Another good blog post by Barry, a Nordic Walking Instructor in the UK.
If you read or listen to the media , be it print , TV , radio or the internet , you will hear many fitness and/or diet folk talk about converting Fat to Muscle by exercising and diet and about converting Muscle to Fat through lack of exercise and poor diet. This is , to be frank , rubbish. Fat is composed of mono , di and tri glyceride compounds , fatty acids , fatty alcohols and phospholipids, - all composed of carbon (C) , hydrogen (H), phosphorus (P) and oxygen (O). Muscle , on the other hand , is composed of protein which itself is composed of carbon (C) , hydrogen (H) , oxygen (O) , nitrogen (N) , phosphorus (P) and sulphur (S). You don’t need to be a PhD chemist (although , in fact I am) to realise that Fat lacks nitrogen and sulphur so , unless you have the modern equivalent of Philosopher’s Stone , you cannot convert Fat to Muscle or vice versa.
What exercise does , if combined with diet , such that more calories are burned per day than are consumed by eating , is to stimulate the muscles to undergo hypertrophy and add more muscle fibre – sourced from eating protein. Fat loss is due to more calories being burned than consumed so that surplus body fat becomes the body’s fuel. So , the fact that Muscle is added whilst Fat is lost is just a consequence of an efficient diet and exercise regime and not due to a direct conversion.
The converse is also a myth , Muscle doesn’t turn into Fat. If Muscle is not used in exercise and is not , therefore regularly stimulated to burn the bodies energy store , the body allows Muscle to be lost in a process known as atrophy. So why do people often put down layers of fat when they stop taking regular exercise ? The answer lies in the bodies appetite for food. If exercising regularly , your calorie intake will be higher than if you have a sedentary lifestyle. Ceasing to exercise leaves the body with an ingrained expectation of eating a certain amount of food. This disturbs the balance leading to more calories being consumed than burnt – the result is that the body stores this as fat.
Read more at nordicwalk2fitness.com
So , if you exercise and diet correctly , you will lose Fat and gain Muscle. If you cease to exercise and do not correct your diet to take that into account , then you will lose Muscle and gain Fat. BUT you do not convert one into the other and vice versa. Many fitness professionals claim that their exercise regime will convert Fat into Muscle , many Diets are sold to consumers claiming that they can bring about this conversion. All not true !