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Do Scales Lie?

Unless you’re a boxer, mixed martial artist or competitive athlete who competes in a specified weight class, it’s a mistake to go regularly to the gym and measure the gains you’re making by your weight.

For anyone who is working out regularly, you are sure to be building muscle, adding kilograms to the scale.

Not convinced? Let’s unpack the phenomenon.


The muscle and fat argument

By now, everyone knows that muscle and fat weigh the same, and in principle, that means 5 kilograms of fat will be exactly in line with 5 kilograms of muscle. 

The difference is that muscle is denser than fat.

In a sense, it’s perfectly possible to see a change in your waistline but see no change on scales, because the extra muscle you’re developing is dense, and impacting the final number you see.

In fact, eliminating fat, turning it into muscle and taking inches from your midsection often adds weight.

Yet, a lot of men and women believe that the work they’re putting in is not being rewarded because the final number on the scale isn’t shifting – or is actually increasing.


Trying to emulate an ideal weight from younger life is a mistake

A lot of people go to gym hoping to drop to a weight they enjoyed as teenagers or young adults. But as we get older, our bodies fill out naturally, bulk up and gain solidity. Bones get denser and bodies retain mass.

The key, then, is not to aim for an ideal ‘weight’, but an ideal ‘look’. Use the mirror as a scale instead.

That doesn’t mean a regular exercise regime will no longer yield results – but purely measuring results based on kilograms will lead to inevitable disappointment.


The inevitability of age

In the end, as we age and fill out, our bodies inevitably weigh more. That’s a natural result of ageing, and a weighing scale has no bearing on how fit you are.

Far too many people try to drop to a weight they recognise from younger life. The fact of the matter is we often become stronger, fitter and more muscular in later life. At the same time, reaching thirty, forty and beyond coincides with a slowing metabolism.

In these instances, the importance of the scale needs to be reevaluated.

author: Zone Fitness