When Does Your Body Burn Muscle Instead Of Fat

muscle burn

One of the problems that many people who do workouts have is burning muscle instead of fat. Especially if you are a fat burner. Even if you show weight loss, it is vital to find out if it is caused by fat burning or muscle burning. Although fat burning is a good thing, muscle burning is not. In this article, we will discuss the causes of muscle burning and how to burn fat without burning muscle.


When Does Your Body Burn Muscle

Actually When does your body burn muscle instead of fat? Let’s discuss how the body works.

Glycogen stores are the primary source of energy for the body and brain. But when the food we give to the body is not enough, the body starts cannibalizing our muscles. This is done by burning the proteins in the muscles and making glucose to provide the body with the energy it needs. This process is called gluconeogenesis.

Even if you burn fat or build muscle, you can’t prevent your muscles from burning. But during muscle growth, more muscle is regenerated than is burned. (Muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein breakdown).

Even if it is so, Muscle breakdown during fat burning is difficult to prevent. But how to reduce it as much as possible is outlined below this article.


Even a person doing muscle building is more likely to burn muscle when they get more carbohydrates. This is because people who consume more carbs have higher insulin levels, even when their body glycogen levels are low. Fat burning does not occur when you have high insulin levels. Then, as mentioned earlier, muscle protein is used to produce glucose through the liver.


But often, most beginners who exercise can do muscle growth and fat burning at the same time without these problems. This is because their bodies are more prone to growth. But they can also get the most out of knowing this from the beginning.

Signs Of Losing Muscle Mass

Fatigue and tiredness are the first symptoms. If you often feel sluggish or drowsy, it may be the same symptoms. If you feel uncomfortable doing exercise that you did well on other days, it is a good sign that your muscles are burning. Even in day-to-day activities, you may find it more difficult than on other days. (It is normal to have a slight decrease in activity over normal days during fat burning)

Massive weight loss is also a way to know if you are losing muscle. In a typical fat burn, fat burning takes place gradually over a long period of time. (More on that later) But burning fat and muscle at the same time can lead to a large amount of weight loss in a short period of time. So no matter what the purpose of your exercise, always weigh yourself. It is very important to record them accurately and study the variation in body weight well.

Be aware that both of the above symptoms can be a symptom of various diseases as well. Seek medical attention when needed.

Measure your weight daily
Measure your weight daily

How To Avoid Burning Muscle Instead of Fat

No matter what purpose we exercise for, we need to minimize the burning of our muscles. Whether or not a healthy person burns muscles is primarily influenced by their diet and exercise pattern. Let us consider a few points that must be mentioned there.


Protein Intake

Carbohydrates and fats, as well as proteins are used to produce energy in the body. There are also special functions for proteins. Therefore, it is essential to get enough protein from your diet on a daily basis. In particular, it must contain essential amino acids. When protein is not available in the diet, as mentioned above, the body produces protein by burning muscle. Researches have also shown that increasing the amount of protein in the diet reduces muscle burning. If you want, links to the relevant studies are here:

The amount of protein that an average person should get per day is 0.8g of protein per 1 kg of body weight. Weightlifters or fat burners should get more protein daily. Get approximately 1.5g of protein for 1kg of body weight. If you are a fat burner, you can minimize muscle burning by getting more protein because your body tends to burn more muscle. (Avoid taking too much protein unnecessarily). Choose foods that contain the essential amino acids in the protein you eat.

Diet Slowly


People who burn fat must keep their daily calorie intake low. But doing a large calorie deficit in the hope of burning more fat at once can cause a lot of problems. Basically, it speeds up muscle burning. It also causes nutritional deficiencies. It can cause various ailments as well as disrupt daily activities. Therefore, it is imperative to maintain a low calorie deficit for a more extended period of time. Rapid fat burning can lead to rapid weight loss, but it also leads to a poor body shape because of muscle burning.

It is best for a fat burner to lose about 1% of their body weight per week. For that, it is sufficient to reduce the daily caloric intake by 250-450 calories. The resulting diet plan should include protein and essential nutrients. Use an online tool to find your daily calorie requirement. Use a website or app like myfitnesspal to find out the calories in food.

Resistance Training

One of the mistakes that many people make when burning fat is neglecting resistance training. Many people turn to cardio exercise instead. But the truth is that resistance training burns more fat than cardio. The most significant advantage of resistance training is that there is some muscle growth so that muscle burning can be minimized. But be sure to do a combination of cardio as well as resistance training when exercising. Both of these types of exercise help maintain good health. Read this article to know more about it: How Often Should I Do Cardio While Weight Training?

Resistance Training
Resistance Training

Excessive resistance training can also cause muscle wasting. This is called overtrain. Therefore, it is advisable to keep your exercise period to less than 2 hours. Also, when doing resistance training, make sure you eat a good protein diet.

Don’t Do Excessive Cardio

This is related to the above fact. Some people do cardio exercise unnecessarily. This causes body and muscle fatigue. Here, too, the end result is muscle burn. Even if you are a fat burner, do not overdo cardio as it should be done slowly. A person who grows muscle does not need to do cardio as much as a person who burns fat. Also, as mentioned earlier, it is best to do a combination of cardio and resistance exercises.

Get Rest

After exercise, the body needs rest to repair its muscles. Use rest days between workouts. This is a must-do if you are doing resistance exercise. During resistance training, keep at least 48 hours between training the same muscle again. Even if you do cardio exercise, it is advisable to have a rest day at least once in 3 days.

Sleep more than 7 hours a day

Also, muscle growth is most likely to occur during sleep. Therefore, getting proper sleep also reduces muscle burn. If you exercise, get more than 7 hours of continuous sleep a day.

Final Thoughts


Muscle burning is reducing muscle mass over time due to the body breaking down muscle and producing protein. It can be caused by your diet, exercise as well as rest & sleep. Creating a protein-rich diet, choosing the right cardio and resistance exercise, and resting properly can reduce muscle burning.

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