The Muscle-Fat Myth

*Do not take this article as a substitute for professional advice. This article is meant to report on lifestyle and diets.

The saying, “muscles will turn into fat,” is one that we’ve all heard too many times when in fact, this statement is undoubtably false. As your body is unable to convert fat into muscle, it is also incapable of turning muscle into fat. This is due to the fact that fat and muscle or two separate entities, meaning that “fat and muscle are two different types of tissue, and one cannot be converted directly into the other,” says Brad Schoenfeld, an assistant professor of Exercise Science at the City University of New York’s Lehman College. “The best analogy I can use is, you cannot turn an orange into an apple,” Schoenfeld told Live Science.

But why do we feel less tight and toned after multiple holiday feasts and our sudden absence from the gym? Although you may think that you are losing you muscles as they form into fat, your body composition is changing, and your muscles begin to shrink. With a decrease in calorie burn, fat cells start to expand, causing the body to appear softer and less toned.

People who exercise regularly then suddenly stop, tend to gain fat at a rapid rate because they don’t adjust their food to compensate for their decreased caloric needs. If this sounds like you, don’t worry! Just remember to adjust your calorie intake in relation to the amount of exercise you do.

A very popular workout for people with a busy schedule is HIIT, known as, “High Intensity Interval Training.” HIIT is one of the best solutions as it is simply short intervals of extremely high-intensity exercise. It involves a lot of muscle mass which demands a tremendous amount of oxygen during both the workout interval and recovery periods. Be careful! Since HIIT is such a high-intensity workout, it can be very strenuous on the body. Be sure to keep it to three times a week to stay safe see the best results!

In conclusion, the statement, “muscles turn into fat,” is just a myth. Since fat and muscle are two different types of tissue, they are not interchangeable. In fact, the softness you see is just the expanding fat cells covering the shrinking muscles. It is important to maintain a regular exercise schedule as coming to an abrupt stop can cause in increase in fat gain. However, sometimes things happen, schedules become busier, and time seems to fade away, but that’s completely normal! If fat gain is something you want to avoid, keep in mind the factors that contribute to your calorie intake and adjust accordingly. If you really want to go the extra mile, you might want to consider HIIT as something to add to your exercise routine. Remember that these are just tips. Everybody has a different body so please exercise this with caution and be aware of how your body could react. Also, keep in mind that everyone has fat and its presence isn’t something to be ashamed about.

Written by Sarah Abdellatif

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