If you have noticed yourself packing on the pounds, but all of that bulk is not exactly the kind you want, you may have begun wondering how you can convert that body fat into muscle.
Although your fat cells cannot be transformed into muscle cells, you can achieve the same goal by following a diet that is suited for both weight loss and muscle building as well as engaging in strength training and other appropriate exercises.
In the rest of the article, we are going to look in more detail into exactly what you can do to your diet to get the best results for trading fat for muscle, find out what kind of exercises you should be incorporating into your weeks, and learn the importance of a calorie deficit for this routine.
How Can I Go From Fat to Muscle?
Changing your body’s composition from more fat to more muscle will take an approach with multiple facets. Because fat cells cannot be transformed into muscle cells, the essence of what you will need to do is both lose fat and gain muscle, but in a way that each task does not harm the other.
Maintaining a calorie deficit is a relatively straightforward way to lose fat, but you will have to be careful with exactly how you approach this if you are aiming to build muscle at the same time. Following a carefully designed diet with the right nutritional profile will enable this to work in the best way possible.
Muscle will not build itself naturally unless you already have some sort of workout program or a job that is physically intensive. This is why you will also need to incorporate exercise into your routine. Strength training is best of building muscle fast, but you can also do aerobic exercises to aid in fat loss and build better overall health.
To sum up, to go from fat to muscle, you need to consider all of the following three points:
- Achieve the correct nutritional intake
- Incorporate an exercise routine
- Maintain a calorie deficit
What Do I Need to Eat to Go From Fat to Muscle?
It is easy to say that simply eating less will help, and we will talk about calorie deficits later in the article, but here, let’s look in a lot more detail at exactly what you should and should not eat when you are eating.
Protein is probably the most important macronutrient for muscle building because it has what your body needs to build and repair muscle. Working out without consuming protein will limit your results significantly.
Protein also happens to be terrific for burning fat for two big reasons. The first is that the protein itself needs a lot more energy for your digestive system to break down, thus effectively burning a portion of itself in the process. The second reason is that it makes you feel sated faster. In other words, consuming protein will make you feel less hungry and therefore eat less.
Although the name might put you off, eating fat will not make you gain fat any more than other foods. In fact, it is less fattening than carbohydrates and is even essential in assisting your body’s breakdown of protein.
If you have opted for a diet that is very rich in protein to help build muscle but do not eat any fat with it, you could fall victim to protein poisoning, with consequences as severe as death. So don’t feel guilty about that side of fatty bacon.
Carbohydrates continue to be a controversial topic among nutritionists. If you have heard about concepts like carb cycling and carb loading, you know that carbohydrates can be useful for muscle growth.
Carbohydrates are also a huge cause of weight gain in the form of fat storage because your body needs to release insulin to break them down, but insulin will increase your body’s tendency to store energy in the form of fat cells.
Because of this polarization in effects, the best thing you can do regarding carbohydrates is to try to strike a balance where you are eating enough to aid in muscle growth but not enough to cause notable insulin levels.
Although often associated solely with a healthy skeleton, calcium is also an important nutrient in triggering muscle contractions, making it critical for your workout program. Fat cells with higher levels of calcium have also been found to burn fat faster than their more calcium-deprived counterparts, so this nutrient will help you with both of your goals!
Having a banana alongside a workout session is something you have seen people do forever, but what you may not know is that the reason for that is because of the high levels of potassium in them. Potassium is important in carrying all sorts of nutrients to your muscle cells, which you will need to stay on top of if you want them to grow.
Iron aids your red blood cells in the very important job of transporting oxygen throughout your system. That means to your muscles too. Low iron will impede your muscles’ performance and growth since they will not have enough of the life-sustaining element.
Although people talk about the health benefits of vitamin C extensively, one of the ones that are rarely mentioned is weight loss. Researchers have found that vitamin C helps your body to burn fat significantly faster during exercise.
Do you have the infamous “beer belly” – the concentration of fat in your abdominal area, underneath the muscle? This is known as visceral fat. Visceral fat clusters around your organs and is a much greater health hazard than the subcutaneous fat that sits on top of the muscle and under the skin.
Visceral fat can be some of the hardest fat to get rid of, but vitamin K has been found to have a noticeable effect on weight loss efforts targeting this area.
Although not the most important nutrient in the list for the goal, vitamin A aids your cells’ metabolic processes and strengthens your heart, making it a good addition to your diet.
Fiber is almost like a cheat code in any diet where burning fat is the goal because it functions as a natural appetite suppressant. Dietary fiber cannot be absorbed by your body, so when you eat it, it sort of just sits there until it passes through the other end. Because it takes up physical space in your digestive tract, it keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Caffeine can be controversial as a recommendation for a diet due to the negative effects that come from it as well, but it does both suppress your appetite and increase the calories that your body burns at rest, so if you have been feeling guilty about that occasional cup of coffee, maybe you do not need to be.
What Kind of Exercises Are Best for Going From Fat to Muscle?
While most exercises will help you lose fat by burning calories, if your goal is to build muscle as well, you should spend much of your workouts doing strength training.
Strength training does not have to mean going down to the gym to bench press half your body weight. There are plenty of strength training exercises that you can do at home with little or even no equipment, ranging from pushups to squats to deadlifts.
How Does a Calorie Deficit Help Reduce Fat?
Although the mechanics and intricacies of the human body’s storage and burning of fat are many, ultimately you will need to burn your fat reserves when you are using more calories than you have consumed. This can be achieved by reducing your calorie intake, increasing your calorie output, or both.
Depending on the intensity of your new exercise regime, you might end up burning a lot more calories than you are used to, but because you are trying to lose fat as well, you will need to be careful not to fall into the trap of telling yourself that you are active and therefore do not need to count your calories.
If you burn 1,000 more calories per day than usual with your new exercise routine but consume 1,500 more, not only will you not lose fat, but you may gain more.
How Long Does it Take to Convert Fat to Muscle?
Burning fat and building muscle does not happen overnight, so it is important to not be discouraged if you do not see results as quickly as you would like. Because everyone’s body is different and your diet and exercise program will vary, it is impossible to say exactly how long the process will take, but you need to be prepared to put in at least a few months.
We have looked at how to convert body fat to muscle and learned about the many dietary and exercise considerations you will need to take into account. Now it is time for you to go and get your body into the shape you want.