Table of Contents
Hey there! Spring is here, and it’s that time of the year when everyone wants to show off their hard-earned muscles. You might wonder, “How to build muscle and lose fat at the same time? Can I even gain muscle while losing fat?” Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in and learn how to build muscle and lose fat.
Here are the key takeaways:
- It’s possible to lose fat without losing muscle, and some people can even gain muscle while losing fat.
- To Build Muscle and lose fat at the same time, focus on a high-protein diet, hard and frequent training, adequate sleep, and proper hydration.
- You don’t necessarily need a calorie deficit To Build Muscle and Lose Fat at the same time, but eating around maintenance calories can help you lose fat and gain muscle at a similar rate.
- Even experienced bodybuilders can benefit from these strategies, but it might be easier for novices.
- Personalized training and support can help you achieve the perfect balance and knowledge of how to build muscle and lose fat.
Understanding Weight Loss
Weight loss is a buzzword you’ve probably come across in magazines or news articles. The idea is simple: burn more calories than you consume. However, achieving weight loss can be more complex than a basic calculation.
The food we eat provides us with energy in the form of calories. Our bodies use this energy for daily activities, normal physiological functions, and exercise. When we consume more energy than we need, the excess is stored as body fat for later use. But when does “later” come?
If we eat less food than our bodies require to support our daily activities or exercise, our bodies can use stored fat for energy. However, our bodies can also break down skeletal muscle for energy and amino acids (28). This often happens when people don’t consume enough protein during their diet, leading to muscle loss.
Furthermore, consistently consuming a low-calorie diet and losing weight can create a hormonal environment that isn’t ideal for maintaining or building muscle (1; 2).). So, how can we Build Muscle and Lose Fat At The Same Time?
Is It Possible To Build Muscle and Lose Fat At The Same Time?
Body recomposition refers to the process of losing fat while maintaining or even gaining muscle mass. Although some people in bodybuilding argue that it’s either impossible or only reserved for beginners, multiple studies show that Building Muscle and Losing Fat At The Same Time is achievable (3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9).
While the list of studies may seem overwhelming, it’s important to understand that substantial evidence supports that to Build Muscle and Lose Fat at the same time is a realistic goal – even for trained individuals (12; 13; 14; 15).
Admittedly, the available research is not exhaustive, but it’s worth considering that many studies often use suboptimal training programs and don’t control dietary intake.
So, now that we know Building Muscle and Losing Fat at the same time is possible, how does it work and how to build muscle and lose fat?
Can You Lose Fat Without Losing Muscle?
First, look at the studies that have shown successful body recomposition. Out of the six studies we’ve considered (16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21), the participants consumed an average of 2.56g/kg/day (1.16g/lb/day) of protein.
A recent review (22) recommended an intake of 1.62g/kg/day to optimize muscle gains. So, if you’re aiming to Build Muscle and Lose Fat at the same time, consider increasing your protein intake by 58% compared to that recommendation.
Now, let’s talk about the importance of a real training program. Studies like Antonio et al. (2015), Campbell et al. (2018), and Haun et al. (2018) had participants perform high-volume training and much more frequent training compared to many other studies.
Most training studies have subjects workout about 2-3 times per week, whereas these studies had subjects training 3-5 times per week. Remember this when planning your workouts to build muscle and lose fat.
Another crucial factor often overlooked is sleep. In a study by Nedeltcheva et al. (2010), subjects who slept 8.5 hours per night lost more fat than those who slept 5.5 hours. Another study found that sleep-restricted individuals lost proportionally more muscle mass than those with a normal sleep schedule (29).
Additionally, another study discovered that a sleep education group lost more body fat than the control group (23). These studies highlight the significance of quality sleep to Build Muscle and Lose Fat.
To summarize, if you’re trying to achieve body recomposition, these guidelines are how to build muscle and lose fat:
- Consume at least 2.2g of protein/kg of body weight (1g/lb). This higher protein intake helps maintain muscle during a cut and potentially gain muscle.
- Train hard and keep training heavy. Maintain a mechanical stimulus to your body to preserve muscle mass.
- Prioritize sleep! Aim for 8 hours of sleep daily, with at least 80-90% of this sleep occurring overnight. Add naps throughout the day if needed (24).
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause similar fluctuations in anabolic/catabolic hormones as chronic low-calorie diets (25). Sip on water throughout the day and during your workouts.
Do You Need a Calorie Deficit To Build Muscle and Lose Fat at the Same Time?
It’s essential to know that it is possible to Build Muscle and Lose Fat at the same time without reducing your calorie intake. In fact, some studies had participants eating in a planned surplus. However, these studies involved higher protein intakes (>2.3g/kg/day) and rigorous training programs.
For example, the Haun et al. (2018) study had subjects gain more muscle mass than they lost in fat mass (+2.9 vs. -1.0kg), while the Antonio et al. (2015) study saw participants gain the same amount of muscle as their fat loss (+1.6 vs. -1.5kg).
So, how do you find your maintenance calories for a true body recomposition? Track your food intake for a week and monitor your weight. If your weight remains stable, your average daily intake from that week is likely a good estimate of your maintenance calories.
By eating around your maintenance calories, you can lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously, maintaining the same body weight.
But what if you’re in a calorie deficit? You can still maintain muscle, but gaining muscle becomes more challenging. Recent estimates suggest building muscle requires around 360-480 calories daily (26).
Finding the energy to build muscle will be difficult if you’re not eating close to maintenance calories. If your goal is to cut, consider consuming a slight calorie deficit while following the recomposition guidelines mentioned in our previous article.
This approach will help you maintain muscle while shedding fat. One of my clients followed our FBX training plan and, in 3 months, lost almost 6kg of fat mass while maintaining muscle mass.
Building Muscle and Losing Fat at the same time is possible, especially for novices (27). Furthermore, this is how to build muscle and lose fat, consume plenty of protein, train hard, sleep well, and stay hydrated. Remember, even experienced bodybuilders can benefit from these strategies.
Ready to start your body transformation journey? Don’t do it alone! Contact us for personalized training and support to help you achieve the perfect balance of building muscle and losing fat. Let’s work together to get you the body you’ve always wanted!