Trying to lose fat and build muscle are common goals for many people; Among the many myths that exist in the world of fitness, one of the most popular is that it is possibleand turning fat into muscle through weight training and proper nutrition.
Is this process really possible? The answer is simple: NO!
Turning fat into muscle is physiologically impossible, as muscle and fat are made up of different cells.
Difference between muscle and fat
The muscle comes in three forms: skeletal, cardiac (heart) and smooth (found mainly in the intestine); the most often is the skeletal one, which is attached to the bones by tendons and allows voluntary movement of the body.
Instead, skeletal muscle tissue comprises bundles of muscle fibers known as myofibrils; they contain smaller fibers made up of long chains of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.
Body fat, also known as adipose tissue, includes triglycerides, a glycerol backbone, and three fatty acid chains; although there are various types of fat, it is made up exclusively of various carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
Since muscle and fat cells have different chemical compositions, neither can be converted into the other!
What Happens During Weight Loss?
Weight loss is often a combination of loss of fat, muscle and glycogen stores; ideally, most of the weight loss should come from fat loss.
To lose weight, you need to achieve a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than your body needs or by increasing physical activity to burn calories or a combination of both.
However, an excessive calorie deficit can lead to rapid loss of muscle mass, as the body will destroy the muscles for use as an emergency fuel source.
Therefore, a moderate deficit of about 500 calories is recommended, or 10-20% of the caloric requirement. During a moderate calorie deficit, body fat is used as fuel to support normal body functions.
How to lose fat and build muscle
If you're looking to lose fat and build muscle, here's how you can do it in a healthy and sustainable way:
- Moderate calorie deficit: no crash diet is healthy and, in the long run, the lost pounds will be recovered with interest
- Consumption of carbohydrates integral, unrefined and processed foods, foods rich in fiber
- Incorporate cardiovascular training (running, swimming, cycling) and strength training sessions (weight lifting) into your routine: strength training helps preserve and build muscles and increases metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more calories
- Consumption of foods rich in protein to support muscle building and growth (1,4 / 2 grams of protein per kg body per day is the recommended amount to maintain muscle while maintaining a calorie deficit that allows for the loss of body fat).
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