Tuesday tip: Turning fat in to muscle 💪🏼
How do you turn fat in to muscle?
Sadly you can’t! Fat is fat, muscle is muscle – totally different types of tissue. Both can be lost or gained – that’s it. So what’s happening when people say this? Well in reality people are losing some fat, and gaining some muscle, which is why it may seem like fat has “turned into” muscle. Fat is lost when you have a calorie deficit, muscle is gained by having a calorie surplus, working out (a muscle building stimulus) and having the raw materials to do it – protein. In most cases if you’re losing weight you are mostly losing fat, though if you are also upping your exercise then there will be some increase in muscle too – which is one reason why weight loss is often not a perfectly linear process. This will work best for those with a reasonable amount of fat to lose, on a moderate calorie deficit i.e. no starvation diets, who also increase their activity. This is what I design for many of my clients. It means you’ll be losing fat and also gaining a little muscle too. As muscle is denser than fat you’ll also shrink (they weigh the same… muscle just takes up less space than fat).
So what about when you stop working out? Does muscle magically turn in to fat?
Nope! it can’t! What happens though is if it’s short term your muscles are just less “pumped” so you “feel” fatter. Longer term you simply lose some muscle and probably gain some fat. This is because when you remove the stimulus which tells your body to build/maintain muscle (i.e. strenuous physical activity) you will lose the muscle mass. You’ll also end up burning fewer calories both through less activity, but also less muscle mass means a lower bmr (basal metabolic rate – i.e. calories burnt at rest), and so you are more likely to end up in a calorie surplus and put on fat.
The only way to prevent muscle being lost long term is to continue to workout! But you can prevent fat being gained – simply by ensuring you don’t eat more than your maintenance level of calories (easier said than done – though not impossible!)
So bottom line – fat can never be turned into muscle, and muscle is never turned into fat!
Happy Tuesday 🤗