If you take a peek into some of the advertising copy of “miracle” supplements, you may actually begin to believe that diet and exercise are no longer necessary if you want to become healthy and ripped. You just need to pop a pill, and your fat will magically turn into muscle.
But regardless of whether you believe the hype or not, you have to ask, does fat turn into muscle?
This is a good question, because turning fat into muscle has always been a standard claim in the fitness industry.
But if that’s the case…
Exactly how does fat turn into muscle?
The answer: it depends.
Fat vs. Muscle
If you mean literally turning fat into muscle, then the answer to the question is no. Fat does not turn into muscle, because they’re made from different types of cells. It is physiologically impossible to turn fat into muscle because fat doesn’t have nitrogen which is needed so it can turn into muscle and there’s no way to turn fatty tissue into amino acids.
It’s sort of like trying to turn straw into gold. It can only happen in fairy tales.
Less Fat, More Muscle
Now if we are talking about turning fat into muscle in a less literal sense, then it’s possible. It’s a figure of speech, just like when some advertising copy promises to turn you into Hercules. You don’t actually become the demigod son of Zeus—you just turn into a muscular dude.
But why do some chubby people turn into impressively muscled men in some pictures? You’ve probably seen them too. And then again, some people don’t seem to lose weight at all. They just become more fit and muscular while their flab disappears.
That’s because when you stick to an effective diet and weightlifting routine, two things can happen:
You will lose weight. When you don’t consume enough calories for your weightlifting activities, your body is then forced to lose burn the fat stored in your body for energy. Exercise burns calories, and combined with a diet your calorie intake can become less than the number of calories you use up.
You will gain muscle. When you lift weights, what you really do is to stress and tear your muscles. Your body then responds to this by rebuilding the muscles, and because you have lots of protein in your diet you have the necessary raw material to build more massive muscle.
You can’t turn straw into gold, but in the real world you can sell straw and then use the money to buy gold. And when we put it this way, we did turn straw into gold.
It’s the same thing for turning fat into muscle. You have two separate results—muscle gain and fat loss—but both are the results of your diet and weightlifting regimen. And they happen generally at the same time.
So does fat turn into muscle? In a way it does, from a certain POV.