T Nation

Muscle Weight vs Fat Weight

so I was thinking the other day, if you are gaining more muscle than fat, wouldn’t you expect the scale to go up more each week than if you were just gaining fat?

since one pound of fat is 3500 cals and one pound of muscle is like 750 (?), then if you are gaining mostly muscle, it would make sense for the scale to go up more each week than if you were gaining pure fat?

I gained 1.5 pounds this week and my strength went up like crazy. I am thinking most of it must have been muscle, but didnt think it was possible to gain that much in a week.

Um…

No, a pound is a pound.

A Kcalorie is just a measure of the energy that it takes to sustain that pound of tissue.

If you gain one lb of LBM (muscle, glycogen, and water) the scale will go up one pound.

If you gain 1 pound of fat, the scale will go up one pound.

like GetSwole said, Pounds of fat = pounds of muscle on the scale. However, as far as volume is concerned, 1 lb of fat is much greater than 1 lb of muscle

A pound is a pound.

Volume wise think about a pound of beef verses a pound of whipped butter. So muscle weights more than fat the same way lead weights more than glass.

You don’t suddenly gain a pound of muscle. That 24 ounces of muscle you think you gained is probably water, food, and maybe a little bit of muscle. The new muscle tissue that’s caused you to make these new jumps in strength has probably accumulated over a couple of weeks. Today just happens to be the day that you both gained weight and made some PRs.

But I know if I look on the scale and see I’m as heavy as I’ve ever been, then I feel like I’m ready to hit some PRs.

Unless you have DEXA data to back it up or skinfolds taken by an experience tester with all other conditions are the same, you don’t really know.

Just because muscle has around 750 kcal per pound doesn’t mean it only takes that much to gain a pound of muscle, otherwise every obese person would be giving Cutler a run for his money. The 750 kcal is what can be extracted if the muscle needs to break itself down during exercise for fuel.

The actual process of new muscle being built - rather more new muscle being built than broken down as it is an equilibrium process with breakdown and growth occurring simultaneously - will likely take more than 750 kcal per pound as it takes energy to build that muscle on top of what it contains when broken down.

Sometimes the increases in the turnover due to exercise are quite great and a large amount of calories (and protein) is required just to get recovery and back to where you were before the workout in terms of muscle mass.

The most likely way to get growth with minimal caloric intake increases is to eat as well as possible as you will be able to alter the nutrient partitioning through careful food selection. This is especially true of those who handle carbohydrates poorly.

As for the strength and weight gain, it could have been due to water. Just having more water in your muscles increases the leverage. If you are skinny, then you are likely able to gain up to 3-4 pounds of muscle a week with optimal training, nutrition, and supplementation. I am assuming recovery has been optimized and stress minimized.

[quote]Peter Orban wrote:
Unless you have DEXA data to back it up or skinfolds taken by an experience tester with all other conditions are the same, you don’t really know.

Just because muscle has around 750 kcal per pound doesn’t mean it only takes that much to gain a pound of muscle, otherwise every obese person would be giving Cutler a run for his money. The 750 kcal is what can be extracted if the muscle needs to break itself down during exercise for fuel.

The actual process of new muscle being built - rather more new muscle being built than broken down as it is an equilibrium process with breakdown and growth occurring simultaneously - will likely take more than 750 kcal per pound as it takes energy to build that muscle on top of what it contains when broken down.

Sometimes the increases in the turnover due to exercise are quite great and a large amount of calories (and protein) is required just to get recovery and back to where you were before the workout in terms of muscle mass.

The most likely way to get growth with minimal caloric intake increases is to eat as well as possible as you will be able to alter the nutrient partitioning through careful food selection. This is especially true of those who handle carbohydrates poorly.

As for the strength and weight gain, it could have been due to water. Just having more water in your muscles increases the leverage. If you are skinny, then you are likely able to gain up to 3-4 pounds of muscle a week with optimal training, nutrition, and supplementation. I am assuming recovery has been optimized and stress minimized.[/quote]

very interesting stuff fellas. thank you! didnt realize it was such a complicated process.

3-4lbs in a week is pretty insane IMO

Muscle does not weigh more than fat. It is more dense than fat however.

[quote]gi2eg wrote:
3-4lbs in a week is pretty insane IMO[/quote]

not really. weight can come from so many things.

I gained 4 lbs in a 24 hr span the other day.

I was 180 on Monday, 178 on Weds, and 182 on Thursday.

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
gi2eg wrote:
3-4lbs in a week is pretty insane IMO

not really. weight can come from so many things.

I gained 4 lbs in a 24 hr span the other day.

I was 180 on Monday, 178 on Weds, and 182 on Thursday.[/quote]

Right but he said 3-4 lbs of muscle, not weight in general.

[quote]Dubbz wrote:
Right but he said 3-4 lbs of muscle, not weight in general.[/quote]

Yeah, that’s what caught me, too. That 3-4 pounds is not all muscle.

[quote]Padilla7921 wrote:
Dubbz wrote:
Right but he said 3-4 lbs of muscle, not weight in general.

Yeah, that’s what caught me, too. That 3-4 pounds is not all muscle.[/quote]

Well, it appears you can gain 3-5 pounds of muscle in a weekend. It sometimes comes “in spurts”.

http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=2116930

One should focus on the paragraph in its entirety, not just the 3-4 pounds part. The context was someone who is far from genetic potential and makes major changes to training, lifestyle, and diet to remove any obstacles for growth.

It also does not assume growth will occur at that rate for a long time. Over time the rate will slow even if the intake is increased to compensate for increased muscle mass.

I am certainly not making that claim for those who are already in excellent shape. In such cases ‘growth’ is usually due to supercompensation, not just nutrient stores, but also during times of recovery after over-reaching.

Yeah, understood. In its context it read as if you could sustain that/expect that if you met the criteria.

even if it was just 3 weeks, 9-12lbs is a lotta muscle.

Hence, up to.

[quote]msd0060 wrote:
Padilla7921 wrote:
Dubbz wrote:
Right but he said 3-4 lbs of muscle, not weight in general.

Yeah, that’s what caught me, too. That 3-4 pounds is not all muscle.

Well, it appears you can gain 3-5 pounds of muscle in a weekend. It sometimes comes “in spurts”.

http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=2116930[/quote]

menshealth.com is missing a forum member… you have any idea where the guy is?

It takes roughly 2000-2500 kcals to build a lb of muscle.

1.5lbs isn’t much, could easily be explained by fluid fluctuation’s, stomach contents, etc, or it could be a gain of 1.5 lbs of lean mass in a week, there really is no way to tell. The big thing this that you are getting bigger and stronger.