What is lean muscle mass? - Emily Skye

What is lean muscle mass?

What is lean muscle mass?

The other day I had a lady say she had heard the term ‘lean muscle mass’ used a lot and wasn’t exactly sure what it was. So I thought I would take the time to write a quick blog about what the term ‘lean muscle mass’ means, and why it is an important consideration for everyone working on their fitness.


There are three different types of muscle tissue, which include cardiac, smooth and skeletal muscle fibers. Cardiac muscles are those that make up the walls of the heart and are under involuntary control (your heart is going to beat even if you forget about it!). The smooth muscle fibers in our body are those that make up the walls of the hollow visceral organs in the body such as the stomach and the oesophagus, which are also under involuntary control.

The third type of muscle fibers are those referred to as skeletal muscles, the ones that are attached to bone and ligaments and are under voluntary control. It is these that we are referring to when we use the term lean muscle mass.

Lean Muscle Mass

The term ‘lean muscle mass’ is referring to lean body content, which is the content of the muscle minus the fat.

Say there are twins of the same height and bone structure that both weight 80kg. One could be considered overweight whilst the other had a high percentage of lean muscle mass. This is because fat weighs less than muscle. So the twin who is considered overweight may have minimum lean muscle mass, yet a high body fat percentage, whilst the other has a low body fat percentage and has developed considerable lean muscle mass.

When considering lean muscle mass and comparing it to body fat percentage, it is important to remember that most women naturally have a higher body fat percentage, whilst men generally have a little more lean muscle mass.

So why work on building more lean muscle mass?

  • Build strength
  • Tone and definition
  • Enhanced muscle endurance
  • Enhanced health
  • The more muscle you have the more calories you burn doing everyday things!

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