Can muscles turn to fat

A common concern before people start working out is – If you stop working out, does muscle become fat? This is a common myth. Let’s show you how.

Do muscles turn into fat (joshishi@flickr)

When you start working out, your body builds muscle. To build and maintain muscle, your body uses calories. As a result, your metabolic goes up. With an increased metabolic rate, your body needs more calories to maintain itself. So, you get hungrier and you eat more. As long as you keep up the cycle of working out and eating appropriately, life is great.

Now when you stop working out for a long period of time, due to inactivity your muscles begin to atrophy (shrink in size). So, your muscle mass reduces. With a reduced muscle mass, your body needs fewer calories to maintain itself, thus the amount of food needs to reduce appropriately.

This is the problem. When people stop working out, they don’t reduce their diets appropriately to match their reducing metabolic rates. So, they stop working out but keep eating the same amount of food. As a result, there is excess calories in the body. And we all know what happens with excess calories- they get stored as fat in the body.

So, muscle does not turn into fat. Its the extra calories that you eat that turn into fat. Next time someone tells you that muscles turns into fat, feel free to enlighten them or send them to us! And just know that as long as you know your daily calorie requirement, you won’t gain any weight!

Similarly, know that muscle does not turn into bone either!

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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