Can You Gain Muscle While Losing Fat? Here’s How

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Gaining muscle and losing fat may seem at odds with each other. But with the right diet and workout routine, it is possible to simultaneously achieve both over time.

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Understanding Body Recomposition

There is an argument that goes: you cannot gain muscle growth and lose body fat at the same time due to the science of thermodynamics. That is because you need to store energy to build muscle and you need to burn energy to lose fat. Therefore, people argue, you must have an energy surplus to gain muscle and be in a deficit to lose fat. While the premises of those statements are true, the conclusion that you cannot gain muscle and lose fat simultaneously is not true. Why? Because fat tissue and muscle are different functional compartments of your body. That means your body directs calories to fat mass and muscle mass independently.

When someone wants to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, he or she can use the process of body recomposition. The process aims to increase your proportion of lean body mass to your fat mass. Your lean body mass is your total body weight minus your fat mass. With body recomposition, the aim is to increase the fat-free mass. That is achieved via strategic calorie-cycling and diligent training. By having intermittent days with a higher calorie intake to support muscle growth and other days with less calorie consumption to facilitate fat loss, in coordination with the right strength training reps and weights, you can effectively work around thermodynamic obstacles.

Maintain the Right Diet

While strength training can help you to build muscle, if you want to simultaneously lose weight, your diet is the key. You need to opt for foods that are low in caloric intake but high in nutritional value. That way, you enable your body and cells to be fed appropriately but not take you out of your caloric deficit. When you take in calories, your body can use those calories for fuel, rebuild muscle, or store them as fat. You need enough calories for your metabolic rate; which allows your body to operate. When you do not eat enough calories, your body will think it is starving and shut down. At the same time, not enough calories can make your body cannibalize muscle and hold onto more fat. So, it is important to get the right balance of calorie intake so you can build muscle and lose fat. One of the best ways is to eat foods high in protein. When you eat foods high in protein like green vegetables, eggs, and fiber, alongside a sustained caloric deficit, your body will be provided with enough nutrients to rebuild muscle while allowing your body to lose fat.

Weekly Strength Training Is Crucial

Diet alone will not allow you to build muscle and lose fat. Strength training a few days a week also plays a pivotal role. To really build muscle mass, you need to lift weights that are heavy enough to make your muscles reach the point of fatigue and failure. Then, after your muscles have broken down, during the repair process, you can build your muscles to become stronger and more defined by progressively increasing the reps you do or the amount of weight you lift. Just make sure you consume enough calories, from foods high in protein, while strength training. However, it is important you find the right strength training program for your individual body and fitness goals. So, it is best to speak with a certified trainer who can help you formulate the right workout routine and diet plan so you can build muscle and lose fat simultaneously. You will not see results overnight. But after a few months of sticking to your diet and strength training routine, you will start to notice the difference.

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