Body fat, muscle mass and obesity

Body fat versus muscle mass

Today`s blog answers a very common issue. In all my years of personal training, one question arose more than any other, actually, much more than any other. Why am I not losing weight? But my pant/dress size is getting smaller, and we take a look at obesity from a weight loss expert opinion.

Many clients get mad at this issue and become frustrated and many even quit thinking they’re wasting their money, and of course they’re also thinking their trainers doesn’t know what they’re doing. Which is usually not the case at all.

The scales don’t tell you everything!

First of all, do not get caught up with the obsession of jumping on the scales every time you walk into the bathroom!

Many people see the scales as an instrument of motivation, but they can be exactly the opposite. Your weight can fluctuate considerably during the day, when you consider the water you drank and the food you ate. Weigh yourself soon as you get up in a morning, this will give you a true reading, but you don’t need to do it every day or multiple times daily.

For a start the number on the scale includes everything like muscle, organs, bones, food and water and fat. So, for that reason the number on the scale might not show what you’re hoping to see. It doesn’t reflect the changes happening in your body; for example, If you’re doing cardio and strength training, you may build lean muscle at the same time you’re losing fat . In that case, the scale may not change even though you’re getting leaner. Basically, the scale cannot tell the difference between fat and muscle and combines all into one number.

Remember, if you step on the scale and you’re unhappy with what you see, how does that make you feel? It may make you start questioning everything you’re doing, wondering why you even bother at all. Focusing on weight may overshadow the positive results you’re getting such as fat loss, more endurance, higher energy levels, and now wearing smaller clothes.

Take notice in your clothes size

Give the scales a break, go by what clothes you are now wearing, if you’re dropping clothes size you must be doing something correct, right? The training program and diet are working, the smaller sized clothes aren’t an illusion, it’s a fact, and its working!

Don’t allow the scales to distract you from the good you are doing. Make sure you get a scale that also measures body fat, don’t just go by what it says you weigh.

Basically, the scales can be the ultimate in frustration, losing motivation and quitting on your exercise plan and weight-loss goals.

I used to ask my clients what’s heavier? 5lb of feathers or 5lb of iron? So many would say iron not really thinking about what the question actually asked. Any two things that weigh the same obviously do weigh the same, the size however, is totally different like 5lb of fat is much larger than 5lb of muscle in volume.

A weight loss experts opinion

To expand my knowledge on obesity, I visit with a local Doctor who specializes in obesity. Doctor Roberts gives me a very interesting and rewarding interview. He tells me that most people who come to him are looking for the easy option rather than actually even trying a healthy diet. He also tells me he only believes in this kind of surgery when all else has failed and it’s a matter of life and death to the person concerned. Before Doctor Roberts will even agree to consider any weight loss surgery he advises and recommends certain steps to try to avoid this.  

Doctor Roberts believes weight loss surgery isn’t the answer for the average person who is looking for a quick fix, simply because he doesn’t believe it changes the way people think about food. He says people must train themselves to realize they don’t need to be eating all day long.

Eat to live, not live to eat!

“I really try to make them the understand the importance of diet and exercise, and that they really need to consult with a nutritionist and personal trainer who can both help them without resorting to surgery. I believe as a country the United States is literally eating itself to death with no signs of this ending anytime soon. We must stop people from seeing food as their comfort cushion, like the saying goes eat to live not live to eat” says a very concerned Doctor Roberts.

First he gives the patient a three month time frame in which to show they are serious about trying to lose weight by recommending a structured diet, sadly he went on to explain only around 30% follow this, he says everyone seems to have some kind of comfort food or drink that they aren’t willing to cut out, such as chocolate, fried food, beer and wine etc.


During the road to weight loss your body goes through a transition and it takes time, focus on all the positive aspects you are seeing and experiencing along that road. Do not be a victim of the scales, think of them like this; they can be like a bad friend who never seems to compliment you. So, now you know how replacing body fat with muscle can make you lose pant/dress size but not necessarily actual body weight.

I can already see an opportunity for me as a personal trainer to fit into Doctor Roberts’s way of thinking about this matter, he asks when I get the opportunity to bring him some business cards which he will gladly display in his office and he will refer his patients to me to train and hopefully together we can help his patients in their ongoing struggle with obesity.

I found this appointment to be a very worthwhile learning experience with a professional who is seriously trying to change the way people think of food, and also a great source of potential clients in the future for my personal training business.

Author: Nigel Taylor

I`m Nigel Taylor – originally from England – owner of The Backyard Gym in Round Rock Texas. We specialize in personal training, kickboxing cardio and self-defense. With over 25 years experience as a personal trainer, I know what works! From weight loss to bulking up to toning up, I can help you get your desired look and achieve your fitness goals. I can also offer you the privacy of a 100% private personal training studio in which to enjoy and get the most out of your workouts.