Weight Loss
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How long before fat turns to muscle?


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I've been working out 5x a week - mostly cardio (either a combination of the treadmill for 20 mins and the elliptical trainer for another 20 - 30 mins or elliptical only for 45 minutes.....depending on the day, how I feel etc. etc.). I've been doing this for about 4 weeks now - and am only noticing slight weight loss. People that I know keep telling me that my body is probably converting fat to muscle and since muscle weighs more than fat, that's why I'm not losing weight according to the scales at the gym.......could that be? Can you really convert fat to muscle in 4 weeks?????
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   Well your body can not convert fat to muscle, instead you build muscle by excerciseing.  You lose body fat from your body burning it as a fuel source after carbohydrate stores are used.  Doing low impact cardio in a fat loss heart rate zone will actually not put too much muscle on you but it will lead to your body burning more fat.  If you want to put on more muscle try adding high impact cardio or weight lifting into your schedule.  A very general way to see if your tearing the muscle fibers enough to promote muscle growth is the well-known muscle soreness you should feel the next day from the build up of lactic acid in the muscles.

   Although overall the scale is probably the worst indicator of overall health gains, its just the easiest.  Measureing a few parts of your body once a week and if you can measure your body fat is usually a better way.  Those 2 results plus the scale are a much much better indicator of gains then just a number on a scale.
ditto to terrier's comments "your body cannot convert fat to muscle".    muscle and fat are 2 completely different cell types, and one doesnt just magically turn into the other.  you can lose fat, gain muscle, or lose both.  

if you are not doing any strength training, it is highly likely that your body is actually burning muscle as a fuel source after 20 minutes, because your body has used up the readily available glycogen stores.   so you are not likely to be gaining much muscle at this time from cardio, especially not from an elliptical as there is no impact involved.  

maybe you need to look at your eating plan? its likely you are not eating enough.  I plateaud for about 3 weeks because I was doing too much cardio everyday and not eating enough.  

just a thought.
I have been doing 30-45 min. on a treadmill and strength training since mid June.  While I've seen my clothes start to feel loose and better definition in my arms and legs, the scale has not moved much.  For that reason I've decided to use a measuring tape as my guide rather than the scale. 
Yeah, I would also suggest that everyone who is working out regularly look at his/her eating plan. Basic, no-brainer formulas:

For women: 1200-1400 calories + number of calories expended through exercise = number of calories you should eat

For men: 1500-1700 calories + number of calories expended through exercise = number of calories you should eat

It cracks me up sometimes, those who eat 1200 calories AND work out a lot who whine about not losing weight. Well, duh! You have to fuel your workouts, as sooooo many posts point out!
I had a gastric bypass 2 months ago and have since lost just over 4 stone, (56lbs) i feel great and for the past 4 and a half weeks i have been training at the gym on weights along with 30 minutes of tredmil and rowers.

I have only lost 2lbs this week and i am wondering if it could be muscle forming? which weighs more then fat?

Donna
Cardio does have a positive affect on the muscles and lean mass (muscle is not your only lean mass - bones and blood and capillaries all count as lean mass too). As you improve your cardio fitness (your Vo2 max), your body grows capillaries to bring oxygen to your muscles faster.

It also works on developing denser, stronger bones to be able to handle your workout load - this is more dramatic if you're doing strength training, but if you're going from completely inactive to walking or running, you will increase bone density at least in your feet and legs.

As for your muscles, inactive, unfit muscles are short and round and riddled with fat. Think about how veal is made so tasty because it is marbled with fat; this is because the baby cow is locked up in a tiny pen and not allowed to exercise at all. The baby cow's muscles grow up to be filled with fat. This fat is not the same as subcutaneous fat - the fat under your skin - the flabby fat we tend to think about when we say we want to lose weight.

Cardio (and strength training) attack the intermuscular fat first and foremost. So assuming you are creating a caloric deficit, you are losing fat, only it's from the inside out.

As others have pointed out, it's not about "turning fat into muscle" although I can see why that term has fallen into common usage. If anything, it's about losing the intermuscular fat to make room for more capillaries and increased blood flow.

As the intermuscular fat disappears, your muscles will become longer and leaner. So keep measuring and tracking inches lost. This is where the results will show up - not necessarily as scale weight, because lean mass (bones, capillaries, blood volume, gylcogen, water, not JUST muscle) has a weight.
It takes months of weight training to put on a noticable amount of muscle mass. You will be burning that intermuscular fat and the fat around your organs first then the fat on the outside that bothers us so much.

I would check your diet and make sure you are not eating too much or too little.
iT COULD BE THAT I AM EATING TOO LITTOLE, BECAUSE I DONT HAVE HUNGER SENSATIONS NOW ITS HARD OT KNOW HOW MUCH TO EAT POST OP. I AM GETTING MY BODY FAT MEASURED TOMORROW AT THE GYM AND I WILL COMPARE IT TO WEEK ONE. HOPEFULLY IT WILL HAVE CHANGED. ITS HARDER THEN PPL THINK HAVING THIS DOWN. BECAUSE EVERY ONE IS SO DIFFERENT THERE IS NO SET RULES ON WHAT TO HAVE NUTRITION WISE AND HOW MUCH, I GO SEE THE SPECIALIST IN 2 WEEKS SO HE SHOUDL BE ABLE TO SHED SOME LIGHT.

THANKS FOR YOUR HELP

DONNA

XX
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