How many times have you been told that the magical solution to get a beautiful, strong, and lean body is to turn fat into muscle? Probably a lot, if you actively looking for ways to lose weight and tone your body too. And it sounds like an amazing prospect!
Instead of burning it up, why not use fat to turn your body muscular and beautiful? The problem is, when something sounds too good to be true, it’s likely it isn’t.
Can you turn fat into muscle, yes or no?
No, it is simply not possible. Fat is stored energy while muscles are tissues that use that energy to move the body. Think of the muscles as a car and fat as the fuel. It is impossible to turn one into the other.
What can happen, depending on how you plan your workouts, is a substitution. A big car burns more fuel than a smaller one. Likewise, as you work your muscles, they will start burning more energy. The muscles grow bigger and the fat reserves grow smaller.
You don’t turn fat into muscles; you burn fat and as muscles grow, they take up that empty space.
How to burn fat faster
If your goal was to turn fat into muscle, bear in mind that burning the excess of fat will lead to weight loss but not necessarily to bigger muscles.
The following tips are aimed at weight loss, but if you want a toned body and to avoid a deflated appearance, you will need to structure your workouts to that goal.
Reduce your calorie intake slowly
Don’t jump into restrictive diets to lose weight right away. If the body finds itself suddenly deprived of the nutrients and energy sources it is used to, it will message the brain that you need to increase your food intake, which will make craving much worse.
You will also me bore likely to feel tired and suffer from mood changes.
Start slowly and aim at simply restructuring your diet to balance the portions of nutrients and calories you need. According to a 2016 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, to lose weight you should reduce your intake of calories while increasing the consumption of protein.
Try to divide each meal into a proportion of 35% of protein, 35% of healthy fats and 30% of nutritious carbs such as the ones you get from beans and whole grains.
Do high-intensity interval trainings (HIIT)
A study published in January of 2017 compared the effects of HIIT and continuous exercise for weight loss. It concluded that even though they both present effective and tangible results, the individuals that tried the first reached their fat burning goals faster.
A later research from September of the same year also confirmed that HIIT is superior to other kinds of training when it comes to reducing body fat faster.
Aim at 6 meals per day
To increase your fat burning rate, you should try to eat 6 small meals per day instead of 4 big ones.
First, you will be providing your body with a constant influx of nutrients and energy sources. This way, it won’t feel deprived and it won’t increase cravings or the need for irrational food choices.
And second, by eating more meals throughout the day you will also be keeping your metabolism working and burning fat constantly.
There are already several studies documenting the inverse relation between the hours of sleep and the increase of the body mass index.
According to a research published in Nature International Journal of Science, this relation can be partially explained by the increase in appetite that sleep deprivation triggers.
This result is also in line with the findings of an earlier study of 2004 that confirmed that fewer hours of sleep meant higher levels of ghrelin and lower levels of leptin, two hormones with a direct implication in regulating food appetite.
A research from 2010 goes further in its findings, admitting that sleep deprivation affects not only the intake of calories by increasing the appetite, but it also undermines the efforts to reduce body fat.
Do some weight training
Cardio is the best type of training to lose weight as it’s the best to raise the heartbeat and increase the metabolism speed. However, you should also include some weights and strength exercises in your workouts.
Weight training won’t turn fat into muscle but, by developing the muscles, it will prevent you burn them too while burning fat.
Besides, it will give you a more toned look as you shed the extra pounds and, as mentioned before, bigger muscles require more energy and more fat burning.
Is it possible to burn fat and grow muscle at the same time?
The misconception that you can turn fat into muscle has helped to promote the idea that burning and building can be done at the same time. This is not impossible, but it’s hard as both actions require different exercises and diets. It is much easier and effective to do both separately.
That being said, if you’re not in shape and are a beginner, the gains you can get from combining fat burning and muscle building exercises will be much higher than those of an athlete.
To find out the scientific explanation for this, check out the video below.