What’s the difference between fat vs. muscle? This is a critical issue if you want to shed pounds and burn fat. Fun Fact: One pound of body fat is equal to 3,500 calories. There are several myths about these two tissues including the one that muscle weighs more than fat. If you want to lose weight then it’s important to learn the differences between the two and how they’re both related to weight. That can also help with the process of shedding pounds since you’ll know the best steps to take to maximize weight loss. It all starts with the basics of the two substances.
The big question about whether fat or muscle weigh more is less important than density. In other words, a pound of muscle takes up less space than fat since it’s denser. This is the main issue since it’s related to how to gain muscle and lose fat. It can be tough to achieve both at the same time. We often focus on either muscle gains or fat-burning. However, you can actually take steps to achieve both goals. It’s all about knowing the difference between the two substances and how they’re related to body weight.
What’s the Difference between Fat and Muscle?
This is the first big issue to take up before talking about how they’re related to weight loss. The main issue related to these two substances is their density. For example, a pound of fat and a pound of muscle both weigh one pound.
The big difference is how much space they take up. So one pound of fat will take up more space than a pound of muscle due to the lower density. This helps to explain why belly fat looks different than bicep muscles.
Muscle takes up 80% as much space as fat. This is the main difference to consider in terms of the two substances. However, tone muscles aren’t the only benefit you can get from building muscle. If you build lean muscle mass it can also provide other benefits.
For example, it can help to burn calories faster. This is probably a surprising benefit of muscles. So if you build muscle you can actually burn calories faster. That, in turn, can help you burn fat faster, which is a plus if you want to achieve healthy weight gain.
Health experts generally recommended people lose up to 2 pounds per week. The problem with extreme weight loss is it can cause issues like muscle loss. A healthier option is to drop pounds slowly so you can burn fat while keeping muscle.
Experts disagree about how much faster muscles can burn calories versus fat. However, the main takeaway it happens so building muscle is an effective way to burn calories faster.
It might seem practical to turn fat into muscle. However, they’re different kinds of tissues. So a better approach is to gain muscle and burn fat. This can include weight-resistance training and cutting calories. Both methods can help to achieve these goals.
Fat vs. Muscle: Weight Loss/Gain
As noted fat and muscle are two different kinds of body tissue. So it’s important to consider this issue when trying to get into better physical shape.
There are two basic approaches you can take. One is to focus on building lean muscle mass. The other main approach is to burn fat. This is a different approach but can also provide health benefits.
A tougher option is to do both at the same time. This involves “bulking” and “cutting” at the same time. Diet and exercise are both important in the process.
If you want to build muscle it’s important to do weight-resistance exercise. This could include barbells/dumbbells, gym machines, or bodyweight exercises. They can all be effective in building lean muscle mass.
It’s also important to boost your protein intake for muscle gains. Some good options include:
Options known as “complete proteins have all 9 essential amino acids (EAAs). This means you get all of the amino acids that humans require from food and supplements.
There are also steps you can take to burn fat. They include a combination of high-intensity cardio and strength training. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a good option since it combines the two types of exercises.
You can also consume different foods/drinks that can help to burn fat. They include coffee/tea, chili peppers, and raw cacao (chocolate).
If you want to build muscle and burn fat at the same time there are some basic approaches to take. They include doing high-intensity workouts instead of slow cardio, for example. This will help to build muscle while burning fat.
You should also use dietary methods to build muscle and burn fat. They include a low-carb and high-protein diet. This can include both animal and plant-based foods. Go with unsaturated/omega-3 fats.
Tips to Build Muscle and Burn Fat
1. Change your training program
Make sure to take this step every 3 to 6 weeks to get the best results. The reason is the body can adjust to the same workout over and over—and over again. However, if you switch up exercises, weights, and reps it can help you achieve more gains and burn fat faster.
2. Do the interval training
HIIT is one option although you could even do moderate-intensity interval training. The key benefit of this approach is you’re constantly moving. HIIT alternates high-intensity exercises, and low-intensity rests. Studies show that this approach can help provide metabolism boosts that last days. Another major benefit besides muscle gains is it also makes your workouts more efficient.
3. Take pre-workout supplements
This can include branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), protein powders, or black coffee. The key is they can help fuel your body to amp up your workouts. BCAAs are 3 of 9 essential amino acids that humans must get from food. They include leucine, which humans need about 40mg daily.
4. Total-body lifts
It includes exercises that use the most major muscle groups. For example, swimming is one cardio exercise that uses all muscle groups of the upper and lower body. You can also do weight-resistance exercises that achieve the same goal.
The fancy term is “compound exercises.” They work several muscles, joints, and ligaments at once. Some good options include squats, pull-ups, lunges, and deadlifts.
5. Lift heavier
There’s some debate about whether it’s better to go high-weight, low-reps or low-weight, high-reps. The best option for building muscle and burning fat is somewhere in the mushy middle. It isn’t your one-rep max (1RM). However, you can add some weight when doing weightlifting to get better results after learning about fat vs. muscle.