Don Baker - Bodybuilding and Fitness Consultant
Have you ever heard fitness pros and mainstream media claim that this or that exercise program will turn your fat into muscle? Well, we regret to inform you this claim — as good as it sounds — is simply false.
The process of burning fat is completely separate from the process of building muscle, though the two processes are related to each other, says Lauren Shroyer, MS, director of product development for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “The phrase of turning your fat into muscle likely came from that relationship, and was a huge oversimplification of the process that actually happens,” she adds
To help clarify the relationship — and how you can use it to your advantage — we explain the process of building muscle and burning fat in more detail.
HOW YOU BUILD MUSCLE
To build muscle, you first have to break your muscles down. The best way to do this is to place more stress on your muscles than they’re accustomed to.
“Your body is adapting to any of the stresses that you put upon it, so if you are exercising and you are increasing the amount of weight you lift or the distance you run, you are providing an environment for your muscles to become stronger in one way or another,” Shroyer says.
More specifically, when you lift weights or otherwise stress your body, you cause damage to your muscle fibers. Once damaged, your muscle sends out an SOS signal for unique cells known as satellite cells to come to rescue and repair or repl