Fact Or Fiction: Do Muscles Turn To Fat When You Stop Exercising?


If you are someone who exercises regularly you have probably been warned more than once by a well meaning person that when you stop exercising your muscles will turn to fat.

Actually, this is not true it is fiction or possibly an old wives tale.

Muscle tissue and fat are two different things. Muscle cannot become fat and fat cannot become muscle. Muscle is made up of fibrous tissue composed of protein. Fat is made up of lipids which are energy storage units in the body.

When you exercise and workout with some weights you increase the size of your existing muscles. You do not create new muscles.

When you engage in regular exercise your body benefits. Your capillaries which are the means of moving blood in the body will increase. Your energy production and respiration will improve.

When you participate in a regular exercise routine your health is better and your appearance is better. You will have more stamina, dexterity and you will have more strength. Your blood pressure will improve and your blood sugar levels will be better.

If you discontinue exercising and become sedentary instead you will soon become aware of a change in your appearance and stamina and strength.


If you continue to eat and drink the same number of calories that your body could handle when you were active you will become heavier. Your body cannot use the same calories when you are sedentary as when you are active. Your muscles will not turn to fat or completely disappear when you become sedentary. Instead these muscles will shrink and decrease in mass.

When you continue to eat too many calories without burning them off those excess calories are going to accumulate as fat in your body. Instead of appearing fit you will look like an overweight out of shape person.

With muscles in the body decreasing in size and fat in the body increasing in size you might see where some people get the idea that the muscle has turned to fat.

You can lose your muscle mass in a very short period of time after you stop being active. Within six weeks your power and strength will diminish. Your blood pressure may rise as the blood is not moving as freely through the body and your blood sugar may rise. Your muscle fiber will begin to shrink within two or three weeks of inactivity.

If you want to avoid the loss of your muscles and avoid accumulating fat instead, then you need to continue exercising.

To keep you body in shape continue to eat a healthy diet. You can maintain your muscle mass if you devote a little time each day to do some stretches, sit ups and push ups. You will do even better for your body if you develop a regular exercise routine and continue to follow it on most days of the week. It is much easier to continue with an exercise routine then it is to make yourself restart a fitness program after you have stopped.