FAT VS MUSCLE PART 2: Is Your Workout Getting You Fat?

As I said in Muscle vs. Fat Part 1, “All excess unused calories will be stored in your body.  It’s up to you HOW they are stored.

Runners Store Fat

Running is an activity, requiring moderate  intensity performed over a longer duration. Runners primarily (especially in highly trained runners) use slow twitch, slow fatiguing muscle fibers.  The primary fuel source for this activity dictated by duration, intensity, and muscles fiber type used is fat stores. As a runner, excess muscle will only slow you down, and protein stores are very heavy and dense and will only yield 4 calories of energy per gram (that’s why a runner’s body typically doesn’t have a lot of muscle – your body doesn’t want it).  In comparison, fat will give the athlete over twice as much energy per gram, and metabolically takes less energy to maintain at rest (this is why your body hoards it, whether you burn it all off running or not).

So even with a higher protein diet, any excess calories stored are prone to be stored as fat.  It is primal…  It is science.  Your body is always efficiently meeting the demands you are putting on it.  Here is what happens…  As your muscle atrophies,  you become lighter, and as you store more fat, you can run longer.  Congratulations, you are now skinnier and fatter.

Your body doesn’t give a crap if you can win a hot body contest. It’s programed to keep you alive despite the demands and tasks you set before it.  How you feel you should look is solely up to psychological and social parameters we put on ourselves.  How you perform, on the other hand,  is up to the demands you put on your body.

Bodybuilders Store Muscle

Building muscle, in a biological environment,  is hard and plays against the odds.  The human body finds very little use for excess muscle as it is dense and not very efficient for survival or providing energy.  Yes, when these proteins are broken down, some of the amino acids can be used on a cellular level, but our body has amino acid pools that already exist for this and are an efficient storage system for this.

Excess striated skeletal muscle is left (stored) as a useless luxury at best.  It’s nice to look at, but after the body has enough skeletal muscle to move and function, the rest becomes very inefficient, energy-wasting luggage we must carry around all day everyday.   In order for you to quit storing much needed valuable fat, in leu of storing heavy useless muscle, you must create an alternate environment that will primally dictate some sort of need,  so your body will begin to store muscle instead of fat.  So, how can we make this happen?

3 ways to Store Muscle NOT Fat:

1. Take away the need for your body to store excess calories as fat. Do not use long bouts of running or moderately intense exercises to control your weight.  Restrict calories instead, and try intervals of sprinting or higher intensity shorter duration activities. (sorry runners)

Quit long distance running > 5 miles.

2. Restrict excess calories.  All excess calories can be stored as fat.  Even if all you eat is pure protein and green vegetables, if you eat more than you burn, you will store these extra calories as fat. We must decrease our sugars and make sure we are getting quality proteins and fats (mono/poly unsaturated fatty acids) to support protein synthesis.

Eat less simple carbohydrates and increase protein if need be.

3.  Train Hard. You won’t store muscle, unless uou give your body a reason and a need to store the extra calories as muscle by,  intense, short duration, resistance training.

Train with resistance and intensity. 

This was written with the “big picture in mind and trying to stay under 1000 words,  It would be impossible to site and discuss micro metabolic science within these parameters.  So unless you find something butt-a#* wrong… don’t be a “douschtard”.


About Steve Pfiester

Certified CrossFit, TRX, Kettlebell Athletics Trainer with a B.S. in Physical Therapy. Owner of Longevity Max Fitness and BCx Boot Camp.

Posted on March 13, 2012, in PFACT OR PFICTION, PFIT TIPS, PFUNDAMENTALS and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Great post, keep them coming!

  2. I love your blogs, and I think there’s a lot of truth to them… I do agree on slow, long, cardio- it is not effective for weight loss or in most cases, getting into shape. It bugs me to see people, especially women, who slave over an elliptical for an hour a day, don’t lift weights at all, and still eat the same crap, wonder why they’re not losing weight and why their body isn’t changing.

    However, I *like* running. I usually lift weights twice a week, and I do pretty intense interval training when I run shorter distances, but sometimes- not every day and *definitely* not more than once a week- I just like to run 6-7 miles at a slower (but not slow, maybe 8:30 min/mile) pace. I like to run 10Ks and 12Ks, and it’s probably a mental thing, but I feel like I should occasionally run that distance just to stay in shape for one and remember the distance feels like.

    Gotta say though- interval training definitely makes you a faster runner than steady state running. I’ve taken over a minute off of my already fast 5K since I started- I can tell a difference.

  3. Very Clear!!
    Thank you.

  4. Right now it sounds like WordPress is the preferred blogging platform
    out there right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

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