Saturday, June 29, 2013

Muscle vs. Fat:

Hello Bloggers,

     If you have been to my Pinterest page and looked at my Health and Fitness board, you probably knew that this entry was coming. Even though there have been many articles posted about not relying on the scale, and focusing more on measurements, and inches, people still flock to the scale to track their fitness progress. This is a huge mistake. The reason why is because muscle takes up substantially less space, but weighs more, and I wanted to take this opportunity to put this in perspective.

***I would like to note, that there are some cases where using the scale is appropriate and can be a wonderful tool, but its shouldn't be your only tool.***

     This is a photo taken from Pinterest, (as are all of mine) that puts the space difference that each takes up into perspective. You can see that the Tangerines representing muscle, takes up less space than the grapefruit representing fat, and both are supposed to weight about 5 pounds.
You can see how this could be misleading if you used the scale to track progress. Especially if you are trying to track subtle changes. Let me put it into a prospective scenario for you...

Your pants feel more comfortable, and you think your belly is a little flatter, or maybe your thighs aren't scraping together (like mine do), so out of excitement you jump on the scale to see where you're at, and it hasn't moved, or you have gained weight. Now you are confused, upset or discouraged. However, if you had used a tape measure and tracked inches, you would have had a better, more accurate, and encouraging result.

     This second picture I like quite a bit because you can see how the body changes as it builds muscle in comparison to the scale. The girl was not big to start off with, in fact, before her mission to tone up and build some muscle, her weight was at its lowest. When she was at her smallest and most athletic, her weight was at its highest. Again, this gives more perspective as to how much space fat takes up, and how dense muscle is.

     So the final point I would like to make to my amazing readers, and I pray you pass this message along, is that fat takes up more room than muscle, and muscle weighs more than fat. Putting a number on skinny is counter productive and ironic. So as you go through your fitness journey, and have discouraging days where you "Only lost one pound", remember that one pound of fat, is about the size of a medium apple, and you should be ecstatic. The best, most accurate way to track your progress is by following your BMI, taking measurements, and being realistic about your goals, and progress.

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY... listen to your body. If you feel better, healthier, and notice subtle changes in some areas, do you really need a machine that spits out a number to verify that for you? You know your body better than anyone. Pay attention to it, and if you must use the scale, make sure you are tracking your body mass index, and measuring too, so you have a good solid idea of where you're at.

I hope this helped,
Yours truly,
Jessi Harm

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