If you’ve read a fitness magazine cover lately claiming that it will show you how to turn fat into muscle, you may want to consider putting it back on the rack. Despite myths that there are things you can do to transform your jiggly fat into tight muscle, it just can’t be done.

It is physiologically impossible to turn fat into muscle because they are completely different types of body tissue with different cell structures. Muscle is made up of proteins, water and glycogen. Fat is made up of triglycerides (fatty acids). In conclusion, you can’t make one turn into the other by exercising or eating a certain way.

The reason people have long thought that you can turn fat into muscle is easy to understand. When you change your eating habits to take in fewer calories and exercise more in an effort to lose weight, your body needs to burn fat as fuel because it doesn’t have enough calories from food to fuel the body’s activity. Therefore, reducing the amount of fat tissue in your body.

At the same time, if you are exercising your muscles by lifting weights or through resistance training, you may be increasing your lean muscle mass. This doesn’t mean that the fat is turning into muscle. You are coincidently increasing your muscle mass at the same time as you decrease your fat stores.

The good news is that having more lean muscle mass helps you burn more calories (and therefore more fat tissue if you limit your calorie consumption). Muscle burns calories 24/7, even when your body is at rest so increasing your muscle mass will help to decrease the amount of fat tissue in your body.

As you reduce the amount of fat tissue in your body and increase the amount of muscle mass, your body will look more lean because muscle is more compact and takes up less space than fat. The same amount of weight in muscle will take up less space in the body than if it were fat, which is why the scale may not significantly fluctuate.

If you’re still stuck on the notion that there’s some magical way to turn fat into muscle, it’s time to give up the fantasy. You’ll have to focus on two different things to decrease your fat stores and increase your muscle mass. Burn more energy than you consume to get rid of fat and perform strength-training exercises to increase muscle.