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Lean mass? Fat? Muscle? What’s the difference?

Monday, April 7, 2008 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


This morning I weighed in at 194.4 pounds: almost a full pound less than yesterday, and a new low scale weight (by almost a pound) for this year’s cut. Clearly I didn’t lose an entire pound of fat in just 24 hours, so what gives? Read on…

Sudden, relatively “drastic” drops and rises in scale weight are very common. Our body weights will fluctuate quite a bit every day based on all kinds of factors, such as how much unprocessed food is still our systems and how much water we are retaining.

Yesterday when I reported my weekly results (195.2 pounds @ 10.8% body fat), that represented a fat loss for the week of 1.4 pounds and a lean mass gain of 1 pound. Notice that I was very careful to use the term “lean mass” and NOT “muscle”. The unprocessed food and water I just mentioned? All are considered lean mass. Just remember than fat is fat, and everything else (water, waste, undigested food, muscle, bone, skin, your brain, your toenails – every part of your body but fat) is considered lean mass.

There was a post on the forum yesterday that used the terms “lean mass” and “muscle” interchangeably. As I just explained, this is incorrect, but a very common mistake. Anyway, the author of the thread was wondering how I could gain “muscle” at nearly the same rate as I was losing fat. Well, the simple answer is that I didn’t! This morning’s scale weight shows that in actuality I lost 2.2 pounds of fat last week, but some of that fat loss was simply being obfuscated by a bit of water retention (water that was correctly reported yesterday as lean mass).

Thanks to the original poster of the aforementioned thread for bringing this valid concern up. I hope this helps clear things up for those of you who were confused by yesterday’s measurements!

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