Diet for Turning Fat into Muscle

Turning fat into muscle is technically impossible. You can however burn fat and build muscle. This process isn't as easy as using the latest fad diet or buying the most popular detox drink. It requires going on a calorie restricted diet to burn the fat and also giving your body the proper nutrients it needs to build muscle in its place. It's a 2 step process that takes time and dedication - 2 things that aren't required from quick fix diets.

Calorie Balance

Turning fat into muscle begins with a calorie restricted diet. When you burn more calories than you eat, your body begins to use its fat stores for energy which reduces the amount of fat that is on your body. Over time you will notice that your body fat percentage will decrease and your muscles will look more defined. Knowing how many calories you burn each day is crucial in beginning your goal of turning fat into muscle. The Calorie Calculator will help you estimate how many calories you burn based on your age, weight, height and activity level.

Calorie Deficit

Fat burning requires a calorie deficit, a state in which you burn more calories than you eat. Take that estimate and eat 500-1,000 less calories per day. For example if the calculator says you're burning 2,300 calories, losing body fat will require you eat between 1,300-1,800 calories per day. If you don't want to cut that many calories out of your diet, you can also increase your activity level. A combination of increased exercise and decreased calorie intake will yield the quickest results.

Build Muscle

Since muscle grows at a slower rate than fat is lost, you can't replace 100% of the fat you lose with muscle right away. Because of this slow growth rate, you should start building muscle as soon as you start losing fat. There's no need to wait until you reach your desired body fat percentage to try and build muscle. Muscle is made out of protein so you'll need to provide your body with an adequate amount from a good source.

Protein

The current protein recommendation is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight (0.8g per kilogram). Unless you're working out twice a day or are training for a marathon, 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight will be enough. Protein is made up of amino acids and depending on what food you get your protein from, the amount and types of amino acids that make up the protein will change. Protein from a steak is different than the protein you get from beans.

There are some amino acids that our bodies can make (also known as nonessential amino acids) and others that we need to eat since our body lacks the ability to make them (essential amino acids). If a protein has all the essential amino acids, it is a complete protein. If it lacks any of the essential amino acids, it is an incomplete protein.

Incomplete proteins are mainly found in non-meat foods such as beans, vegetables, nuts and peas. Complete proteins come from animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs and fish. The best protein is complete, low in fat and can be found in poultry, lean cuts of beef, eggs, fish and low fat dairy.

The Bottom Line

Turning fat into muscle isn't a quick process but you can speed it up by combining a healthy diet with exercise. Exercise will help you burn more calories and get rid of the fat quicker while at the same time building muscle to give you a toned appearance.