I have to own up to a recent bit of mushy thinking resulting in an incorrect statement, suitably called to my attention recently by a blog reader. So I went to a valued medical consultant to clarify my thinking. The issue is worth thinking about for those of us who contemplate the above question and topic of this blog.
Sometimes you read that “muscle weighs more than fat.” Of course it doesn’t! In other words, a pound of fat is equal to a pound of muscle is equal to a pound of oysters — and that is fairly obvious, so my blog reader was correct.
What is relevant to understand is that any weight of muscle occupies less space or volume than the same weight of fat. So if we add more muscle and lose fat, we will take on a smaller shape or take up a smaller space.
However, think about a pound of steel versus a pound of balsa wood; steel is a far more dense substance than balsa. In fact, a cubic foot (a cube measuring 12 inches on each edge) of steel would weigh about 490 pounds whereas a cubic foot of balsa wood would weigh about 7 to 9 pounds.
Likewise, muscle is more dense than fat, but the difference between them isn’t nearly as great, so muscle takes up less space than fat per unit of weight, such as a pound. In short, a pound of muscle occupies less space than a pound of fat.
When those in waist training begin to lose fat their overall size will likely shrink. As my consultant says:
“So, if we imagine that a person were to lose four pounds of fat and gain four pounds of muscle, she would be smaller somewhere in her body but her total weight would not change. A larger volume of fat per pound would have been replaced by a smaller volume of muscle per pound.
“Corsets compress so they can also redistribute tissue fluids, and discourage fat from being deposited beneath them. In time corsets can move flesh around. Witness dents in the subcutaneous fat under the skin over the shoulders of some full-figure individuals, most likely caused by the pressure of bra straps.”