Basically, if you do not understand the difference between muscle tissue and fat tissue, there could be a lot of myths that you believe to be true going on inside your head.  This could be because of what someone has said to you or you may have read about a "celebrity" trying some new outrageous diet that seemed to work for them, (just wait and see, the weight comes back). Plus you may be asking yourself, " I do not know what to eat?" That is probably the most confusing of it all. You can visit my healthy recipe site at to find some delicious meal ideas and awesome recipes for healthy comfort food too (which I am known for).
The husband and I having a "Flex OFF!" Make sure you understand "why" you are train & eat the way you do.

The husband and I having a "Flex OFF!" Make sure you understand "why" you are train & eat the way you do.

The fact of the matter is, you want your efforts to be as easy as possible when trying to  become healthier and without understanding a few very important pieces of information, you may be making it much harder than it needs to be.  Let me try to straighten this out for you!  Make sure you see my 7 TIPS (listed below) to focus on for the best results.  The goal is to lose weight and not muscle all in the healthiest and safest way possible.
Learn workouts that torch calories and make you happy at the same time.

Learn workouts that torch calories and make you happy at the same time.

Muscle is a metabolically active tissue. It requires high energy requirements in order to sustain itself. Here is what to focus on... The more muscle you have the more calories your body burns, even when you're just sitting around. That's one reason why a fit, active person is able to eat considerably more food than the dieter who is unwittingly destroying muscle tissue. What a great problem to have! A great example would be a Professional Body Builder. Do they look fat? NO! Are they eating massive amounts of food? YES! Just look at their muscle mass. Here's a close up view of what one pound of muscle and one pound of fat look like side by side.

Crash Dieting:

If you are losing weight by crash dieting and not exercising, you are therefore sacrificing muscle tissue. You will not get the body transformation results you desire by crash dieting. You will temporarily lose weight and become fatter. Not good…Not healthy…and Not smart.

Extreme Low Calorie Diets:

  • Is this healthy? Does the weight stay off? Is it a good idea? NO!
  • Is your body in starvation mode? Are you slowing down your metabolism? YES!
Let's talk about these super low-calorie diets. We all know someone that has lost 10 plus pounds following one… How exciting and healthy that must be!!! (Please tell me you can pick up on my sarcasm).

But do the pounds stay off? NO! Here is why…

So when you follow a severely low calorie diet that causes your weight to drop 10 pounds in 7 days, it’s physically impossible for all of that to be fat. What you’re really losing is water, glycogen, and muscle. So the numbers on the scale are going down for that period of time but they certainly will not stay down once you get back into eating the right amount of quality foods, which will have to happen eventually. So, if you are losing weight by crash dieting and not exercising and therefore destroying muscle tissue, you are making it so much harder than it has to be and you still will not get the results you are after. Now some fat is necessary for overall health--we want some healthy fat. Why? It helps protect internal organs, provides energy, regulates hormones, and the right amount gives a general appearance of health. You do NOT want a fat-free, muscle-free body, it is not cute. For example, consider a 114-pound woman who is 24% fat (27 pounds fat weight, 87 pounds lean weight). If she loses 4 pounds of fat and adds 4 pounds of muscle she will still weigh 114 pounds but will only be 20 % fat (23 pounds fat weight, 91 pounds lean weight). Although her body weight remains the same, she has less fat and more muscle for a leaner, firmer, and fitter appearance.
We are at it again...FLEX OFF #2!

We are at it again...FLEX OFF #2! Feed your muscle, shrink the fat.

Being a Personal Trainer, I'm fascinated by the human body and the technology offered today that enables us to "see inside" our bodies. Check out this image for a great visual.

photo credit: here

The body fat is cream colored. Note in the image on the left that there is excess fat around the heart and especially inside and around the abdomen. Wow, right. This is the Majority of AMERICA! You might not know that body fat includes essential fats, and these make up around five percent of total body weight for men, and up to 12 percent for women. This is the fat that helps protect internal organs, provides energy, and regulates hormones (that's why women store more fat--those darn hormones!) Nonessential fat is found mainly within fat cells and adipose tissue, below the skin and extra fat surrounding organs. Everyone is different when it comes to the amount stored in the body, and depends on factors such as age, genetics, gender, and diet. The biggest contributor to excess fat (no surprise here): consuming more food (calories) than what is burned through resting metabolism and exercise/activity. Body fat percentage is the percentage of total body weight that is comprised of essential and non-essential fat.
Moni Hitting the Weights!

Moni Hitting the Weights! You want to work hard to challenge your body. ps- I really only look this "buff" when I flex. 😉

The average, healthy body fat percentages of men and woman (which can completely fluctuate):

  • HEALTHY BODY FAT % FOR MEN can range: 12-17%
  • HEALTHY BODY FAT % FOR WOMAN can range: 16-24%

Here are my top 7 tips to help you keep the muscle and burn the fat:

  1. Keep well hydrated (drink lots of water).<-- Try for a half your body weight in ounces.

  2. Find an eating plan that works for you. Visit to get healthy recipes. Don't skip meals, which can slow your metabolism. Don't compare your diet to anyone else. <--That alone will change your life and confusion!

  3. Eat complex carbs, ones high in fiber (about 50-60% of daily calories) unless you are extremely physically active, this will need to be adjusted to around 65% or more.

  4. Eat an adequate amount of lean protein to help build/keep muscle, about 15-30% of total daily calories. (This may also need to be slightly more depending on how active your muscles are.)

  5. Eat healthy fats, about 20-30% of your daily calories. <--Good Fats of course!

  6. Balance workouts. Cardio intervals for fat burning and high-intensity strength training for building muscle and keeping your metabolism revved up. <--Also know when to back off and beware of over-training. 

  7. BE HONEST TO YOURSELF AND HONOR YOUR BODY. AFTER ALL, YOU ONLY GET ONE! Be patient. <---It is a lifestyle shift and not a quickie fix!

Hope this was helpful!

Hope this was helpful!


You may also like my other posts:

"Are You In A Workout Rut? " <-- Lots of Shockers!

"Tips To Drinking More Water."<-- Easy Tips To Follow

What are your favorite tips to share? I would love to hear them!   Follow Moni to connect on Face BookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram (-to get a look of my everyday eats!)


Moni xx
Love Monica Nelson

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Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am not a Registered Dietitian. While my advice relies on my own personal experience and research, what has been successful for myself and others may be not best for you. You should always consult your doctor when making changes to your diet. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at

8 Comment to “MUSCLE VS. FAT”

  1. Renae says:

    Wow – The image of the bodies says it all. Thanks for posting such an informative article. Though I’ve never been on one – I knew there was a reason crash diets are awful for you.

    • Monica Nelson says:

      Hi Renae!
      Glad you liked the read, I am also glad you have not done a Crash Diet…there is really nothing great that comes out of it.:) Take Care.

  2. APRIL says:

    Hi! I’m soo glad you found my blog because now I found yours.. and I love it! This is soo true. I used to weigh 103 pounds and I looked way fatter than I do now about 10 pounds heavier- thanks to putting on some nice lean muscle!

    • Monica Nelson says:

      Good to hear from you April!
      Yes, you are a great example and also because you are (one of the few) who gets it! 🙂
      Feed the muscle and burn the fat! So glad we found eachother!

  3. Amy says:

    Monica, I’m 5″4″ and weigh 106. I weight train 4 days a week and do cardio 2 times a week. i consume about 2500 calories a day from very clean foods. In order to add a few pounds of muscle should I cut cardio or add calories? Any suggestions? thank you. I just found ur blog. Love it

    • Monica Nelson says:

      Hi Amy!

      Glad you found me and it is always tricky when trying to put on muscle. It takes effort!
      I can only encourage you to EAT more calories. Muscle needs energy to build and that is something you can do and still keep up your cardio if you love it. 🙂

  4. […] even more tips read my post Muscle vs. Fat and Foods to Fuel your Workout and When to […]

  5. Heidi says:

    This is a great article! Thank you, Moni! I love using your database for healthy recipes. I noticed that your meals are vegetarian and I’ve wondered what kinds of protein you choose to consume to help you with your vigorous training…because obviously, it’s working! Thank you!

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