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Does Muscle Turn into Fat If You Stop Working Out?

Heather Marr is an N.Y.C.-based personal trainer and The Model Trainer Method creator, whose A-list client roster includes some of the world’s most famous supermodels. Ahead, she reveals if muscle can turn into fat.

Can muscle turn into fat? This is a very common concern many people have before beginning a new exercise program. They are hesitant to start, believing that if they begin training and their schedules and responsibilities become too much to continue, that their muscle will turn into fat. These fears are irrational; muscle will not and in fact cannot turn into fat tissue.

If you don't use muscle, you lose muscle. It’s very simple. What would actually happen in this situation is the muscle would get smaller without use over time. The muscle would not turn into fat. The body would require less fuel (a.k.a. food) now with less muscle mass as well as decreased physical activity. If the person took in more than what their body was using, they would gain weight and body fat. Many times, what happens is a person ends their exercise program but doesn't appropriately adjust their food intake. So now, while they're dropping muscle, they're also gaining body fat. 

can i turn muscle into fat

How to Combat Potential Weight Gain

While budgeting time for physical activity is important for both physical and mental health, it may not always possible. There may be circumstances in our lives that make training impossible for certain periods of time. Worrying that your muscle will turn into fat during these periods is not a valid reason to avoid exercising whenever time permits, however. Making smart choices with nutrition and reducing food intake to match the body’s current needs during these busy periods can prevent gaining unwanted body fat. Then when circumstances allow, simply begin incorporating physical activity into your life again. 

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