MUS­CLE AND FAT MYTHS, THOR­OUGHLY DE­BUNKED

Shape (Singapore) - - Total Body Tune-up -

● MUS­CLE CAN TURN INTO FAT, AND VICE VERSA. The two are en­tirely dif­fer­ent tis­sues and can’t mag­i­cally morph into each other. How­ever, if you stop work­ing out, your fat cells will get big­ger and your mus­cle fi­bres will shrink, which is why you may no­tice some ex­tra jig­gle. ● EAT­ING FAT MAKES YOU FAT. The op­po­site: Healthy fat helps keep you lean. Peo­ple eat­ing a Mediter­ranean diet rich in olive oil and nuts lost more weight than those on a low-fat diet, The Lancet re­ports. “These foods, as well as fish, av­o­cado and olives, con­tain omega-3 fats, omega-6 fats, and mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats that are heart-healthy and fill you up so you don’t overeat,” Michele ex­plains.

Just watch your por­tion sizes. “Eat­ing more calo­ries than you use each day will lead to fat stor­age,” says sports medicine physi­cian Dr Jor­dan Metzl. ● YOU CAN SPOT-RE­DUCE FAT. “When your body needs energy, it pulls from all of your fat cells, not just the ar­eas you want to tar­get,” Michele says. In other words, to lose fat from any place, you have to lose fat from ev­ery place.

An­other sad truth: The first place where you gain fat typ­i­cally is the last place you’ll lose it. “When you put fat on eas­ily in one area, it means your body is best able to store it there,” Keith says. The good news: If your back­side starts to shrink, you can al­ways make it curvier by build­ing mus­cle (hello, squats!). ● MUS­CLE WEIGHS MORE THAN FAT. A kilo of fat and a kilo of mus­cle weigh ex­actly the same. But – and this is where the con­fu­sion comes in – the vol­ume of mus­cle is denser and more com­pact. “It would take 2kg of mus­cle to fill the space of ½kg of fat,” Michele says. That’s why you may see your­self be­com­ing slim­mer with­out the num­ber on the scale drop­ping. ● YOU CAN’T GAIN MUS­CLE AND LOSE FAT AT THE SAME TIME. To shed fat, you have to burn more calo­ries than you take in. But when you do that, your body also burns some mus­cle. As a re­sult, it’s com­mon to lose mus­cle mass as you lose weight.

The way to pre­vent this is to eat more protein, say sci­en­tists from McMaster Univer­sity. Their study found that peo­ple who did so while on a high-in­ten­sity weight-train­ing reg­i­men were able to gain mus­cle mass and ditch fat. “Get­ting enough protein pro­vides your body with the amino acids it needs so that it doesn’t have to break down mus­cle for them,” says study au­thor Stu­art Phillips. Based on his re­search, a 63.5kg woman would have to con­sume at least 25g of protein at break­fast, lunch and din­ner to main­tain mus­cle mass while los­ing weight (that’s around 0.4g of protein per kilo of body weight at each meal).

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