“I’ve heard that if you’re fit and have to stop exercising for whatever reason (injury, illness, etc.) over time your muscle “turns to fat.” Is this true? If so, what can a fit person do to ensure this doesn’t happen?

This silly myth has been around for years. Muscle is muscle and fat is fat – they are two completely different tissues/cells. If a fit person has to stop exercising for a long time – the muscle that has developed will eventually atrophy (shrink) from not being used. Because of inactivity and loss of muscle– the metabolism will slow down. Plus, chances are this once fit/now injured person will still be eating the same amount of food/calories as they did when they were exercising regularly. So, once the metabolism has been lowered – the body only needs a portion of those calories and the rest gets stored as fat.

What’s the remedy? If you must decrease your activity/exercise – you should also decrease/adjust your caloric intake accordingly. You should also perform exercises for the muscles that have not been injured to keep the metabolism revved up. To help keep your caloric intake under control, replace one of your meals (preferably dinner) with Viva Vitamins Lean Protein X-3 shake (contains no additives). Depending on your age, Arginine/Ornithine combo taken in the right amount at the correct time of day will increase our body’s own growth hormone production which in turn helps preserve muscle and release fat. A well rounded amino pill like Amino Feast would be great for maintenance while not training.

Cheryl Broughton is an author, Fitness TV Host, Founder of Fitness Edge Boot Camp, and co-founder of Viva Vitamins.