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Don't Chase Your Weight

Don’t Chase Your Weight

Kevin Darling NSCA CPT

Don’t make weight loss your goal; rather let body fat percentage be your focus. Weight is a hard, stubborn, and frustrating number to chase. People go crazy over that number, however there’s much more to being fit than weight and you shouldn’t base an exercise program’s success on the number on the scale. If you’re eating right, participating in a structured exercise program, and your weight isn’t going down, don’t be concerned or think that the program isn’t working. Focus on circumference measurements, skinfolds, and other body fat tests and leave the weight alone. Take a look at this picture:

Here’s an individual who completely changed her level of fitness through a healthy approach to training and obviously building more muscle. She is thinner and much healthier but weighs exactly the same as the previous picture on the left….Which would you rather be??

When individuals say that muscle weighs more than fat, it’s true to an extent. It’s safe to say that a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat. It’s like asking the question, what weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks? They are equal. Now, when people say that muscle weighs more than fat, the part that’s true is when you do a side-by-side comparison of the same cubic inch of both. If you have a cubic inch of fat and a cubic inch of muscle, the cubic inch of muscle will weigh more than fat. The reason being is that muscle is roughly 18% more dense than fat, meaning that muscle takes up less volume and space in the body in comparison to fat per cubic inch of the same weight. Look at this picture of 5# of fat next to 5# of muscle…

With the more lean muscle tissue that you pack on, you may increase your weight or possibly stay the same, but you will actually be reducing your body fat percentage and size. Essentially you will look thinner and more fit due to the difference in the volume of fat vs. that of muscle.

When your body is being challenged by a new training stimulus such as resistance training, metabolic conditioning, or cardio, you will indeed be burning calories and building more muscle. Your body will then begin using the stored fat as an energy source and burn the unwanted tissue, allowing you to lose inches, but not always lose weight as lean muscle tissue is being built as well. As we now know all that lean tissue is dense and heavy, much more so than fat. So in a nutshell, don’t chase your weight and let the body fat percentage do the talking; you’ll be much happier that you did!

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