Does Fat Turn Into Muscle?
Absolutely not. Instead, fat is broken down through complicated metabolic pathways and expelled from the body through your lungs, sweat and urine. Muscle growth and development (hypertrophy) is achieved by putting your muscles to work and eating a correct diet to support the anabolic phase (muscle building phase). Both of these processes come down to exercise (expending energy) and a balanced diet (intake of energy) in moderation, to suit your body and desired goals.
Muscle is denser and heavier per square area. If you were to compare 2 people with the same body measurements, the person with higher muscle density would weigh more than the person with higher fat density, despite being the same size. This is why scales become a less effective way to measure changes in your body. More likely than not, when you commence a new exercise regime, you will gain a kilo or so before you start to lose some. Active muscle stores more water, carbohydrates, nutrients and glycogen and this can contribute to the extra kilo or 2 you may have gained. Your fat (adipose tissue) is broken down and removed from the body, mostly in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2). Keep in mind that breaking down fat tissue is a complicated and lengthy process and cannot be done excessively in a matter of days or weeks - no matter which diet you follow! It takes time to build up fat tissue, therefore it's going to take some time to remove it.
The image above represents 2kg of fat (left) and 2kg muscle (right). This gives an understanding of how different body compositions can affect your weight. Most often your body becomes smaller and your measurements (cm) are shrinking but not necessarily your weight (kg). After a few months of healthy eating and exercises, you will start to notice a reduction in cellulite and fat tissue and eventually a decrease in weight will follow.
Will Weight Training Make Me Big and Bulky?
Also not true. Lifting weights or resistance training is actually one of the most beneficial styles of training for a healthy and fit body. Weight training is suitable and recommended for most people and benefits of weight training include; increased muscular strength, increased bone density - decreased risk of osteoporosis, reduced risk of injury, improved posture, reduced back pain, increased metabolic rate and the list goes on. Weight training will help to tighten and tone your body and give a more athletic look.
Cardio Burns The Most Amount Of Calories?
Maybe in the first initial hour or two. If your ideal body physique is for a lean and toned body then you need to opt towards the weights or resistance training. If you’re looking for a lean, fit and cardiovascular strong body then you want a combination of resistance (weight) and cardiovascular (cardio) training. Resistance training changes your physique whilst cardiovascular training strengthens your heart and respiratory system. Running for hours on a treadmill will not give you a toned body physique. Whilst it is challenging your cardiovascular system, it's not necessarily working your skeletal muscles to their full potential.
Cardio burns more calories during exercise, whilst resistance training burns less calories during exercise but has an added benefit of caloric ‘after burn’. After your work out is complete you will enter a phase of building and repairing the muscles, this process consumes an amount of energy and the more building and repairing that needs to be done, the more calories you will expend or use up. So the harder you work out or the more effort you put in, the more afterburn you will experience. This extra burning of calories also increases your metabolic rate, which means you will burn more calories in a resting state.
If I Exercise Every Day, Can I Eat What I Want?
True, you might be able to eat whatever you want and not gain weight as weight management is a simple algorithm of calories in equalling calories out. Although, your quality of foods will play a huge part on your energy levels, muscle rebuild and repair, quality of sleep, time to failure (fatigue) as well as many other factors of your well-being. Not all calories are equal. Some come with added health benefits such as vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids and others are just dead or empty calories. Every individual absorbs and metabolises calories differently and your body doesn't necessarily run on a number counting system, so, therefore, not all calories can be treated equally.
Head Trainer & Nutritionist