The Difference Between Fat Burning and Muscle Building in Exercise

Exercise is a major tool in the fight to lose weight. But there are lots of options and some are better than others depending on your individual needs.

We’ll narrow it down to two main categories that they fall into; fat burning or muscle building.

What’s the difference? Well, fat burning is all about simply shedding pounds; it’s getting yourself from a high weight down to a lower weight.

Muscle building on the other hand isn’t about burning fat so much as converting it; you’re taking the fatty tissue and replacing it with tight muscle. You won’t see as much weight loss with this type of exercise but you’ll notice your pants aren’t as tight.

But which one is better? The truth is that it depends entirely on you and your unique needs. The first thing that has to be asked is are you overweight? If you’re heavily overweight, you need to start with fat burning. An extra hundred pounds for instance isn’t just going to seamlessly convert into tight muscle. There’s too much fat to work with, so some of it has to be shed.

How do you tell the difference between the two exercises? Typically, fat burning exercises are exercises that focus on cardio health. It gets your heart pumping and your body sweating. Exercises like running, bicycling and swimming are all good examples. Your body is performing a strenuous task that requires lots of energy and so it burns pounds to help make the task more manageable.

What about building muscle? Well, this is more for people who are only a little overweight or are skinny and would like to gain weight in the form of muscle. Huge amounts of fat won’t harvest into muscle, but a manageable level of fat is another matter.

Muscle building exercises involve things like lifting weights and doing pushups. These exercises don’t really get your heart pumping the way fat burning exercises do; instead you feel the burn in the muscles that you’re working on. These exercises help you shed a bit of excess flab while building lean tough muscle.

Which one is healthier? Well as mentioned already, part of it depends on how overweight you are. If you’re very overweight, you need to focus on fat burning exercises with strict guidelines from your doctor. Your heart and body need to get back into shape to ward off multiple health problems.

Exercises that work your heart and lungs keep your body running smoothly. Muscle is nice, but a healthy bicep isn’t as important as a healthy heart.

On the other hand, the more muscle you have, the more fat it will help to burn.

If you’re already close to your ideal weight, maybe you want to focus on getting a little bulk instead of just being skinny.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to drop fat burning exercises entirely. If you’re going to exercise, you should always keep cardio involved. This doesn’t mean you’re going to start burning away your hard earned muscle. Muscle is different from fat and your body knows which one is “extra” and needs to be burnt off.

If you’re trying to gain muscle, you can also simply up your daily calories in a healthy way. In fact, you may have to do this if you’re on the skinny side. Your body needs calories for the exercise it’s doing daily, and it needs excess calories to build muscle tissue that it can turn into muscle.

Be sure to consult your doctor before doing this, however. They can look at your age, height, gender, body type and overall health to determine what kind of exercise and diet would complement you best if you’re trying to get some muscle without gaining too much weight in the form of fat.

Your doctor can also help you determine which of these exercises would work best for you and what amount you should undertake them at first. You want to do enough exercise to make a difference but overshooting it can be dangerous if you haven’t exercised in the past. Start slowly and work up to an hour three or four times a week. Consistency is most important when it comes to an exercise plan.