Build muscle lose fat
Build muscle lose fat With very few exceptions, losing a lot of fat and gaining a lot of muscle at the same time is very hard to do. That's because of the opposing demands these goals impose on your body. To build a lot of new muscle tissue, your body needs energy. In other words, you'll need to overfeed — to consume more calories than you're burning each day. To lose fat, you need to underfeed — to consume fewer calories than you burn.If you do try to do both things at once, your progress in either direction will be so frustratingly slow that it won't be long before you feel like throwing in the towel.It would be nice if the energy your body needs to build new muscle tissue came from stored fat. But, when your body is in a predominantly catabolic state (which it will need to be if you want to lose fat), gaining muscle is not its main priority.
Here are two studies that illustrate what I'm talking about.
In the first trial, researchers from California State University tracked a group of healthy men for eight weeks . The men consumed an average of 4,339 calories daily, and trained with weights four days each week for 60-90 minutes. On average, the men gained six pounds of muscle and one-half pound of fat.In study number two researchers instructed a group of men to switch from their normal diet to a low-carbohydrate diet . Some of the men also trained with weights several times each week. Total fat loss at the end of the six-week study was just over seven pounds. The men also gained just over two pounds of muscle.Here's a summary of the results: Overfeeding
Calories per pound of bodyweight 25.7 calories Muscle mass + 6.4 pounds Fat mass + 0.4 pounds
Calories per pound of bodyweight 13.4 calories Muscle mass + 2.4 pounds Fat mass - 7.3 pounds As you can see, overfeeding led to far greater gains in muscle than underfeeding. And underfeeding led to a greater loss of fat than overfeeding.The men who overfed gained an average of 0.8 pounds of muscle per week. The men who underfed gained an average of 0.4 pounds of muscle per week. In other words, the group who overfed gained muscle at twice the rate of the group who underfed. So, you can lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously. But you can't do both to a significant degree at the same time.
One exception to the rule is beginners, or more specifically, overweight beginners.
A relatively lean beginner who wants, for example, to go from 12% to 9% body fat isn't going to lose fat while they gain muscle, mainly because they don't have much fat to lose in the first place. The leaner and more muscular you get, the harder you'll find it to lose fat and build muscle simultaneously.And if you're a beginner trying to gain weight and build muscle by overfeeding, your body is in an anabolic state. You won't be able to lose fat while still consuming more calories than you burn.However, overweight beginners on an exercise and nutrition program that's geared towards fat loss can gain a significant amount of muscle mass while losing fat.A good example of this comes from research published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise .For the study, researchers from the United States Sports Academy tracked a group of previously sedentary men (i.e. overweight beginners) who performed both endurance and resistance exercise three days per week for 14 weeks.On average, the men lost 16.3 pounds of fat and gained 9.5 pounds of muscle. In other words, they gained a significant amount of muscle while also losing a large amount of fat.However, even for beginners, this is an unusually large muscle gain given the rapid rate of fat loss.When I looked at the results of the study in detail, the numbers for lean mass do show a large standard error (an estimate of the amount of variation to be expected in a particular test).So, it's possible that one or more of the men in the study was genetically predisposed to build muscle, while others might have made slower progress.Let's say that you take a group of six men and put them on a weight-training program for 12 weeks. Two of the men might make reasonable progress and gain five pounds of muscle. Another two might make very slow progress, and gain only two pounds.If we average out this set of results, the average lean mass gain is 3.5 pounds.But, if the other two guys have an easy time putting on muscle (let's say they gain 12 pounds of lean mass), they're going to skew the results of the group. They're called "outliers" because their results lie outside the normal range.Adding their results to those of the other four men bumps the average muscle gain up to 6.3 pounds, which isn't really an accurate reflection of the results of the group (remember that two-thirds of the men gained 3.5 pounds or less).Although individual results for each subject aren't listed in the United States Sports Academy study, I'm guessing that the presence of a few outliers explains why the average muscle gain is so large.One other reason that beginners usually respond better to resistance exercise is that they're a long way from the upper limit of what they're capable of in terms of muscle mass. The closer you are to this upper limit — known as your ceiling of adaptation — the slower your gains will be.
Someone who's been working out with weights for 10 years, for example, will gain muscle a lot more slowly than someone who's just starting out.Anyone who's been in shape before will also find it easier to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously when returning after a layoff. When a muscle is trained, detrained and retrained, there is a faster change in muscle size during retraining compared to the initial training period from an untrained state , a phenomenon that some refer to as "muscle memory."From a personal point of view, it seems easier to drop my body fat to a level that I've achieved previously compared to losing it for the first time.In many cases, the people in the before-and-after pictures you see in the magazines are fitness models who have spent a few months "slacking off" prior to getting their "before" pictures taken.Because they've been in shape before, it's a whole lot easier for them to regain their old figure than it is for someone who's starting from scratch.Whether or not you can build muscle lose fat at the same also depends on how you define "at the same time." If you spend 5-6 weeks gaining weight, followed by 3-4 weeks losing fat, then you'll have lost fat and gained muscle at the end of the 8-10 week period (which some people might class as "the same time") but you'll have done it by alternating periods of muscle gain and fat loss.
So, what does all of this mean for you?
Rather than trying to build muscle lose fat at the same time, you'll get better results by splitting your training goals into several phases, and working on one after the other. I suggest that you focus on one of two goals — building muscle while minimizing fat gain, or, losing fat while preserving muscle.It's far more realistic to expect to lose 10 pounds of fat while gaining a pound or two of muscle, or to gain five pounds of muscle while adding a couple of pounds of fat. Losing 10 pounds of fat at the same time as replacing it with 10 pounds of muscle is the exception and not the rule. There are several methods you can use to decide how long to spend on each goal. The first approach is to keep gaining muscle or losing fat until you hit a predetermined body fat percentage.Let's say that you start out at 10% body fat and follow one of the step-by-step muscle-building exercise routines described in The Maximum Muscle Plan. In this case, you might decide to bulk up until you reach 12%. Then, you switch gears and follow Fight Fat and Win 2.0 until you're back down to 10%. If fat loss is a priority, you can take the opposite approach and start by losing fat until you're down to 7-8% body fat. Then, you change focus and start gaining weight until you're at 10% again.This type of eating produces a "saw tooth" pattern of weight gain and weight loss, with the end result (hopefully) that you'll end up with more muscle and less fat after several cycles.The only problem with this approach is that most methods available to track body fat levels are notoriously unreliable. I prefer to use more subjective (but, in my opinion, more useful) ways to gauge my progress. For instance, I know that it's time to start losing fat when my lower abs become hidden under a layer of fat and I can't see them clearly. Conversely, when I start to feel irritable, tired and de-motivated on a regular basis (which usually happens after an extended period of dieting), and I'm happy with the way I look in the mirror, then I decide to focus on gaining weight and building muscle.
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