It is a complete myth that you can turn fat into muscle with training. Body fat and muscle aretwo completely different tissues. They have different structures and functions, they react totraining in different ways and, simply put, one does not have the capability to turn into theother. Let’s look at each individually:
Body fat is completely related to calories, and the amount that we have is directly influencedby the number of calories consumed versus calories expended. Calories consumed obviouslycome from the foods we eat. It is important to recognize that when we consume any type offood in excess, whether it is carbohydrates, protein or dietary fat, it will be converted to bodyfat.
The flip side of the equation is calories used or expended. This brings exercise to mind,however, your body also expends calories in other ways. We focus on exercise because it is themethod that can be most easily manipulated. Any form of exercise, at any intensity –aerobictraining, resistance training, going out for a walk or performing a spring workout –burnscalories and is, therefore, better than doing nothing at all. With all of this in mind, it is alsoimportant to understand that those thousands and thousands of individual fat cells that give usthose nice love handles act as one unit and essentially have three options: to grow and possiblydivide; to rest as is; or to shrink in size. The option your fat cells will choose completelydepends on the calories you consume versus the calories you burn in your daily activity.
Muscle is very different from fat. Each muscle is made up of thousands of individual cells,also called muscle fibers. While the number of muscles cells/fibers can not increase, eachindividual muscle fiber has the potential to increase in size, density and efficiency. Thesechanges may occur together but not necessarily to the same degree, however, all will translateto an increase in strength.
Unlike fat, strength gains are not related to calories; changes in the muscle physiology andresulting increases in strength do not occur as a result of dietary intake. Assuming you areeating a well-balanced diet, changes within your muscles are most influenced by the directstresses that you place on each of them individually. These stresses can be through job-relatedactivity, daily chores, aerobic activity or strength training. The key factor is that the muscle willonly react if the stress placed on it exceeds the everyday stress it is accustomed to.
Again, this doesn’t mean you need to get to the gym and start lifting weights; howevermuscle is often associated with weight/resistance training because this is the easiest way tocontrol and monitor the stress being placed on the muscle. It is also very effective because youcan isolate any muscle and do so in a safe environment.
1. Select any combination of the following statements that you believe represent well-reasoned conclusions based on the information above? (Click all of the “check boxes” to the left of the statements you think best represent well-reasoned conclusions.)
When you stop physical activity your muscle will turn to fat.
Sit-ups and crunches will target and reduce the fat around your stomach.
Adding protein to your diet will add muscle to your body.
The type of exercise preformed is not important to how fat is lost from the body.
Intensity of physical activity is more important than total muscle mass involved in the activity.
2. In addition to the conclusions you selected above, write one more well-reasoned conclusion based on the information in the reading on the first page.
3. Based on the information in the reading on the first page, write a short summary that will clearly explain the key concepts to your “non-science” classmates at St. Philip’s College.
4. Select any combination of the following statements that you believe represent alternative viewpoints on weight-loss, that are not consistent with the viewpoint of this article. (Click all of the “checkboxes” to the left of the statements you think best represent well-reasoned conclusions.)
For weight-loss, lowering carbohydrate intake is more important than lowering total calories.
Limiting fried foods and sweetened drinks may help reduce weight, because these foods/drinks are high in calories.
Neither food intake or exercise matters for weight loss, rather a persons genetics dictates their weight.
If a person reduces caloric intake by eating only one or two meals a day, they will increase fat storage because their metabolism will be affected.
If someone begins to engage in more exercise, they should increase the number of calories they eat if they wish to maintain their weight.
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