Whilst out shopping last week I overheard 2 ladies talking about the exercises they do at the gym, in particular using weights. One lady was telling the other that she did not want to start using weights as it would mean she would have to use them forever as her muscles would turn into fat once she stopped. By the time I turned around the ladies had moved away and it took all of my willpower not to shout after them THAT’S NOT TRUE!!! So I’ll just explain it to you!
Fat cells and muscle cells are completely different things and one cannot turn into the other, it is simply impossible.
When someone’s exercise plan involves using weights or body weight exercises their muscle cells will start to increase in number and size (by how much depends on the type of training they are doing). The more muscle cells we have the more energy we burn throughout the day therefore reducing the number of fat cells we have as the body will start to use these for some of that energy.
If someone stops using these types of exercises, over time their muscle cells will reduce in number and size. The effect of this is that the toned or muscley look they had will diminish. This reduction also means the energy needed by the body to support those muscle’s cells will reduce therefore less fat cells are used for energy. This can cause weight gain if the person does not adjust their eating or exercise accordingly.
In fact as we get older we lose muscle tissue naturally and as a result our fat cells will increase unless we are active enough to stimulate the growth of more muscle cells. Some studies have shown that in people who are not active their muscle mass can start to diminish as young as 20 years old.
The rate we lose muscle mass increases with age, with it significantly reducing more after the age of 50 years old (hence the dreaded ‘middle-age spread’).
So you can see now why I wanted to tell those ladies muscle cannot turn into fat, it’s simply not true. In fact what they (and you) should absolutely be doing is including some form of resistance work into their workouts whether by using weights or using their own body weight in order to stay healthy and stop those muscle cells disappearing………….. Oh, whilst we are talking about muscle it does not weigh more than fat and Ladies, using weights will NOT make you look like a body builder but we’ll talk about that more next time!