Eight Myths About Exercise: Does Muscle Weigh More Than Fat?

Myth No. 1: Exercise is supposed to be miserable
Reality: Exercise should be pleasurable and fun. The trick is to find workouts that challenge you but that you also enjoy. If you love playing tennis or soccer or beach volleyball with friends or going bike riding with your hubby or making those coins on your hip scarf jingle in bellydance class or the calm and peaceful feeling you get after a good yoga session, then you'll get a great workout and have fun at the same time.

Myth No. 2: High impact exercise is better than low impact
Reality: High impact is no more and no less better than low impact exercise. While, in some cases, high impact exercise might burn more calories (i.e. running versus walking), in other instances that is not the case. High impact exercise is also harder on the joints. You can get a killer low impact workout. Think Tae Bo or Zumba, for example.

Myth No. 3: You need to exercise for hours each day to see any benefit from exercise
Reality: You can see major health benefits from working out a lot less than that. I was recently diagnosed with having a borderline high cholesterol count. When I asked what I could do to bring it down, I was told to do cardio exercise for 45 minutes three times a week.

Myth No. 4: You need to work out in a gym to benefit from exercise
Reality: As long as you get moving, it doesn't matter where you are. You can work out in the gym, on the street (biking, walking, jogging), in your home (the WII Fit, home exercise equipment or video exercise), at a park (playing ball, swimming, biking or jogging), or on the beach (yoga class, beach volleyball). As long as you move, you'll lose (weight that is).

Myth No. 5: You need to focus on doing cardiovascular exercise if you want to lose weight
Reality: Muscle is more metabolically active than fat so it burns more calories. More importantly, women need toned muscles to help prevent osteoporosis. Plus, muscle has shape – fat doesn't. So, to achieve the body you want, you will need a combination of cardio and weight toning exercises. I recommend cardio in the morning and toning exercises at night.

Myth No. 6: Women should avoid doing weightlifting exercises because they will create bulky muscles
Reality: If you use light weights with lots of repetitions, you won't get bulky muscles. Instead, you'll get long, lean muscles. Think sexy arms and lean toned legs. I'm still working on those.

Myth No. 7: Weightlifting exercises will make you heavier because muscle weighs more than fat
Reality: Muscle doesn't weigh more than fat. A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat. Muscle is more dense than fat though, so a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat.

Myth No. 8: You don't have time to exercise
Reality: Yes you do. We make time for the things we really want to do. You might have to get up 30 minutes earlier in the morning or turn off that television at night or get off the Internet/Facebook/blog and turn off the phone for a few minutes, but you have time to exercise. On those days that I am really pressed for time, I do one of Leslie Sansone's one mile workouts for 15-20 minutes. It gives me a good start to the day.

I hope this post helps to shatter some of those exercise myths you might have believed. Let me know.


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4 thoughts on “Eight Myths About Exercise: Does Muscle Weigh More Than Fat?

  1. “A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat” of course it does…it weighs a pound!

    1. Exactly. But since muscle is more dense than fat, that pound will take up less volume or space than a pound of fat.

  2. It’s ridiculous to say that muscle weighs the same as fat. You might as well say that diamonds are no more valuable than paper (after all $200 of diamonds are worth the same as $200 of paper)! When people say “muscle weighs more than fat” they mean that a given volume of muscle weighs more than a given volume of fat. What else could they mean?

    1. Garic: I didn’t mean to imply that muscle is not more valuable than fat or, to put it more accurately, that muscle burns more calories than fat and has a much more attractive shape/appearance. I just didn’t want women shunning the idea of toning exercises or building muscle because they think the scale not moving right away is a sign that they are not getting healthier (or reaping health benefits) by building some muscle and toning up. Some people don’t know or understand what you take as common sense (i.e. that a given volume of muscle weighs more than a given volume of fat).

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