You’ve probably heard that muscle weighs more than fat and that sometimes the reason the weight loss scale is not moving is because you are gaining muscle (if you’re engaging in strength or resistance training).
This can definitely happen.
But it’s not that muscle “weighs” more than fat. In the photo above we have 5 lbs of fat and 5 lbs of muscle. They weigh the same.
The difference is that muscle is a lot more dense than fat, meaning it takes up less space.
That means we can have two people who weigh the same but physically look very different depending on the amount of muscle mass a person has.
This is another reason the scale can’t give us the complete picture of your weight loss/fat loss progress.
If you have been strength-training/lifting weights for a while now and begin a calorie deficit to lose weight, you might not see much of a difference in gaining muscle (although it can happen).
If you’re starting a calorie deficit to lose weight and new to strength training, you might see more of a change with putting muscle on while losing fat.
This tends to level off over time because building muscle requires energy (calories) and when you’re in a deficit, you aren’t consuming optimal calories since the goal is fat loss. You should start to see the scale move again as muscle protein synthesis decreases.
So it is possible to lose fat and gain muscle while being in a calorie deficit but tends to happen to individuals that are newer to weight-lifting and resistance training and seems to eventually level off.
During this time the scale can be all over the place.
Keep going and remain consistent, having lean muscle on your body is a great way to improve your metabolism!