Can You Turn Fat into Muscle? Let’s Look at the Science

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Want to know the truth about transforming fat into muscle?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

Imagine a world where you could take all the fat on your body, and simply make it into lean, beautiful muscle instead. Wouldn’t that be incredible? You wouldn’t have to worry about what you looked like, because every time you glanced at a mirror, you’d be overwhelmed by the site of a stunning, muscular body.

Here’s the deal…

Life isn’t that simple.

I’d love to tell you that all you need to do is adjust one part of your diet or try a new exercise routine and all your fat will melt away to be replaced by glorious muscle – but I didn’t become Marc Dressen, personal trainer, by telling lies.

The unfortunate truth is that you can’t turn muscle into fat, or fat into muscle. It would be like transforming wood into steel – the two materials are completely different. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get rid of fat and maintain muscle at the same time. In this article, I’m going to show you why fat doesn’t just transform into muscle, as well as what you can do with results-driven training, to get the body you want, anyway.

Why Fat Doesn’t Turn into Muscle

Let’s start by addressing why fat can’t become muscle. The simple answer is this – they’re two totally different things.

Muscle tissue is constructed mostly of water, protein, and glycogen – which is a type of carbohydrate. On the other hand, body fat is made up largely of triglycerides, which are packages of fatty acids. The primary role of muscle is to empower movement, while the role of fat is to store energy for the body to use day-in, day-out.

Both tissues can do other things too. For instance, muscle can store carbohydrates for energy, and fat can help with the production of hormones. However, the underlying fact to remember is that they’re two very different things.

So why do people think that they can transform one thing, into another?

Most of the time, the confusion comes from the fact that people see huge body transformations online, where people seamlessly transition from flabby, to muscle-bound. The important point to remember is that the people who go through these transformations are more muscular, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve traded their fat in for muscle.

Instead, the people who have transformed their body correctly have gained muscle and lost fat at the same time with body recomposition. While their muscle tissues grew, their fat cells shrunk, and that lead to a dramatic change in their appearance.

Though muscle can grow, and fat can shrink at the same time, they don’t ever change from one thing to another.

The Alternative for Turning Fat into Muscle

So, you can’t turn fat into muscle, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach your fitness and weight-loss goals. All you need to do is change your focus to losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time. Fortunately, this process is simpler than you’d think. All you need to do is:

  • Use the right caloric deficit
  • Eat enough protein
  • Start compound lifting
  • Try HIIT

Step 1: The Caloric Deficit

The only way anyone can lose a significant amount of fat from their body is to burn more energy than they eat. When you use more energy than you consume, you create something called an “energy deficit”, that needs to be addressed. Your body turns to the stores of fat it’s collected to fill the gap, which is why you start to lose weight. Keep your body in a caloric deficit for long enough, and you’ll end up with the body you’ve always wanted.

It’s that simple.

Step 2: Eat Plenty of Protein

Of course, you don’t just want to lose fat, you want to gain muscle too. Research indicates that when a person restricts their caloric intake, a high-protein diet typically leads to more muscle preservation, greater fat loss, and feelings of satisfaction too.

This means that if you want to lose fat and keep your muscle growing, then you’re going to need to make sure that you’re eating plenty of protein. The recommended intake of protein is about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. However, I’d recommend that you stick to at least one gram per kilogram instead.

Step 3: Start Heavy, Compound Weightlifting

Compound exercises are the ones that make use of various major muscle groups, such as the bench press, squat, and deadlift. If you’re looking for the best way to gain strength and muscle as quickly as possible, then you’re going to need to use these exercises in your training as often as you can.

With heavy compound weightlifting, you can put yourself in a state of progressive tension overload. This helps to increase the amount of tension present in your muscles as time passes, which is perfect for driving muscular growth.

Step 4: Do More HIIT

While you don’t necessarily have to do cardio to start losing fat, it’s a good way to speed up the process. Just remember, if you do too much cardio, you could end up facing problems with your muscle gains. Instead, focus on doing high-intensity interval training, or HIIT.

This is much tougher than traditional cardio, but research indicates that it’s capable of burning more fat, improving your metabolic rate, and enhancing your insulin sensitivity within the muscles, which is great for growth.

Turning Fat into Muscle: The Bottom Line

Unfortunately, turning fat into muscle just isn’t possible – it can’t be done. These two substances are completely different, and unless you’re a real magician, then you can’t turn one into the other.

However, what you can do, is replace the fat that you don’t want in your body with muscle, by gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time. It’s easier than you’d think too – all you need to do is maintain the right calorie deficit, eat enough protein, do your compound weightlifting, and try HIIT.

Marc Dressen
Personal Trainer London

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Image Source: Pixabay