Body composition is based on more than a number on the scale. Many people can decrease their size without the scale even budging. According to Nichols (2004), One pound of muscle takes up less space in our bodies than one pound of fat. When many people work to lose weight, resistance training is added into their regime. This type of training builds muscle. Therefore, a better measurement of our weight loss, health and fitness efforts would be a body fat percentage test.
According to a study conducted by the Duke University Medical Center (2012), when 234 obese or overweight individuals were assigned to one of 3 types of training programming (resistance only, aerobic only or a combination) the results showed that the resistance group actually gained weight even after an increase in exercise, due their gains in muscle mass.
Reader’s Digest points out that muscle takes up approximately 1/3 less space in our bodies. They state that if you are strength training, the scale may not even budge, even though you have lost inches, or your clothes are 2 sizes too big. In addition, they suggest that other factors may cause fluctuations in weight as well such as water and salt intake.
Therefore, the scale may be one indicator of health and fitness efforts but do not account for changes in hormones, water, salt intake, muscle gain and other important factors. So, even if your scale won’t budge from time to time or even shows a higher number than before, it does not necessarily mean you have gained fat or inches.
Duke University Medical Center. (2012, December 15). Aerobic exercise trumps resistance training for weight and fat loss. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 15, 2018 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121215151506.htm
Nichols, N. (2004, September 22). Body Composition Measures Results. Retrieved January 15, 2018, from http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=286
The Physicians of the Doctor’s. (n.d.). 7 Reasons Your Scale Might be Wrong | Reader’s Digest. Retrieved January 15, 2018, from https://www.rd.com/health/conditions/scale-might-be-wrong/