Important Facts About Lean Muscle and Body Fat

The body is an amazing organism made up of different elements, including various types of tissue, bone, organ and fluid. Two of which, lean muscle and body fat, are discussed most often when it comes to exercise and living a sustainable lifestyle. We exercise and monitor our nutritional intake in order to build one, lean muscle, while trying to lose the other, body fat (also known as adipose tissue).

How Much Lean Muscle Does the Average Adult Carry?

Skeletal muscle is the most abundant tissue in our body, accounting for approximately 42 and 35 percent of body weight in men and women respectively. In other words, an average male weighing 185 pounds has about 78 pounds of lean muscle tissue while a female weighing 140 pounds has approximately 49 pounds of lean muscle tissue (note: this is not an “exact” number). Take muscle and fat out of the equation, and bodyweight still has other constituents like, water, mineral, bone, connective tissue, and organ weight. Speaking of organ weight, did you know the average human heart weighs about 10 ounces while the brain weighs about 3 pounds? That same average male may have, on average, about 25 percent body fat (or “about” 46 pounds of fat) while that average female may have 30 percent body fat (or “about” 42 pounds of fat).

Did You Know this About Lean Muscle

One of the amazing things about muscle tissue is it has the ability through progressive overload, to increase in size (known as muscle hypertrophy). Donnelly and colleagues have reported that strength training studies (lasting from 8 to 52 weeks) have shown increases of 2 to 5 pounds of muscle mass. In addition to increasing in size, muscle tissue also gets stronger with prolonged training. A periodized strength training program can elicit changes in endurance capacity, power output and force production while keeping sarcopenia at bay.

Protein stores found in muscle can account for about 30,000 calories of energy. Muscle tissue can contribute approximately 20 percent of the body’s total daily energy expenditure compared to 5 percent for fat tissue (it would be great if we could tap into those fat stores more often).

Lean muscle tissue requires 3-4 times more calories to maintain compared to fat and is important in the process of energy metabolism. A pound of metabolically active muscle tissue requires 5-7 calories per pound to maintain while less active fat tissue, requires only 2 calories per pound.

Finally, lean muscle plays an important role in the aging process. With advancing age we experience a loss of exercise capacity. This is due to first, to a decline in skeletal muscle mass and strength during aging and then a decrease in maximal oxygen uptake mainly due to a drop in maximal heart rate, according to Henning Wackerhage, PhD, a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Exercise Physiology at the University of Aberdeen.

Did You Know this About Fat

Fat is found in the body in the form of triglycerides and stored in fat cells which are called adipocytes. According to Coyle, about 50,000 to 60,000 calories of energy are stored in fat cells throughout the body. Fat can also be stored within skeletal muscle cells.

Fat accumulated in the lower body is subcutaneous. While fat in the abdominal area is largely visceral. Where fat ends up on your body is influenced by several factors, including hormones and heredity.

The photo below shows equivalent amounts of fat and muscle. Lean muscle, however, is more dense and takes up one-third less space compared to fat. Five pounds of muscle and fat may in fact weigh the same but that is where the similarities end.

One thing is for certain, everyone wants more lean muscle and less body fat. Regular strength training is a much needed critical component for everything from health to activities of daily living. Check out some of the many great strength training routines found on Jefit, like the FitBody Plan. Stay strong with Jefit.

References

Marieb, EN and Hoehn, K. (2010). Human Anatomy and Physiology (8th ed.). San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings.

Elia, M. (1999). Organ and Tissue Contribution to Metabolic Weight. Energy Metabolism: Tissue Determinants and Cellular Corollaries. Kinney, J.M., Tucker, H.N., eds. Raven Press. New York.

Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., et. al. (2003). Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 1(1): 21-29.

Wackerhage, H. (2014). Molecules, Aging and Exercise in Molecular Exercise Physiology. Routledge.

Wood, M. (2018). TBC30: 6 Steps to a Stronger and Healthier You. Wicked Whale Publishing, 2nd edition.

Coyle, EF. (1995). Fat metabolism during exercise. Sports Science Exchange, 8(6):59.

Try The Award-Winning Jefit App Today!

Jefit app was named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your sustainable fitness lifestyle.

Know the Health Benefits from Regular Strength Training

Currently, more than 83 percent of people living in Colorado exercise on a regular basis. There are a few other states that also top that 80 percent mark, like Hawaii, Utah and Vermont. With that, many states are still not even close to that percentage. Understanding the many benefits of strength training could hopefully get more people to jump on the band wagon.

On average, we spend just two hours per week being physically active. This according to researchers at Penn State and the University of Maryland, who analyzed data from the US Census Bureau. According to the latest CDC data, only about 23 percent of U.S. adults get the recommended amount of exercise each week (150-minutes a week). Here are just a few of the many health benefits you’ll receive from strength training on a regular basis.

Benefits of Strength Training

Duke University scientists discovered that 1,100 calories expended through weekly exercise can help prevent the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue. This type of tissue is dangerous because belly fat causes arterial inflammation and hypertension. Need a push? A British Medical Journal study reported people who exercised in groups boosted their average calorie burn by 500 calories a week.

University of Michigan scientists found men who completed three total-body strength workouts each week experienced significant health changes. The study lasted 2 months and subjects lowered their diastolic blood pressure by 8 points. That is enough to reduce your risk of stroke by 40 percent and heart attack by 15 percent.

Individuals who exercise, at any intensity level, for 2 hours a week see positive changes in mental health. That is an average of only 17 minutes a day. This group was 61 percent less likely to feel highly stressed than their sedentary counterparts, according to researchers from Denmark.

People who regularly participate in strength training are about 20 to 30 percent less likely to become obese. Individuals who performed 1–2 hours a week or at least 2 days a week of resistance exercise, had a 20–30 percent reduced risk of obesity, even after adjusting for aerobic exercise. Researchers at Iowa State University, and other institutions, decided to look at the relationship, if any, between weights and waistlines. They observed tens of thousands of patients who visited the Cooper Clinic in Dallas between 1987 and 2005. Subjects who worked out aerobically and lifted weights were much less likely to become obese. But so were those who lifted almost exclusively and reported little, if any, aerobic exercise.

Additional Health Benefits

A new study out of the University of South Wales, looked at the strength of younger adults (18-50). The data suggests that men and women can achieve similar relative muscle size gains. In this meta analysis (30 studies), females actually gained more relative lower-body strength than males. Males gained more absolute upper-body strength, absolute lower-body strength, and absolute muscle size.

In a 2014 study published in the journal Obesity, Harvard researchers followed 10,500 men over the course of 12-years and found that strength training was more effective at preventing increases in abdominal fat than cardiovascular exercise.

A 2013 research in the Journal of Applied Physiology demonstrated young men who did strength training hd a better-functioning HDL, or good cholesterol, compared with those who never lifted weights.

Finally, probably the most important benefit of strength training is a longer life span. A 2015 study in The Lancet showed that grip strength accurately predicted death from any cause. A 2017 report in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care suggests that muscle strength and lean muscle mass both serve as better measures of someones overall health than body mass index or BMI. Time to rethink BMI.

Use the Award-Winning Jefit App

Jefit is a strength training app used for planning & tracking workouts. It also helps gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it offer you the ability to update and share your workout log with a supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.