Size of muscle/fat

Discussion in 'Basic Training Principles and Methods' started by imported_da1andonlychacha, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. I read something that said a pound of muscle is equivalent in size to a red brick (like what you would build a house with), and a pound of fat is about 4 of those red bricks. Can anyone verify or denounce this statement? It's certainly interesting.
  2. Lars

    Lars New Member

    It's all about density. Ever noticed how thick people seem to be able to float around in water more easily than skinny or built guys ? One of the reasons for this is that fat is not very dense at all. Bone and muscle is more dense than water.

    Try dropping 10 grams of fat and 10 grams of meat in water and see what floats and what doesn't ;)
  3. well, sure. i understand density. i was wondering whether the 1 brick/4 brick thing was an accurate measurement.
  4. Lars

    Lars New Member

    Well, I did find one thing with a couple of references in it. Apparantly, muscle is 22% heavier than fat, so I think the 1:4 you found is a little misinterprated. Fat is 1/4 heavier than muscle, not 4 times.

    Check out the links: the post
  5. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    if 1lb of muscle is a red brick, 1lb of fat would be smaller than that, not 4 times larger.
  6. tigerfan_9

    tigerfan_9 New Member

    not lead and foam: lead is heavier so 1 lb of lead takes up much less space than 1 lb of foam.

    a fat guy who ways 250 lbs will take up a lot more space than a guy who is 250 lbs of mostly muscle.

    muscle is about .042 lbs/cubic in
    fat is about .034 lbs/cubic in

    so to have 1 lb of each:

    1lb muscle = 23.81 cubic in
    1lb fat = 29.40 cubic in

    so 1 lb of fat takes up about 23.5% more space than a lb of muscle.
  7. jeffw

    jeffw New Member


    I think that's correct.


    Huh? Let's take a currency example: $1.22 is 22% more than $1.00. $1 is 18% less than (not 22% and certainly not a quarter of) $1.22.


    Anecdotally, I can stand to lose, oh, about, 7-8 pounds around my midsection, which is in no way (thank goodness!) near to <span style='color:red'>28-32</span> of those red bricks.


    But why listen to anecdotes? (Heck, now I'm curious, too.) Let's do the math, shall we?

    According to this site Standard and modular brick dimensions a standard brick is:

    3 5/8&quot; x 2 ¼&quot; x 8&quot; or 65.25 in³


    65.25 in³ = ~1069.3 cm³

    (Conversions courtesy of this site.)

    According to the site given by Lars, &quot;The density of fat is about 0.9g/cm³, whereas the density of lean tissue is 1.1g/cm³.&quot;

    A pound of fat is roughly 453 g. If there are 0.9g/cm³, then a pound of fat would be a little more than 503 cm³.

    If a brick is 1069.3 cm³ and, as we just said, a pound of fat is a little more than 503 cm³, then <span style='color:ff4000'>a pound of fat is a little less than the size of</span> <span style='color:red'>half a brick</span>—about 47% the size of a standard brick. (Whew!)

    [Math police: Check my calculations.]
  8. hm, well we got that settled. What I'm really wondering though is, how close is 23.81 cu in to a brick?
  9. haha, looks like jeff posted his answer as i was writing my question. good job at figuring it out guys, some fat loss expert is way off. too bad though, i was hoping the 2 lbs i just gained would translate into 2 bricks, but I guess I'll settle for gravel instead. In fact, why don't we just state it that way. A pound of muscle is the size of standard gravel.... and a pound of fat is 3 acorns.... We should get Bryan to put it in the science section of his book.
  10. jeffw

    jeffw New Member

    BTW, I wasn't trying to dis tigerfan_9 by not using his figures, and, in fact, if I had used them, it would have made the calculations a little easier.

    Using tigerfan_9's figure of 1lb fat = 29.40 cubic in, a pound of fat is roughly 45% the size of a standard brick (so, real close to the other figure of 47%), and, if a 1lb muscle = 23.81 cubic in, then a pound of muscle is roughly 36.5% the size of a standard brick.

    Perhaps I shouldn't be amazed that someone (a &quot;fat loss expert&quot;?) might spout some &quot;pound of fat = four bricks&quot; statement (if, in fact, someone did) but I am, given that it didn't take a whole lot of time to figure out.

    But, actually, it was a <span style='color:e25b00'>really good question</span>, I thought, because, while everyone thinks of pounds of fat or muscle in terms of, well, weight (obviously!), I didn't have any <span style='color:green'>good</span> intuitive idea, before this question came up, of the size in terms of the volume. (Well, apparently, that fat loss &quot;expert&quot; didn't, either.) Now I do. Thanks!
  11. Lars

    Lars New Member

    Well, Jeff...I just have to argue (still in workout mode :D )

    1/4 = 0.25 - We can agree on that, can't we ?

    1/4 more than 1 = 1 + 1/4 = 1 + 0.25 = 1.25
    Whatever 1/4 less than one is was not the issue, but your calculations are correct. Both of them, except you misread my post. The reason I used 1/4 was for simplicity since there is not much difference between 0.22, 0.237 and 0.25 in this context.

    I'm not in argue mode or anything...I just can't let a little misunderstanding like that let people believe my basic math skills are crap :D
  12. jeffw

    jeffw New Member

    Oh, no, problem, Lars. I had a feeling you were rounding for convenience. I wasn't at all trying to make a statement about your math skills.

    I might have misinterpreted the phrase

    which might mean <ul>[*]&quot;a quarter of&quot; (as in &quot;25 is a quarter of 100&quot;),
    [*]&quot;a quarter less than&quot; (as in &quot;75 is a quarter less than 100&quot;), or even
    [*]&quot;a quarter more than&quot; (as in &quot;125 is a quarter more than 100&quot;)[/list]the last, given the context of this thread, not being the case, because fat is lighter than muscle.

    So, yeah, I agree: For the same volume, in terms of weight, fat is about a quarter (or, as I said, closer to 18%) less than that of muscle.

    I wouldn't mind if you were arguing, especially if you thought I had disparaged your math skills. (Let's duke it out! ) I would be chagrined if I unintentionally gave the impression that your math skills were crap. [​IMG] (and I would not intentionally do so). Apologies if that's the case. :)
  13. centris

    centris New Member

    The final question I am wondering -

    what every day object is best equivelant* to 1lb of fat...

    (other than a smaller brick) ;-)

    I did find this - but this is not an every day object
  14. Lars

    Lars New Member

    I would say a 1lb piece of meat, 1lb of feathers, a 1lb dumbbel etc [​IMG]

    Just kidding with you. I assume you're talking about volume, not weight ?
  15. jeffw

    jeffw New Member

    The gym I go to sometimes has those anatomical replicas of fat and muscle lying around, and I've wondered just where they get them from. The five-pound fat replica definitely gives one pause before dropping by the local Krispy Kreme. (Oh, given the international character of the board: that's a doughnut place in the US and Canada.)

    Funny, as I was writing my post, I was also wondering what (other than a smaller brick, as you said) was a good, everyday equivalent of a pound of fat. Maybe one offhand is four sticks (or a pound) of butter? (Yeah, yeah, butter is probably not exactly the same as fat tissue.) If that's hard to picture, how about a pound of fresh French butter as shown here?


    It was kind of a tempting shot so I couldn't resist.

    Oh, yeah, a pound of feathers occurred to me, too, Lars! LOL! [​IMG]


    P.S. Great minds (and ours, also) think alike as this thread elsewhere on the <span style='color:ef0000'>identical issue</span> (well, minus the &quot;brick equivalence&quot; question) shows
  16. Well I got my math lesson for the day [​IMG]

    Good stuff though, I actually never thought of it that way.
  17. Lars

    Lars New Member

    How abotu going to your local liposuction clinic, ask for a couple of pounds of fat, then go to your local, friendly butcher and ask him or her to vacuum pack (is that the right word for it?) for you.

    I guess it's as gross as it gets, but at least you'd see what fat *really* looks like under the skin... [​IMG]
  18. I'm sure we have all seen this, Jr. High Science class maybe
    5 Lbs of Human Adipose tissue, how many bricks is that jeffw? [​IMG]
  19. jeffw

    jeffw New Member

    Well, now that we all know the indispensable Standard Brick/Human Adipose Tissue Conversion Factor (one wonders how we ever got along without it?), that question is a snap:

    1 lb fat = .45 standard brick so
    <span style='color:ff4000'>5 lbs fat =</span> <span style='color:red'>2¼ standard bricks</span> (precisely, I might add)

    Well, that was easy.

    What I was wondering about was why Lars suggested a vacuum pack? If I were going to go to my neighborhood liposuction clinic (when hasn't that occurred to me?) and fetch a half a brick of fat, I'd definitely want something a little more <span style='color:green'>permanent</span> for all to, um, admire and enjoy. What could be <span style='color:red'>more obvious</span> than embedding it, for everlasting display, in crystal clear <span style='color:2e66ff'>acrylic</span>, perhaps like the <span style='color:9b5536'>pennies</span> in this item?

    (And who among us hasn't wanted something like that, really?)

    The mind boggles at which item is more absurd, although one might be, arguably, a little more educational and the other a little more utilitarian, perhaps.
  20. Lars

    Lars New Member

    Well, my gross suggestion boils down to the following: being able to squeeze it and feal it moving and listening to the gross sound it makes - all for the good purpose of making it easier to stay motivated. When I did my CKD a few years back I used to envision having a 20l backpack and then filling it up with the lard I managed to melt off my body. When I was really feeling beat up and wanted to eat carbs - especially on that long, steep, final uphill to work - I used to think about all the fat that was now in my backpack and not around my belly and organs.

    I know - it's gross...but - DA.MN what a great feeling it was to close my eyes and envision that evil stuff floating around, and probably dripping out of, my backpack.

    Personally, I think real human adipose tissue would do a he.ll of a lot better job than a brick! [​IMG]

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