What does a pound of fat look like? It’s about 18% greater in terms of volume that a pound of muscle. The picture above is an accurate replica of a pound of fat and muscle.
A few years ago, when I was 50lbs heavier, I used to be able to float. I could just lie on my back, put my arms out, stick my head back and float.
These days I sink like a stone. Even with a big breath my legs gradually drag me down. Why is this?
Simple really. The density of muscle is 1.06 g/ml and density of fat is around 0.9 g/ml. So when I was carrying 90lbs of fat I used have a density below one and could happily float. Now that I’ve got just 25lbs of fat with my 155lbs of lean mass my density has drifted above one and I sink.
What’s the point?
A pound of fat looks a heck of a lot like a pound of muscle in terms of volume. The fat has 18% greater volume which is only a small visual difference. You can see this above.
The Silliest Myth in Fitness
If we’ve learnt something over the last few years its that people are very quick to believe things that they want to believe.
Take this example from the New York Times no less:
Fat takes up about four times the space of muscle tissue, for example, so it is quite possible to look and feel fatter even if your height and weight remain the same.
It’s very nice to believe that a pound of fat is four times the size of a pound of muscle, but that doesn’t make it true. Just look at the first few images google throws at us if you google muscle vs fat.
Can you see a trend? These images are all nonsense. They are comparing 5lbs of fat with 1lbs of muscle. I guess somebody confused energy density with physical density, and then inverted it at some point?
People just seem to believe what they want to believe? Even when physics is shaking its head.
Want an easy way to think about it? Try this shortcut.
The density of sea water is 1.03. Think of this as muscle.
The density of ice is about 0.92. Think of this as fat.
So freeze a pound a ‘muscle’, and you’ll get a pound of ‘fat’. Still weighs a pound, just looks a bit bigger.
That’s right. You can weight out any amount of water, freeze it and you’ll have a tidy estimate of the volume of fat.
Put’s a whole new spin on melting fat doesn’t it 😉