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Fit 4 Life | The myth of turning fat into muscle

Published:Wednesday | December 13, 2017 | 12:08 AMMarvin Gordon
As demonstrated by fitness coach Marvin Gordon, strength training should be part of every workout programme. In a fat-loss programme, it helps maintain – or even grow – muscle mass, improves fitness and strength, and prevents injuries.
Whether you are trying to lose or gain, cardio should remain a part of your workout programme, but for fat loss, cardio has no equal. Whether you include steady-state or interval training, nothing will burn fat like cardio.
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If I had a dollar for every time I've heard the myth of turning fat into muscle repeated. The simple truth is, it is physically impossible. Sure, you can lose fat and gain muscle, but muscle and fat are two very different types of tissue and one cannot be transformed into the other.

Avoid furthering this fat-loss myth; focus instead on fat loss and muscle gain as different goals.

To lose fat, you must maintain a caloric deficit and a balanced diet.

To gain muscle, you must follow the principle of progressive overload.

As beginners, you can do both up to a certain point with relative ease but the fitter you are the harder it becomes to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time.

Focus on fitness

The fitter you are, the more fat your body will burn. The more you train, the bigger and stronger your muscles get. Focus on improving performance but never sacrifice form for more repetitions or weight.

When trying to improve fitness, quality always trumps quantity. Doing 10 strict - correct form - reps of any exercise will always give better results than 20 done with poor form or cheating would.

Think of it like this: if you are doing an exercise correctly you should feel the targeted muscles working. If not, check your form. You are probably doing something wrong.

FAT LOSS

Cardio is King

Whether you are trying to lose or gain, cardio should remain a part of your workout programme, but for fat loss, cardio has no equal. Whether you include steady-state or interval training, nothing will burn fat like cardio.

Maintain a caloric deficit

The logic is bulletproof: if you want to lose weight you have to be burning more than you are consuming.

Don't skip strength training

Strength training should be part of every workout programme. In a fat-loss programme, it helps maintain - or even grow - muscle mass, improves fitness and strength, and prevents injuries.

Don't trust the scale

Don't camp out on the scale. Don't even trust the scale. Weight changes reflected on a scale might mean you are achieving your goal, it might mean nothing, or it might even mean that you are hurting your goal. Use other measurements such as body fat and body circumference measurements along with progress photos and weight to track progress.

MUSCLE GAIN

Eat for growth

Proper nutrition for muscle growth involves consuming more protein and complex carbs, while reducing simple carbs. Muscle tissue is made mostly of protein and protein is also required for the repair of muscles damaged during exercise. So don't skimp on the protein.

Overload

Most important for muscle growth is progressive overload. In order for your muscles to get bigger and stronger, you have to give them more work than they are used to. This can be mechanical - higher resistance/weight, or metabolic - working muscles to fatigue.

- Email: marvin.gordon@physiqueandfunction.com; yourhealth@gleanerjm.com