Can you lose weight and gain muscle?
Posted on 1st August 2022 at 15:16
When it comes to training in the gym it can be easy to want everything at once.
Be lean, strong, fit, have good muscle mass etc.
But in my experience, most people I work with or who follow my work want two main things. To have more muscle mass and less body fat.
Now you will see the name of this blog is 'can you lose weight and gain muscle?' But when people say lose weight, they actually mean lose body fat.
Weight loss and fat loss are not the same thing but do have a strong correlation. If you lose bodyweight consistently you will probably be losing body fat. And that’s the point, you want the weight you lose to be body fat and not muscle mass.
But anyway, less about the fine details and more about whether you can achieve the holy grail of training in the gym and gain lean muscle mass while also losing body fat.
Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but for 90% of you this it is not going to be possible.
The main reason why this is very hard for most of you is because the longer you train the less novel the stimulus of training is.
When you first start training you can go into the gym with very little plan or structure and you will gain muscle mass with relative ease, you can even gain muscle mass in a calorie deficit.
A calorie deficit is where you expend more calories than you intake and as a result start to lose body fat as your body uses it as fuel alongside the food you consume on a daily basis.
So basically, within the first year of your training or first few months back training after a potential period away you could lose body fat (ensuring you are in a deficit) and gain lean muscle mass.
But after a while this novelty wears off and it starts to become much more optimal to pick either fat loss or muscle gain as a primary goal.
So now I have broken the bad news that losing fat while gaining muscle mass is unlikely I do have some good news.
Below I am going to share with you how you can smash muscle gain or fat loss as your primary goal.
Ok first you need to realise that gaining muscle mass is harder than fat loss.
You need to consistently put your body under enough stress to give it a reason to increase its muscle mass.
Your training in the gym needs to be intense, progressive, and consistent and this will be the stimulus your body needs to build new muscle tissue.
I could write a HUGE blog on how to set your training up for muscle gain but luckily for you I have already written a super comprehensive eBook on this, My Muscle Gain Guide.
To gain muscle from a nutrition side you need to at least consume the same number of calories your body needs (maintenance calories) or probably even better a few more calories than your body needs (calorie surplus).
This will ensure that you have good energy when you train in the gym so you can build strength and volume giving your body the stimulus it needs to build muscle.
When you train while in a calorie deficit your training will never be as intense as it can be when in a small surplus.
Also, when you consume more calories, you have a better insurance policy of the protein you eat being used for what you want it for. Helping build new muscle mass instead of being used for fuel, the latter can happen when in a calorie deficit and is not optimal for muscle gain.
Also your recovery when you're in a small surplus will be much better than in a calorie deficit, this will allow you to train the same muscle groups more frequently which is defiantly a good thing for muscle gain.
Losing body fat
Ok so we have already cleared up that to lose body fat you need to consume less calories than your body expends on a daily basis, that elusive calorie deficit.
But how do you create a calorie deficit?
Well for me it’s a three-pronged attack.
The first essential part is to control and get a better understanding of your calorie intake. Just saying you will eat better won't do. You need to get better awareness of how many calories you are eating every day and find ways to reduce this, because chances are you're eating a lot more than you think. You can use strategies like tracking your calories, reduce meal frequency or fill your meals out with more high fibre low calorie veg and reduce portion size. But honestly a period of tracking calories is your best bet.
The second part to lose body fat is finding ways to increase your energy expenditure. Now you'll probably find this surprising but this doesn't mean you need to train more. Increasing your steps and moving more is really going to help. Change small habits like walking places instead of driving, get lunchtime walks in and spending more time on your feet generally when you can. All of these things will help you burn more calories without having to get to the gym more.
The final part is of course training in the gym. But this is a small part of the puzzle. Keep training hard with your resistance training so you can maintain muscle mass and strength while knowing gaining muscle probably won't happen. Small blocks of cardio will help for sure, but you don't need to be a slave to the cross trainer or stair master.
I hope you have found this blog helpful and even if it's burst your bubble so to speak do not fear. Now you know how to set things up you should be a lot more successful and remember its better to do one thing well than two badly.
If you have some questions from this blog PLEASE reach out and don't keep those questions to yourself. Use THIS LINK and I will get back to you ASAP.
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