By: Heather Marr
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 explores if fat can turn into muscle.
Fat and muscle are different tissues entirely and cannot transform from one to the other. Many people still believe that when they begin a healthy workout and weight loss plan that their fat is turning into muscle but that is not the case.
When a sedentary individual begins a training plan, they are of course increasing their activity level, metabolism, and muscle mass. Their body is now requiring more fuel than it did when they were previously inactive.
Along with increasing their muscle mass, they will be decreasing body fat if their calories are in a deficit. It appears that the person's body fat is transforming to muscle when in fact what is happening is their body fat is decreasing and their muscle mass is increasing. This is the very definition of what "toned" is; the fat decreases so the muscle then becomes more noticeable.
If a more "toned" physique is what you're after, then it's critical to ensure that you're getting adequate protein during the process. This helps to spare muscle tissue while you're dropping body fat. Not everyone is going to be excited to calculate their daily macros and use a digital food scale – and that's fine. Choosing lean proteins and making them a staple at every meal and snack is an easy way to make certain you're getting the protein that you need. Excellent sources you may want to enjoy in your plan include egg whites, chicken breast, ground turkey breast, shrimp, and haddock.
An area you cannot neglect if you're striving to change your body composition is resistance training. There are many different training splits that you can employ to reach your goals from full body to push/pull or body part splits depending on the training frequency. The key with any split that you choose to do is to be sure that you're using enough resistance. The body needs to be challenged to change. Lifting light weights for high repetitions is not what you want to be doing if you're trying to add muscle mass. Instead, pick a weight/resistance that you're able to perform the chosen exercise with good form for 6-12 reps. If you're getting to the end of your sets and feel you can perform more reps, that's an indicator to increase the resistance on your following sets.
Cardiovascular exercise is not going to change your body proportions in and of itself but when added to a smart nutrition and resistance training plan it can certainly help to shrink fat cells. It's important to find activities that you genuinely enjoy and will actually do. If you're dreading climbing on the Stairmaster, for example, then you need to find an alternative. Once you find an activity you enjoy and will engage in consistently be sure to continue challenging yourself overtime. Our bodies are adaptable, so you need to increase the demand as your fitness level improves.
We cannot turn our fat into muscle, but we can change our body composition which is the next best thing. Combining weight lifting and cardiovascular exercise with eating in a deficit that ensures adequate protein consumption is a sure-fire way to get more fit. Now, it’s time to get to work!