Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Pound Of Fat

Let's dispel some myths here and do some proper measuring. 1 pound of muscle is not heavier than 1 pound of fat. A pound is a pound is a pound. 1 pound of muscle is just less mass than 1 pound of fat, we are measuring mass here not weight. Using the wrong terms for the wrong things.

When people who are working out and they happen to gain weight, someone will always says, well you gained muscle, and muscle weighs more than fat. If 1 pound of fat turns into 1 pound of muscle, it's a wash and there should be no weight change. Their science makes no sense. If they gained weight, it has nothing to do with conversion of fat to muscle, and everything to do with what they have been eating and drinking and what they did the previous week. We already covered what happens with weight based on diet. Let me go over another issue.

Some people put on weight typically after some initial weight loss, and so as to not get discouraged someone will say, "oh but muscle weighs more than fat." If they can't even measure weight of fat and muscle, how will they measure your weight? Even on The Biggest Loser, they always lose the most weight the first week and have far lower numbers the next. They say it's because their bodies adapted to the work out and is not burning weight. No. Their bodies do not adapt that quickly.

A pound of fat has 3,500 calories. Most people won't even burn that running a full marathon. Waitaminute, most people don't even eat that much in a day. How are you supposed to burn that much off? How can someone lose a pound a day? A big key is the difference between losing a pound and burning a pound. If someone were able to burn 3,500 a day, not only would they probably die of malnutrition (because basically none of the food they ate was ever stored but all used and then some), but if that didn't get them exhaustion would. So what happens? The only way you will drop weight that fast, as any professional boxer, or wrestler knows, is through water weight. They sweated all that weight off. So there will be some real fat that has been burned off, but a majority of the weight will be from water loss. So they may still have the same amount of fat and muscle, but just less water in their body. Now what?

So let's say they lost 5lbs in one week. Second week they either didn't lose any weight or they gained a pound or two. What happened? Homeostasis happened. Meaning their body has to go back to their natural state. The water you lost has to be put back, you're body is in debt. You may look thinner but it's not that you lost fat, you are just more drawn in and water will fill you back in. So it's not muscle weighs more than fat, it's that you lost a lot of water weight initially, and naturally your body has to get it back. Losing weight and changing how you look are two different things. You can lose 10lbs and look exactly if just losing weight is what you are after. I mean you can get an enema and easily lose that much. But it is not real weight loss, you still have the same amount of fat, and you will look the same, and your measurements will be the same (except for around your intestines). If it was just about weight, you could chop off a limb and be much lighter. But that's not what they mean, when people say they want to lose weight, they mean they want to lose fat. It can't be any kind of weight, like loss in organs, blood, muscle, limbs, and even water. Real weight, real loss of fat happens slowly and is more long lasting. Quick weight loss is not real weight loss and easy to put back on (and has a lot more sagging skin).

Or what if you lose all this weight, but you can never see your abs? Yet other people your weight can see their abs. What gives??? So it's not about calories, it's not about weight. There is a critical difference between weighing less and being lean. One is about numbers on a scale. The other is about how you look. Two reasons people want to work out, for looks or performance and weight is a bi-product of that. Not the other way around. I've seen so many people who've lost so much weight who not only look terrible (though somehow if you lose a lot of weight people are obligated to say you look great even if you do not)  they are also not athletic at all. Being lighter, looking good, performing, 3 different things. You can have a combination of all three but it's a gradient with being lighter at the bottom. People seem to assume if you are lighter, you will look good, and perform well. That is actually an upside down pyramid. If you perform well, you will look good, and be lighter. It trickles down that way (with some exceptions).

You can easily be light and fat and nonathletic.  The goal is always the same. Be as lean and strong as possible. And remember to measure the right things with the right tools.
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