• Anatomy Of Fitness

What is the difference between FAT and MUSCLE?

How are FAT and MUSCLE different? What role do they play? Does FAT weigh more than MUSCLE or vice versa? Let us take a scientific approach to answer these questions.

We require healthy levels of both, FAT and MUSCLE to survive and perform. In most cases, there is an excess of FAT and/ or a dearth of MUSCLE, which becomes a problem. Excess fat increases our probability of getting lifestyle-related diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart trouble, fatty liver, cancer, respiratory diseases etc. Excess fat is also linked to reduced physical and mental performance.

MUSCLE & it's relation with our BODY:

MUSCLE can be defined as a tissue composed of cells or fibres, the contraction of which produces movement in the body. Muscles are a metabolically active tissue. They are dense and compact occupying lesser space than fat. They are extremely useful for the body and help boost metabolism, increase bone density, reduce the risk of injury & disease, improve core strength & balance, improve mental & physical performance etc.

FAT & it's relation with our BODY:

FAT can be defined as a connective tissue consisting of lipid-rich cells called adipocytes. Fat is a metabolically inactive tissue and is meant to provide energy to the body when food sources are scares. It is fluffy, wobbly and jiggly occupying a lot of space compared to muscle. Some amount of fat is required for survival. For men, the essential fat required for survival is between 2% to 5% of the total body weight and a fat percentage of more than 25% is classified as obese. For women, the essential fat required for survival is between 10% to 13% of the total body weight and a fat percentage of more than 32% is classified as obese.

FAT doesn’t weight more than MUSCLE but occupies a lot of VOLUME making us look OBESE.
Body fat percentage chart for WOMEN,
Body fat percentage chart for MEN,

Fat Vs Muscle – The body image:

Fat and muscle are an integral part of our body. Too little fat or too much fat can create problems. Similarly, too little muscle can also create problems. Let us try to understand the comparison with an example. Consider two 30-year-old women each weighing 84kg (185.188 pounds) and having a height of 5 feet 5 inches. On papers, their BMI is 30.8 kg/m2 meaning both are obese. Here the fat that each woman is carrying on her body is not even considered. However, the first woman may have a fat percentage of 45% and low muscle mass and the second woman may have a fat percentage of 13% and very high muscle mass. Although both women weight the same, the first woman will look obese because of the properties of fat and the second woman will look compact and dense because of the properties of muscle.

Contrary to popular belief, MUSCLES cannot convert to FAT and FAT cannot convert to MUSCLE.
Difference between FAT and MUSCLE.

Key takeaways:

  1. Muscle makes us appear compact & dense. Fat makes us appear obese.

  2. Fat is useful but excess of fat is dangerous.

  3. For men, the essential fat required for survival is between 2% to 5% of the total body weight and a fat percentage of more than 25% is classified as obese.

  4. For women, the essential fat required for survival is between 10% to 13% of the total body weight and a fat percentage of more than 32% is classified as obese.

Now we understand the difference between FAT and MUSCLE and what role each play.

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