Does Fat Turn Into Muscle? Here’s The Truth
There is a great myth out there claiming that fat can be turned into muscle, whether it’s with a specific diet or exercise routine, but what’s the truth? Can you really turn fat into muscle?
The answer is simple because it’s no, you can’t.
There’s no magic that occurs between exercises or when you eat certain foods. Really, comparing fat and muscle is like comparing lead to gold. They are just two separate things. Your body can either gain/lose fat or gain/lose muscle. Not make one out of the other.
If you aren’t satisfied with the sort answer and really want to know why this myth isn’t true, it gets a bit more complicated, but here it is.
So, Why Can’t Fat Be Turned into Muscle?
Looking deeper into the myth, you’ll find why. The “why” lies in the science of weight loss.
Fat is made up of chains of fatty acids. These chains consist mostly of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen.
Muscle tissue is also made up of chains, but these are primarily made up of amino acids with nitrogen. Fat doesn’t contain nitrogen, so fat and muscle cannot cross into one another. It is impossible to turn flab into muscle without the same chemical makeup.
However, you are trying to decrease your body fat and gain muscle, you can do that. They are just two separate things that need to be worked on in their own ways. Some exercises can aid in accomplishing both. Weight lifting to lose weights is the ideal choice.
Weight lifting can:
- Increase lean muscle mass
- Decrease fat
- Increase muscle growth and strength
- Work specific muscles
- Help with toning certain trouble areas
Before you pick up some weight at the gym, it helps to know what you are getting yourself into. Weight lifting essentially causes damage to your muscle fibers and then rebuilds them better and stronger during recovery. During the exercise, your body sends signals to drive protein and amino acids into the muscle for the repair. Resting is just as important as the exercise because it allows the muscles to grow properly after the damage. Make sure you rest for an adequate amount of time and keep yourself properly nourished.
Decreasing Body Fat
Again, lifting weights can help with this area greatly. It do this in two ways: by using fat for fuel in the muscle building process and by using fat for fuel during exercise.
What Should You Do?
Your goals should consist of getting rid of fat and growing muscle strength and size. Again, these are two very different things, but they can be achieved at the same time—not because one can be turned directly into the other but because there are exercises targeting both areas. Many argue that in order to gain muscle you have to be in caloric surplus, meaning that you need to greatly up your calories in order to build up muscle. That would counter the idea around losing fat, which is achieved by maintaining a caloric deficit. How would these conflicting things work together for you, then?
Really, the truth is that if you want to lose fat, yes, you do need to maintain a calorie deficit, but, you do not need to be in caloric surplus to gain muscle. That is where the myth dies. To gain muscle, you have to be in a positive nitrogen balance. There was a study where people were divided people into 3 groups over a 12 week period. The first group were made caloric deficit. The second was caloric deficit, put on resistance exercises, and their casein protein intake was upped through supplementation. The third group was put on an identical schedule as the second but with whey protein instead of casein. The results showed that all three groups dropped in body fat because of the caloric deficit diet. The first group experienced no lean muscle growth. The second gained 2.5kg total of muscle mass, and the third had the same. So, what does this all mean? Is it possible for someone to gain muscle and drop body fat at the same time? Yes. Does that mean fat was turned into muscle? Absolutely not.
Key Points to Remember When Losing Fat and Building Muscle
- To maintain a positive nitrogen balance, you need to get enough sleep and increase your protein intake
- Remember that your muscles grow outside the gym, too, during recovery periods. Rest time is extremely important in muscle growth.
- Going through the traditional bulking plan means you will more than likely put on muscle mass quicker, but you will also be put on a “fat” diet. There is a lot of fat needed to be consumed in a bulking plan. Then, you will be on a cycle of consistently bulking and cutting. It isn’t a good option if you want to lose weight and gain muscle.
Try adding weight lifting to your exercise routine. It is a great option when the goal is to lose body fat and add muscle simultaneously. It also allows you to target tone certain areas of the body that you see are trouble areas.
So, in the end, can you turn fat into muscle? No. It may not be the answer you wanted to hear, but it’s the truth. What you can do is use your fat for fuel in the muscle building process by getting leaner and more muscular at the same time.
Don’t let the truth discourage you. You can still get the results you want. Do your research and find out the best plan for you based on your goals. That may include creating a caloric deficient and/or weight lifting.
It may take more work, harder workouts, and a more specific plan, but it can work for you if you want to achieve both fat loss and muscle gain during your journey.
In the end, only you can take that first step and the last step when it comes to reaching your goals. Make each step count.