fat percentage low and lean muscle mass higher, will help improve metabolism, and improve overall health. That does not mean you need to be a bodybuilder or have an excess amount of muscle to be healthy. Eating a balance diet and also engaging in a resistance training program, can help you improve body composition. Don’t obsess over the scale and pay attention to how you feel.
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