They say you must be in a calorie surplus to put on weight and a calorie deficit to lose weight. They are correct but….
Can you build muscle and lose fat at the same time?
This is the goal everyone is looking to achieve.
There are a lot of fitness influencers that say it’s impossible to build muscle and lose fat at the same time.
They say you must be in a calorie surplus to put on weight and a calorie deficit to lose weight.
They are correct but….
What they don’t talk about is the composition of the weight gained or lost and whether it’s muscle or fat. Ideally we want to put muscle on and lose fat.
Luckily I’ve got good news for you, as it’s entirely possible, because they are two different tissues (muscle and fat).
This is the way to do it below.
- Weight Training
You must be lifting weights and progressing the weights you lift. By resistance training you are signalling to your body to build muscle. This is even more important when in a calorie deficit. Your body will then preferentially take from fat stores rather than hard earned muscle.
- Eat enough protein
To build muscle or maintain muscle you need to be eating adequate protein. The optimal amount when weight training is 2g – 2.2g per kg of bodyweight. Eating the right amount of protein will help your body repair and recover from your hard training. Split this across 4-6 meals a day to switch on protein synthesis every 3-4 hours.
If you want to read more on this take a read of our article on protein intake.
When building muscle and losing fat you need to make sure you’re recovering from hard training. This allows you to build muscle efficiently. The following will help your progress:
- Sauna 20 mins 2-5 times a week
- Cold plunge or shower 3-5 mins 2-5 times a week
- 7-9 hours sleep per night
- Deep tissue massage ideally once a week
Even though it’s possible to build muscle and lose fat, it becomes harder the more advanced a lifter you become. New lifters can easily do both at a rapid rate.
If you’ve taken a long period off training, when you come back you will be able to pack on muscle and lose fat quickly. YES, MUSCLE MEMORY IS REAL. Next week’s BTX email will explain the science behind it.
All this being said, it’s a much faster and a more efficient process to build muscle in a calorie surplus and lose fat in a calorie deficit.
If you’re an advanced trainer you should go through periods in a calorie surplus packing on muscle while minimising fat gain and then do a mini cut 8 or so weeks in a calorie deficit, while maintaining as much muscle as possible.
Once you are lean once, you should never really have to do long cuts again. If you’re eating in a small surplus and training hard. Fat gain should be minimal or non-existent. Eating more than a small surplus (200 to 300 calories) will not make you put muscle on quicker, it will just make you fatter quicker.
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To gain bodyweight you must be in a calorie surplus and to lose weight you must be in a calorie deficit.
This cannot be changed but whether its fat or muscle is based on a few different factors; sleep, protein intake, weight training and training experience.
You can gain muscle in a calorie deficit but it is less efficient and slower.
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