The internet and media nowadays is awash with supplements, diets and training strategies claiming to “convert fat into muscle!” But is this actually possible to do?
The answer is an absolute no. Muscle and fat are two entirely different substances and both play separate roles in the body.
Body fat is involved in several important physiological processes, including regulating appetite, storing fat-soluble hormones, such as vitamin D, and providing an energy source during periods of caloric restriction and survival. It also plays a vital role in protecting internal organs from damage.
Muscle tissue is not just vital for allowing us to move and function physically on a daily basis, it is also a big component of our daily energy needs.
Because these are two different substances and provide two vital uses for the body, it is simply impossible to turn one into the other.
The reason that people believe “muscle turns into fat” could be because of individuals who undergo a drop in their training. They go from relatively good body composition, in their current training state, to an untrained state. So, what happens is that they lose lean muscle mass while increasing their fat mass.
Let’s say you are incredibly active, and therefore have high daily body-fuelling requirements, you may be used to eating a certain amount of food. But, let’s say you break your arm. You can’t maintain the same level of training as before, so you can’t train anymore, or as much.
In that case, your daily energy requirements would decrease, but you carry on eating the same amount of food and drink as you were before. Ceasing training may also cause you to lose some muscle tissue.
So, it may appear like the muscle has turned to fat, but this is simply a case of your body fat and muscle levels changing due to the above factors.
For more food-related tips, read: Balancing Your Social Life With Your Fitness Goals